In recent years, exotic automakers like McLaren and Lamborghini have introduced lower-cost versions of their supercars, but if you’re looking for a true entry-level exotic car, then check out the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C. This sexy little sports car is essentially what you would get by combining a Fiat 500 Abarth with a Ferrari 488, and while the 4C is far from perfect, it is a lot of fun crammed into a tiny, carbon fiber package. It’s been almost a year since I had the opportunity to review the open-top 4C Spider, and just recently I was able to spend two full weeks in the fixed-roof 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe.
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Exterior:
When it comes to sports cars priced under $100,000, the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe is easily in the top five for style. The swooping body lines and abundance of carbon fiber draw crowds wherever this car is taken, and driving down the highway attracts more attention than you would generally want as the smallest car on the road. No matter who stopped to talk about the car, everyone had something to say about the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C, and that’s a good thing for a brand reentering the U.S. market. Compared to the Spider, the Coupe arguably wins the contest for styling appeal since the Coupe’s rear glass hatch displays the turbocharged engine like a fine piece of art (whereas the Spider hides it beneath the vented decklid). Adding even more appeal to this car, my tester was equipped with options such as the carbon fiber rear spoiler, carbon fiber Italian flag mirrors ($300), carbon fiber roof ($2,500), Bi-Xenon headlights ($,100) and the black 10-spoke alloy wheels ($2,500).
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Interior:
As I learned with the 4C Spider, there aren’t many creature comforts inside the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe. There’s no storage space, two small cupholders and stiff, leather-wrapped racing bucket seats. In this day of being over-pampered by your car, the rawness of the 4C’s cabin is refreshingly sporty. The most technology you’ll find inside this car are the digital gauge cluster and Alpine stereo head unit (with HD Radio, SiriusXM Radio, Bluetooth and Pandora capabilities), but a backup camera would make life a million times easier; mail slot of a rear window makes reversing extremely difficult (even with the optional rear parking assist sensors) and this is one area where I actually preferred the design of the Spider over the Coupe. Those rear parking sensors are part of the $1400 Coupe Convenience Group package that also includes cruise control and a security alarm.
What the interior of the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C does have is a racecar look with lots of exposed carbon fiber (with the $2,000 Carbon Fiber Interior Trim Group package), a fat-rimmed, flat-bottomed steering wheel and a pair of seats that keep you in place no matter how tight the corners get. Despite its small size, the 4C offers plenty of headroom once you’re inside the car, but getting in and out does take some getting used to… even more so if you wish to do so gracefully. The only storage available in the car is a rear trunk offering just 3.7 cubic feet of cargo space.
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Powertrain:
Behind all of its carbon fiber components and sleek body work, the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C is powered by a 1.75-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder engine mounted just behind the passenger compartment – separated by a minimal amount of carbon fiber and glass. This engine might not have the raw power or deafening noise of a tried-and-true exotic, but its 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque is more than enough power to rocket this 2,465-pound coupe from 0-60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. The one question I got asked the most was if the 4C was fast. With a hint of turbo lag, this car isn’t necessarily fast, but it sure is quick especially in the corners. That is thanks to its manual steering, which provides spontaneous feedback to the driver’s hands but also makes the car a handful to drive on crowded roads.
Purists will scoff the lack of a manual gearbox, but the six-speed Twin Clutch automatic transmission delivers lightning-fast shifts (not to mention the fact that a lack of a shifter opens up a lot of valuable space inside the car). Another remarkable aspect of the 4C is its EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway**. If you’re easy on the gas and stay in the standard driving mode, these numbers are easily attainable in real world driving. Also, unlike other high-powered exotics, there is no gas guzzler tax!
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Safety:
If you’re looking for a car with the latest in driver assistance technologies, you can cross the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C off your list. It does come with electronic stability control, launch control, front and side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel ABS and Hill-Start Assist, but that’s it. Like the Spider (and most other low-volume sports cars), the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C has not been tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Overall:
With the exception of the solid roof, this 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C is practically identical to the Spider I reviewed last year, and personally, I would prefer the Coupe over the Spider. Even though it would be hard to picture the 4C as a daily driver, it was surprisingly easy – and immensely fun – to live with for two weeks. This car has the looks of an exotic with price tag of an everyday sports car with a starting MSRP of $58,195*. If you go crazy with the options, the price tag can swell quickly as this fully loaded 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C had an as-tested price of $74,295 with its long list of styling, performance and convenience options.
Make sure to visit your local AutoNation-affiliated Alfa Romeo dealership and test drive the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C today!
*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
**Based on 2017 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.