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2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Review

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C ranks at the back of the luxury sports car class. The 4C accelerates quickly and feels agile, but these perks are overshadowed by its snug cabin and harsh ride.

Pros & Cons

  • Razor-sharp handling
  • Strong acceleration
  • Good fuel economy
  • Cramped two-seat interior
  • Harsh ride
  • Few tech and safety features

Rankings & Research

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C's #17 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Sports Cars category. Currently the Alfa Romeo 4C has a score of 6.2 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 27 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

6.2

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 6.3
Performance: 7.5
Interior: 3.6
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.
N/A

Thinking of leasing a Alfa Romeo 4C?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

 Is the Alfa Romeo 4C a Good Car?  

No, the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C isn’t a good car. The 4C has a loud and cramped interior with few amenities. It’s uncomfortable for daily driving thanks to its heavy steering and firm sport-tuned suspension. Also, rear visibility and cargo space are in short supply.

Sure, the 4C’s potent engine and sharp handling are commendable, but overall, this soft-top convertible gives up too much refinement in its pursuit of performance.

Should I Buy the Alfa Romeo 4C?

Skip the 4C. There are many alternatives in the luxury sports car segment that offer sizzling acceleration and poised handling but with a smoother ride and a much comfier interior. Some even cost a lot less than the 4C, like the Porsche Boxster and Toyota Supra.

Compare the 4C, Boxster, and Supra »

Should I Buy a New or Used Alfa Romeo 4C?

Alfa Romeo launched the 4C as an all-new sports car for the 2015 model year. It was initially offered in two body styles: coupe and convertible (or Spider). There haven’t been many updates over the years, so you can likely save money shopping for an older 4C while still finding the same performance and many of the same features that you’d get in a new 4C.

That said, there are a few details to consider. The convertible model was skipped for 2017 but returned for 2018. The coupe model was discontinued altogether for 2019. Also for 2019, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors became standard.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 4C, 2018 4C, and 2019 4C reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 4C »

We Did the Research for You: 27 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 27 Alfa Romeo 4C reviews, as well as hard data points like fuel economy estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

This 2020 4C review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2015.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Alfa Romeo 4C Cost?

The 2020 4C has a base price of $67,150. The price rises to about $72,000 for the limited-edition 4C Spider Italia model. These prices aren’t unheard of in the luxury sports car class, but most direct competitors cost a few thousand dollars less than the 4C, including the BMW Z4 ($49,700), Mercedes-Benz SLC ($49,950), and Jaguar F-Type convertible ($64,700).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Alfa Romeo dealer.

Alfa Romeo 4C Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Alfa Romeo 4C or Porsche Cayman?

The Porsche 718 Cayman is a far better pick than the 4C. The Cayman offers roomier seating and cargo space than the 4C, richer cabin materials, and more advanced features like Apple CarPlay and blind spot monitoring. The Cayman is also more comfortable to drive on rough pavement, yet it remains very quick and agile through tight turns. The kicker is the price. The Cayman’s base MSRP is about $10,000 less than the 4C’s. Opt for the Porsche.

Which Is Better: Alfa Romeo 4C or Fiat 124 Spider?

If you want an Italian sports car, you’re better off with the Fiat 124 Spider. This sleek roadster isn’t as fast or as athletic around turns as the 4C, but it’s much more rewarding to drive day to day. The Fiat 124 rides comfortably over uneven pavement, and its seats have better padding than the 4C. Its infotainment system is also far easier to use. You can save a lot of money by choosing the 124 Spider. Prices start at just $25,390.

Compare the 4C, Cayman, and 124 Spider »

4C Performance

4C Engine: Big Power in a Small Package

The Alfa Romeo 4C has a 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and rear-wheel drive are standard.

This engine may be small, but it packs a hefty punch. The 4C can sprint from zero to 60 mph in just over four seconds. The engine’s power delivery is especially intoxicating - there’s a slight lull as you press the throttle, followed by a wave of torque that slingshots the car up to speed. Once moving, there’s almost no turbo lag.

