2018 Alfa Romeo 4C

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MSRP: $55,900 - 65,900

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Review

The 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C is a zippy little sports car that's exceptionally agile and fun to drive. However, its minimal list of interior amenities, barely usable space, and noisy and stiff ride make it an unappealing choice for many drivers. These negatives push the 4C toward the bottom of our luxury sports car rankings.

7.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.4
Performance: 8.3
Interior: 5.4
Safety: N/A
Reliability: N/A

Pros & Cons

  • Quick acceleration
  • Athletic steering, suspension, and brakes
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Poor rear visibility and no rearview camera
  • Few standard and optional features
  • Limited space for passengers and cargo
  • Noisy, firm ride

Is the Alfa Romeo 4C a Good Car?

The 4C delivers unadulterated performance over all else. This Alfa Romeo boasts invigorating acceleration, satisfying exhaust notes, and top-notch handling. The lack of power steering is a blessing and a curse. While it provides a more purist performance experience, it makes the car more difficult to turn at low speeds. Those looking for comfort and even basic features will find the 4C lacking. The cabin is spartan, and there's only a couple of cubic feet of cargo space.

Should I Buy the Alfa Romeo 4C?

If you're a spirited driver looking for a no-frills, track-focused car with a lively demeanor, the 4C is a good option. This lightweight, nimble sports car has no problem taking you through twists and turns. In fact, there aren't too many cars that offer better handling at high speeds. If you're instead looking for a more practical daily driver or a comfortable car for a weekend getaway, there are better choices than the 4C. For example, the Chevrolet Corvette offers more cargo space, a more comfortable ride, and a more powerful V8 engine, and it costs about the same as the 4C. Consider the Porsche Cayman if you like the idea of owning a European vehicle; its robust performance comes in a more well-rounded package.

Compare the 4C, Corvette, and Cayman »

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

The 4C was launched for the 2015 model year and has seen few changes since. For 2016, Alfa Romeo added a standard Alpine audio system, a new available sports exhaust system, and a new convertible Alfa Romeo 4C Spider model. The 4C Spider was unavailable for 2017, but it's back for 2018. Therefore, if you're looking for a convertible, you're limited to a 2016 or 2018 4C. Otherwise, you can save money by shopping for a 2015 4C, which is similar to the 2018 model.

If you decide that a used model is right for you, be sure to visit our overviews of the 2015 4C, 2016 4C, and 2017 4C. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about discounts and savings on used vehicles.

Compare the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C »
We Did the Research for You: 20 Reviews Analyzed

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about the Alfa Romeo 4C in our comprehensive overview. It combines concrete data (like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions) with 20 professional Alfa Romeo 4C reviews. This overview also includes our 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider review.

This 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C overview uses applicable data and reviews from all models in this generation, which spans the 2015 through 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much Does the Alfa Romeo 4C Cost?

For 2018, prices for a new Alfa Romeo 4C start at $55,900 for the coupe body style and $65,900 for the convertible body style. Each comes in only one trim with a handful of packages available. Luxury sports cars with similar price tags include the Chevrolet Corvette, Porsche Cayman, and Porsche Boxster.

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 Jaguar F-Type?

The Alfa Romeo 4C and Jaguar F-Type offer similar levels of performance, but the Jaguar makes a better everyday driver. The F-Type has a more spacious trunk and additional interior amenities, including a slew of standard safety features. Additionally, the Jaguar offers more horsepower from its available supercharged V8, as well as more technology options and all-wheel drive. Go with the F-Type.

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

If you're a sports car aficionado, you should consider the Porsche Cayman. It costs about the same as the 4C, but its cabin is more luxurious. Both cars have a minimalistic, driver-focused interior, but the Porsche's is far more refined. The Cayman also provides a plethora of options to make its cabin even more upscale, including material options like brushed aluminum and mahogany. The Cayman is the superior choice.

Which Is Better: Alfa Romeo 4C or Mercedes-Benz SLC?

The Mercedes-Benz SLC is a good alternative to the 4C if you'd rather substitute some sportiness for a more comfortable cabin and a smoother ride. The SLC's base engine isn't anything to write home about, but you can opt for the potent Mercedes-AMG SLC 43 for a little more than the 4C's base price. Unless you're craving more agility, the SLC is a better option.

Compare the 4C, F-Type, and Cayman »

4C Interior

How Many People Does the 4C Seat?

The 4C is a two-seat sports car that comes standard with cloth upholstery. That's a bit unusual, as most similarly priced competitors feature synthetic leather or partial leather seats at a minimum. Another atypical trait is the 4C's seat adjustments. No power adjustments are available, and the seats are quite vertical and don't lean back very far. This is ideal for track driving, but it may get tiring on a cross-country tour.

4C Interior Quality

The interior of the 4C is well-crafted but not overly indulgent. Fundamentals like armrests and an infotainment system won't be found here, where the design focuses more on connecting you to the road than pampering you along the way. A few underwhelming materials are present. Some controls feel flimsy, and the infotainment system consists of a basic stereo with a removable faceplate.

4C Cargo Space

Its midmounted engine takes up most of the 4C's rear space, leaving only enough room for a small bag and a handful of items. Inside, cabin storage is virtually nonexistent, with a leather pouch – large enough to house a few small items – replacing the traditional glove compartment.

