motoring - Forza Italia!
Written by Karl Peskett
With lightweight materials, a snarling engine, and rear-wheel drive, Alfa Romeo’s latest sports car is raising more than a few eyebrows in the sports coupé establishment.
“It’s not a car, it’s an Alfa Romeo.”
The Italian brand’s latest advertising tagline shows Alfa is heading back to its roots. It’s finally bringing back the Italian passion it used to be famous for, but it now has an ace up its sleeve. After years of, let’s be honest, average products, the company has hit the mark with its newest sports car, the Alfa Romeo 4C.
It’s motoring pleasure at its purest. Lightweight body, punchy powertrain, taut handling, and compact dimensions – it’s the kind of recipe that would make Mini owners jealous. While their cars keep getting bigger with every new model, the 4C has done the opposite and opted for the less-is-more strategy. And it’s all the better for it.
The average car these days weighs around 1.5 tonnes. Sports cars are lucky to get to 1.3 tonnes. But the 4C uses a combination of carbon-fibre tubing, aluminium frame and low-density composite body to bring its weight down. Right down. In fact, the 4C comes in at a scarcely believable 895kg.
Couple that with a turbocharged 1.75-litre, four-cylinder engine producing 240hp, and it’ll get to 100km/h in just 4.5 seconds. It puts it to the ground through the rear wheels via a dry twin-clutch transmission, and with its weight distribution more rear-biased, it forces the back wheels into the road, creating more grip.
Inside, there are leather seats, a few pockets for trinkets and that’s about it. It’s good-looking, functional, and stripped of all the frippery all too common with sports cars these days. It’s simple, honest, and raw. And yes, it’s also fun. With the proliferation of land barges, it’s quite something for a car-maker to look to its past and give driving enthusiasts what they’ve been desiring for years – a stylish, lithe pocket-rocket.
If its past is pointing to its future, Alfa Romeo’s certainly heading in the right direction.
Along came a Spider
It’s almost expected that every sports car gets a convertible version, and the 4C is no different. Using the same running gear and lightweight technology, the 4C Spider is even better-looking. Its haunches are more aggressive and the headlights smoother. Set to be launched in 2015, this is one Spider which wouldn’t frighten Miss Muffet away.