When someone says the name ‘Alfa Romeo’, you’re likely to either hark back to the days of the racing Alfas in the 60s and 70s, the luxury saloons of the 80s and 90s or the hatchback cars which were popular throughout the noughties. Now, though, Alfa appears to have reinvented itself again, with a super-light, super-cool sports car.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is, to get straight to the point, something else entirely. A quick look at a few of the figures might surprise you. It contains a 1.8-litre engine delivering just 240hp, and costs around £45,000. Your first thoughts will probably be the same as most: Alfa have succumbed to the eco-movement and put out a small-engined car to keep the environmentalists happy whilst still charging us through the nose, right? Wrong.
The most impressive statistic comes in the 4C’s weight. At just 895kg, the car consists of a single carbon-fibre body and a chassis which weighs in at just 65kg. That’s the average adult female. There’s no heavy steel here — the engine, transmission and brake discs are made of aluminium. This car is light. Super light. That’s why that paltry 1.8-litre 240hp eco-friendly engine will run in excess of 155mph and hit 60mph in under 4.5 seconds — whilst still giving you 40 miles to the gallon. In terms of power to weight ratios, this car throws out 268bhp per tonne. That’s the equivalent of sticking a Ferrari 365 engine in a Vectra. At 260 lb-ft of torque, that’s the same as a Subaru Impreza.
It’s not going to be a rare car to get your hands on, either, nor will it be reserved for the super-rich. Look again at that £45,000 price tag. Doesn’t seem so steep now, does it? With up to 3,500 of these beauties rolling off the production line each year, Alfa Romeo will become the biggest manufacturer of carbon chassis cars in the world. With emissions of just 150g/km of CO2, that’s as well-behaved as the Kia Rio or the Citroen C3.
The weight has come at a cost, though — mainly the power steering, which is oddly absent from the 4C. This does, however, give the car a far more responsive ride and the rear-wheel drive certainly benefits from the added raw control. Throw in the ventilated disc brakes, and this car can stop from 60mph in under 36 metres. Still not convinced? What about when we tell you that the 4C was driven around the Nürburgring in 8 minutes and 4 seconds — a record for all production cars under 250hp? Put simply, it’s quick.
It’s already been awarded Most Beautiful Car of the Year 2013 at last year’s International Automobile Festival and was named Best Sports Car in last year’s El Economista voting in the compact supercar category. To put it another way, this car is not only quick, nimble and agile, but it’s also absolutely stunning to look at. You won’t feel like you’re in a forty-five grand car, either — the steering wheel gearshift paddles and ‘Race’ mode button will make you feel like you’re driving a car worth twice as much. And, when you look at the statistics and what this machine can do, you are.