4C Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

If you prefer the sound of the engine burbling over your favorite tunes, you won't have any complaints with the 4C's technology. Everyone else will be underwhelmed. No high-tech infotainment system or touch-screen display exists here. Instead, the 4C features a basic, so-so Alpine sound system with a removable faceplate. A USB port and Bluetooth are thankfully standard, as is a driver's display with crisp color graphics.

Read more about interior »

4C Performance

4C Engine: Enthusiastic Turbo

The 4C comes with a turbocharged all-aluminum four-cylinder engine and a six-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission. With 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, this powertrain's specs may not be mind-blowing, but the 4C catapults quickly from a stop thanks to its low curb weight. Supplementing this eager-to-please engine is a satisfying exhaust note, which can be intensified with the optional dual-mode exhaust system.

4C Gas Mileage: Save Your Gas Money

One benefit of the 4C's smaller engine is its excellent fuel economy ratings. Earning an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, the 4C is one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in our luxury sports car rankings.

4C Ride and Handling: Tuned for Athletic Driving

As a performance-focused car, the driving dynamics of the rear-wheel-drive 4C are incredibly sporty. The standard Brembo brake system, stability control, and sport-tuned suspension are excellent companions for track days. Also included is the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector with four driving settings – the comfortable Natural and All-Weather modes and the more aggressive Dynamic and Race modes. Its lack of power steering will appeal to those seeking a pure sports car experience. On the flip side, the 4C isn't ideal for certain everyday driving scenarios (like going shopping), and its taut ride may prove too firm for a comfortable cruiser.

Read more about performance »

4C Reliability

Is the Alfa Romeo 4C Reliable?

The 4C has not received a predicted reliability rating from J.D. Power.

Alfa Romeo 4C Warranty

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

Read more about reliability »

4C Safety

4C Crash Test Results

The 4C, like many luxury sports cars, doesn't undergo crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

4C Safety Features

No advanced safety features are standard in the 4C, not even a rearview camera, which isn't even offered for this car. The only available driver assistance feature is rear parking sensors.

Read more about safety »

Which Alfa Romeo 4C Model Is Right for Me?

Alfa Romeo presents the 2018 4C in two body styles: a fixed roof coupe and a convertible (the 4C Spider). The open-air model comes with a few extra amenities, but otherwise, these two are almost identical. Both come with a turbo four-cylinder engine, a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, and rear-wheel drive, with no other drivetrain options available.

Alfa Romeo 4C pricing falls on the lower end of the segment's price spectrum, which makes it easier to consider adding one of the available packages. If you'll be doing a fair amount of urban and highway driving, opt for the Convenience package, which includes cruise control and rear parking sensors. Track-focused drivers, on the other hand, will find the Coupe Track package enticing. A racing suspension system, a carbon fiber deck spoiler, an upgraded steering wheel, and leather seats are among the performance-oriented components of this collection. A similar Spider Track package is available for the drop-top model.

Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe

Standard features in the 4C coupe ($55,900) include a leather-wrapped flat-bottom steering wheel, an Alpine audio system, a USB port, Bluetooth, satellite radio, HD Radio, a 7-inch full-color driver information display, air conditioning with manual climate controls, and aluminum alloy wheels (17-inch front wheels and 18-inch rear wheels).

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

The price climbs by $10,000, to $65,900, for the 4C Spider. In addition to adding a soft top, this edition features a leather-wrapped dashboard and leather-wrapped door panels, and it swaps cloth upholstery for black leather seats with red or yellow accent stitching. Complementing the standard carbon fiber chassis and adding rigidity are structural modifications such as a carbon fiber windshield surround.

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

See 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C specs and trims »

The Final Call

The lightweight Alfa Romeo 4C doesn't just look and sound fast – it is fast. This sprightly sports car launches quickly from a stop and offers exceptional handling on twisty roads, making this an excellent go-to car for spine-tingling drives. Its firm suspension and lack of power steering can be tiring on a regular basis, though. Similarly, its interior is ideal when you're embracing the unfiltered sports car experience but unpalatable when you just want to lean back, cue your favorite song, and go for a cruise.

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

  • "The engine shouts right in your ear, the suspension communicates every minuscule imperfection in the road, and the minimally padded seats make sure you feel every vibration. This raw, unfiltered driving experience is both what makes the Alfa a unique standout among modern cars and what makes it an unlivable daily driver. The 4C is definitely a second — or maybe third — car. For the money, there are plenty of engaging sports cars that are significantly easier to live with." -- Edmunds
  • "You'll Like This Car If... This is a driver's car in the truest sense. It responds telepathically to your every desire, its inputs are immediately responsive, and the steering feels glorious in your hands. It's not comfortable, but when put to the task of rewarding a good driver, the Alfa Romeo 4C is virtually without equal. You May Not Like This Car If... This is not a daily driver by any stretch of the imagination. The stiff suspension, tight cockpit, and lack of power steering make for a trying drive around town. If you need your sports car to be a commuter, too, check out the comparably priced Chevrolet Corvette and Porsche 718 Cayman." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "In short, it's a true, low-compromise sports car, something rarely seen in this age of muddled segments and concessions to practicality. It combines the directness and responsiveness of the past with cutting-edge construction, bold looks and that beloved Alfa badge. Really, in the grand scheme of things (and compared to its peers, past and present) it's not even all that expensive. … You owe it to yourself to drive the 4C; it won't take you long to understand it." -- Autoweek (2016)
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