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  • 3/4 Front Glamour 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C
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Expert's Rating

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MPG

24 City / 34 Highway
Automotive Editor -

The 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C is like a switchblade machete – wildly impractical for most, but, for a very select audience, the perfect tool for the job. This two-seat terror is at home on a track or regular tarmac, and with an MSRP of $57,495 (including the $1,595 destination charge), it’s one of the cheapest ways into a mid-engine Italian sports car these days.

What's New for 2018

Apart from an optional revised front facia with carbon fiber vents and the addition of yellow stitching as an option with the extra-cost black leather upholstery and interior, the Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe is unchanged.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Choosing Your Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C

Those over six feet tall or of larger build should try this tiny sports car on for size before considering buying it or its sibling, the targa-topped 4C Spider (covered elsewhere). As entering a car that’s less than four feet tall can take some serious maneuvering, flexibility is a prerequisite as well.

Its compactness is just one part of Alfa Romeo’s focus on the latter element of power-to-weight ratio, eschewing the typical top-tier Italian performance car makers’ focus on horsepower overcoming their creations’ heft in favor of “adding lightness” and enjoying the benefits that come with it.

While a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque may seem like economy car fare, thanks to its carbon fiber and aluminum construction, the 4C Coupe weighs in at just 2,465 lbs. That – and a six-speed automated manual transmission with paddle shifters – helps it rush from rest to 60 mph in a fleet 4.1 seconds on its way to its top speed of 160 mph while returning an EPA fuel economy rating of 24 miles per gallon city and 34 mpg highway.

Alfa Romeo has made sure that the 4C Coupe is as capable around corners as it is on straightaways by giving it manual rack-and-pinion steering and a sport-tuned suspension system augmented electronically with its DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector with Natural, All-Weather, Dynamic, and Race modes. Adding the "whoa" to all that go is the job of the 4C Coupe’s Brembo brakes, with calipers painted silver as standard or finished in black, red, or yellow for an additional $350.

Also standard are power windows and central locking with remote keyless entry, power heated body-colored exterior mirrors, a capless fuel filler, halogen headlights with LED driving and taillights, a tire pressure monitoring system, an anodized rear skid plate, and dual chrome exhaust tips.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Inside, there’s a seven-inch TFT color display, an AM/FM four-speaker stereo with Bluetooth connectivity and streaming, and USB and AUX ports, a flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel on a tilting and telescoping column, bright aluminum pedals, black fabric-clad bucket seats with red accent stitching, and a lockable leather storage bag in the console.

Outfitting a 4C is a matter of box-checking from a list of options and packages as the car comes in only one trim level. Paint hues include black or white (free), metallic silver ($700), and Alfa Red, Competition Red Tricoat, and Mother-of-Pearl White Tricoat, each for an additional $1,500. Prototype Yellow is available as well but only as a package with black leather or microfiber upholstery.

Speaking of, the black leather-trimmed interior with contrasting stitching on the dash and door panels and leather-trimmed seats in black with yellow stitching, red with black stitching, or brown with brown stitching adds $3,500. Opting instead for black racing microfiber and leather seats is an additional $500. Any leather-clad interior qualifies for the $2,000 Carbon Fiber Interior Trim Group and its carbon fiber air vents and instrument panel, cluster, and shift bezels.

Ten-spoke, 17-inch front and 18-inch rear bright alloy wheels wearing three-season tires are standard, with same size “Black Diamond” wheels available for $700. Moving up to either of two 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheel styles adds $1,500 in bright alloy or $2,500 in dark alloy finishes.

The individual options list includes a fixed carbon fiber roof ($2,500), anti-stone protective film ($1,500), bi-xenon headlights ($1,000), a body color rear spoiler ($500), and satin-finish exterior mirror caps ($150), while the $1,400 Coupe Convenience Group adds rear parking assist, cruise control, and a security alarm.

Alfa Romeo 4C

For those serious about sound, Alfa offers a $900 Alpine Premium Audio system upgrade that adds a CD player, MP3 capability, and three speakers including a subwoofer, and a $3,000 Akrapovic Dual-Mode Center-Mounted Exhaust that adds a carbon fiber surround to its dual exhaust tips and an active exhaust valve that opens when in Dynamic and Race DNA modes to produce an entirely different soundtrack.

Equipping a 4C with any black or red leather- or microfiber-clad seats and optional wheels makes two Track Packages available: Track Package 1 ($2,300) includes a carbon fiber rear spoiler, a leather and microfiber steering wheel and race-tuned suspension, while Track Package 2 ($2,100) swaps out the steering wheel upgrade for metallic silver paint.

Both packages require carbon fiber exterior mirror housings, with plain covers a no-cost option and Italian flag-logoed versions available for $300. Either package makes higher-performance tires ($1,200) and the revised front fascia with carbon fiber vents ($750) available.

CarsDirect Tip

All told, checking every box amounts to over $25,000 in options, boosting the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe's MSRP to a whopping $82,695. Fortunately, for most buyers, nearly everything that makes the 4C a potent performer is included in its base price, making all of the additional options just that – optional.

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