The dual-clutch transmission changes gears quickly, and it can be operated manually using the steering wheel shift paddles. Some of the shifts are a little rough in stop-and-go traffic, though.

Alfa Romeo Powertrain/Performance Options:
  • Engine: turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder with 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque; starts at $67,150
  • Drivetrain: rear-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed dual-clutch automatic
4C Gas Mileage: Surprisingly Efficient

The Alfa Romeo 4C gets an EPA-rated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. That’s better fuel economy than most vehicles in the luxury sports car class.

4C Ride and Handling: Road-Legal Race Car

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a blast to drive on a switchback road or a racetrack. The 4C slices around turns with almost no body roll. At speed, the steering is quick and responsive, and the big Brembo brakes slow down the 4C assertively.

It’s a different animal on everyday city streets, though. The stiff suspension jostles the 4C around uncomfortably over bumps and dips, and hitting larger potholes can be downright painful. The rack and pinion steering is quite heavy at lower speeds as well, making the 4C tough to maneuver and park in tight spaces. Power steering isn’t available. This is not a car you’d want to commute in on a daily basis.

How Fast Is the Alfa Romeo 4C?

The 4C has a zero-to-60 time of 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph, according to Alfa Romeo.

Does the Alfa Romeo 4C Have All-Wheel Drive?

Unlike class rivals like the Audi R8 and Porsche 911, the 4C does not offer all-wheel drive. Only rear-wheel drive is available.

Read more about performance »

4C Interior

How Many People Does the 4C Seat?

The Alfa Romeo 4C is a two-seat convertible. These seats provide good lateral support, but they aren’t comfortable on longer trips thanks to their minimal padding and adjustability. It almost feels like you’re sitting bolt upright. There also isn’t much interior space, so taller adults will surely feel cramped. Worse still, it’s awkward getting in and out of the 4C because of its wide door sills. Outward visibility is poor to the sides and rear.

Leather upholstery and manually adjustable seats are standard in all models.

4C and Child Car Seats

Like many two-seat sports cars, the 4C does not have LATCH connectors. We don’t recommend installing a car seat in any vehicle without these connectors.

4C Interior Quality

The 4C looks and feels like a race car on the inside. There are minimal distractions, swathes of black plastic, and a few areas of exposed carbon fiber. It’s cool but not luxurious.

This Alfa Romeo isn’t quiet, however. The 4C’s four-cylinder engine is mounted right behind the seats, so there’s constant noise and vibrations. Road and wind noise is prominent as well. This can become tiring on long trips.

4C Cargo Space

The 4C has just under 4 cubic feet of trunk space. That’s not much room at all, and it’s barely enough to fit two duffle bags. This space shrinks even more when stowing the soft-top roof. The trunk can also get quite hot: It’s located right next to the engine.

4C Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 4C has a sparse list of tech features. These include a 7-inch digital instrument cluster, a USB port, Bluetooth, and an Alpine head unit with HD Radio and satellite radio. This stereo has poor sound quality and tiny buttons that are hard to press. The 4C also lacks features that you’ll find in many less expensive cars, like a touch screen, navigation, and Apple CarPlay.

On the plus side, the climate controls are all simple to use and within easy reach.

Read more about interior »

4C Reliability

Is the Alfa Romeo 4C Reliable?

At the time of writing, a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power is not available for the 2020 4C.

Alfa Romeo 4C Warranty

Alfa Romeo covers the 4C with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

Read more about reliability »

How Much Does It Cost to Insure an Alfa Romeo 4C?

The cost of insuring an Alfa Romeo 4C will depend on a variety of factors, including your deductible, the level of coverage that you want, and the type of insurance that you choose. Your age, gender, location, credit score, and driving record can also have an impact on your insurance rates. Check out our car insurance guide to find the best policy for you.

4C Safety

4C Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C. This is common among luxury vehicles.

