It took less than 20 minutes of hair-flying action through the hills of California, but it happened. I flew down for an event and fell in love with a 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider dressed in Rosso Competizione Tri-Coat.
The first car from Alfa Romeo to grace our shores is a high-revving thrill ride that will leave you wanting more and more of it.
At first I rode shotgun, the soprano sound of the all-aluminum, direct-injected, turbocharged engine delivering its 237 horsepower to the rear wheels sent my spine a shivering. This mid-engine beast will serenade you with its dual-mode titanium exhaust notes, leaving an indelible mark on your soul.
The steering is ultra-light but has no power. And I love that, too. The connected feel to the road is incredible but it’s agility probably rivals a cheetah’s. There’s just nothing quite like the feeling of a proper manual rack in all of power steering’s domain.
While the steering is manual, the transmission is a lightning quick TCT twin-clutch connected to the ECU, ensuring the best shifts no matter the driving conditions. Alfa states its as quick as 130 milliseconds, and I believe them.
When I got behind the wheel to go the other direction, it took a mere four Mississippis to send the Alfa Romeo 4C from zero to sixty. But you aren’t counting the Mississippis, you’re realizing the smile on your lips is never going to fade. Neither is the desire to own one.
Alfa’s D.N.A. control unit offers dynamic, natural, all-weather, and race (with launch control) modes to ensure the best experience under any driving. My copilot chose race while I chose natural; it felt as though the flappy paddles were part of my fingertips, reacting at a neural level to what I wanted.
When I tested the brakes I could feel a small bit of the 1.25g of maximum braking power the 4C could enforce. Self-ventilated perforated disc rotors were mixed with four-piston Brembo calipers on the front axle to ensure efficient and effective stopping power. Alfa Romeo managed to get the 4C’s 60 to zero deceleration in under 100 feet. I didn’t feel like testing that one out.
The strong front end offers large grilles to keep air flowing over the brakes as sensuous body lines work their way past 17-inch wheels (with many different choices), past more air vents for the engine, past hip-like rear fenders to a simple trunk-lid spoiler and an elegant rear end.
Wheels close to the corners, among a slew of other things, give the 2016 Alfa Romeo Spider a swift response and go-kart like feel.
The interior was decked in leather with accent stitching and soft-touch materials. One of the best audio systems in a modern, new car I’ve ever seen was in the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C; it was a minimalistic Alpine stereo that didn’t clutter the cozy interior.
To say the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a dream to drive is like saying the sky is merely blue or that the blue whale is big..ish. Dangerously over-simplistic.
The 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a pleasurable assault on your senses – the supple steering wheel and quick shifting action, the howl of the engine and the peaks of the exhaust notes, the stylish designs all invade your eyes, leaving the entire package in your dreams.
(More below photograph.)
And just like that, it was gone from my life. Heard screaming off in the distance, now a distant (but often thought of) memory. If you have the scratch, pick up this hot Italian. Immediately.
For the rest of us plebeians, head over to www.alfaromeousa.com to drool over some high-revving insanity. Build yours up, then cry on the printout.
Photos courtesy of Alfa Romeo and my copilot.