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2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe Test Drive Review

When you hear the words “sports car,” what pops into your head? What do you see? We’re going to guess it’s probably curvaceous and muscular. More than likely, it’s immediately recognizable. It might even be red. Whether it has a V-12, a flat-four, or a turbocharged V-6 under its hood, it gets up and goes in a hurry. There’s a good chance its exhaust system blares out a distinctive sound while it does. We can also imagine the sports car you’re picturing handles with precision and directness.

Sports cars come in a variety of shapes and sizes, with different powertrains and layouts, and from several manufacturers. Some have a naturally aspirated V-8 and a seven-speed manual transmission. Others have a turbo six-cylinder and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox. One may have its engine behind its front axle and only spin its rear wheels. Another may have its power plant behind the passenger compartment and all-wheel drive.

If you know what’s available out there, picturing one sports car in particular can be tricky. We’ll make it easy. Just look at the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe on this page. It’s quick, nimble, Italian, made out of exotic materials, and an absolute head-turner.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Exterior

Alfa Romeo is working on re-establishing itself in the U.S. market with vehicles such as the Giulia line of sport sedans and the eye-catching Stelvio SUV. In the process of developing those models, Alfa Romeo didn’t lose track of what it’s most known for: producing stunning works of automotive art.

The 4C’s designers started with a lightweight carbon fiber chassis and draped high-strength composite body work over it. There’s no bad angle from which to look at it. Head on, it appears to be wide, ready to hold the road. The 4C’s trio of grilles fan out toward the optional bi-xenon headlights, which were perfectly integrated into the peaks of the front fenders. Those flattened into plateaus under the side windows. A series of alluring curves flowed into one another toward the rear as the roof line gently sloped down to blend in with the swell of the rear fenders. Air inlets cut into the bulging panels added contrast and even more visual flair. Our test car’s optional carbon fiber Italian flag side mirrors coordinated well with the dark finish on the 18-inch fan spoke wheels and the asymmetrical duct placed low on the driver’s side of the body. Looking at the 4C from the back gives you a great view of its wide hips. Those taper toward the large, jewel-like LED tail lights. The 4C is available with a body-color rear spoiler, but Alfa Romeo gave our media loaner the optional Coupe Track Package 1, which includes a race-tuned suspension, leather/microfiber steering wheel, and carbon fiber lip spoiler.

Everywhere we took the 4C Coupe, people looked at it. On the highway from Austin to Plano, Texas, a man in an Aston Martin Vantage pulled up next to us and nodded approvingly. HE and other motorists only had time to catch a glimpse of the 4C. We had an entire week to gaze at it lovingly. No matter how long we looked at it, we always took another final glance when it was time to walk away.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Interior

The Alfa Romeo 4C takes being a sports car seriously. It looks the part on the outside and plays the part to the hilt on the inside. It sits low to the ground and the sills are wide, so be ready to bend down and slink into one of the two seats. They’re available in a variety of colors and materials; Alfa equipped our 4C with its optional leather and microfiber seats. It added the Carbon Fiber Interior Trim Group (instrument panel bezel, shift bezel, air vents, and cluster bezel) to make its sports car look even sportier. We had a seven-inch TFT display directly in front to show us our speed, revs, and other information. There was no massive center screen to display navigation directions or text messages, just an Alpine head unit (part of the optional Pioneer sound system which came with a subwoofer). It was Bluetooth compatible, but we didn’t spend a lot of time on the phone inside the 4C. It’s just as well that we didn’t because the 4C walks the walk and talks the talk of a sports car. It’s loud, leaving no doubt that you’re in a high-performance machine. It gave us earfuls of turbo whistle and whoosh wherever we went. Being a mid-engine car, the 4C was also hard to see out of when backing out of parking spaces. The optional Coupe Convenience Group’s rear parking assist system helped. However, we would’ve greatly appreciated a proper backup camera. A sports car is no fun if it’s sitting in a body shop.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Performance

Curves and carbon fiber are important parts of a sports car, but those don’t add up to much if the performance is unremarkable. Let’s just say Alfa Romeo got the math right with the 4C. It’s as athletic as it looks. The direct-injected, turbocharged 1.75-liter I-4 huffs 21.75 psi of boost to generate 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Those figures are channeled through a snappy six-speed dual-clutch gearbox and only have to move less than 2,500 pounds, so acceleration is as manic and frenzied as you’d expect it to be. According to Alfa Romeo, the dash to 60 mph only takes 4.1 seconds. We completely believe them. The 4C seemed to gulp down boost before knocking us forward toward the horizon. When the road started to curve, we didn’t just steer, we felt the car change course – in our shoulders. The 4C has completely manual steering, meaning if we wanted it to jink right or left, we had to make it do that the old-fashioned way. The payoff was unmatched feel and flawless communication about what the front tires were encountering at all times.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Safety

Clearly, there’s not a whole lot of space inside the 4C. The rear luggage compartment only offers 3.7 cubic feet of space. That didn’t stop engineers from fitting front airbags, a knee airbag for the driver, traction control, stability control, and a tire pressure monitoring system inside of the 4C, though.

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Overall

We’ve made it easy for you to picture a sports car. Just think of the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe. If you picture one of the lightweight, fast, and engaging Italian performance machines being your own, you can make that happen at an AutoNation Alfa Romeo dealership. Prices start at $55,900.* Our press evaluation vehicle had an as-tested price of $75,495.

*MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.

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