4C Safety Features

The 4C comes standard with a rearview camera and rear parking sensors. No active safety features, such as blind spot monitoring or forward collision warning, are available.

Read more about safety »

4C Dimensions and Weight

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is 13.1 feet long. Its curb weight is 2,487 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Built?

Alfa Romeo builds the 2020 4C in Italy.

When Did the Alfa Romeo 4C First Come Out?

When the 4C was introduced as a brand-new luxury sports car for the 2015 model year, it marked the return of Alfa Romeo to the United States after a 20-year absence. The 4C was originally offered in both coupe and convertible body styles, and it's the smallest vehicle among its siblings, the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Alfa Romeo Stelvio. The 4C was designed to provide an outstanding level of connection between the driver, the car, and the road. It succeeded, earning rave reviews for its razor-sharp handling and hair-raising thrills on curvy roads. However, it lacked modern features like power steering. For 2019, Alfa Romeo discontinued the 4C coupe and added standard features such as cruise control, a rearview camera, and rear parking sensors.

Which Alfa Romeo 4C Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is available in only two trims: base and Italia. Opt for the limited-edition Italia model if exclusivity is important to you - the company is producing just 15 of these convertibles. Otherwise, stick with the standard 4C Spider, and you’ll save about $5,000.

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

The base model 4C Spider has a starting price of $67,150. This two-seat convertible is equipped with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive.

Standard features include a 7-inch digital gauge cluster, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, an Alpine stereo with HD Radio and satellite radio, Bluetooth, a USB port, and keyless entry. A leather-wrapped steering wheel with shift paddles, four-way adjustable leather seats, a leather-wrapped dashboard, a cloth soft top, staggered 17- and 18-inch wheels, a limited-slip differential, and Brembo brakes are also standard.

Options are few and far between, but these items include staggered 18- and 19-inch wheels, a stiffer track-tuned suspension, an Akrapovic dual-mode exhaust, and carbon fiber interior trim.

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia

The limited-edition 4C Spider Italia has a starting MSRP of $72,150. This model is painted in Misano Blue Metallic paint, and it adds aluminum dashboard trim and a numbered plate on the center console (1 through 15).

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Alfa Romeo dealer.

See 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C is a fine car for the racetrack, but it’s a poor fit for practically everywhere else. It’s uncomfortable, loud, and pricier than its closest rivals. It’s also short on features, seating space, and cargo room. There are better options in the luxury sports car class.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Ultimately, the 4C adds up to a hardcore sports car that offers unparalleled driver control and feedback at an elevated, but not exotic, price. You'll pay for it in other ways, however. A rough ride, heavy steering, and difficult entry and exit make simple tasks like going to the grocery store a challenge. Combined with a clunky transmission and almost nonexistent storage space, the 4C asks a lot of its driver, while rivals such as the Chevrolet Corvette, Jaguar F-Type and Porsche Boxster are far more accommodating." -- Edmunds
  • "The 2019 Alfa Romeo 4C is about as unadulterated as it gets for modern-day sports cars. By that we mean this is a car that is laser-focused on performance, essentially a track toy that happens to be street legal. Forget amenities like heated seats or Apple CarPlay compatibility; this lightweight Italian exotic doesn't even have power steering. If you're looking for a performance car that's civil, you're far better off in a Porsche Boxster or an Audi TT. But if you have nearly $70,000 to spend on a head-turning, exclusive and exceptionally nimble sports car, the Alfa 4C fits the bill." -- Kelley Blue Book (2019)
  • "This Spider is a sexy, mid-engined Italian exotic carved down to affordable scale, and its cloth targa top lets the driver and one lucky passenger feel the wind in their hair. Its tiny, low-slung body is wrapped around a sport-tuned chassis that makes it feel like every commute is a track day. It's not perfect - in fact, it's far from it - but given the opportunity, it will charm you into forgiving it for all of its flaws." -- Car and Driver (2019)
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