$39,830 - $46,670

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C was new.


Performance: 8.3

The 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C has phenomenal on-track and highway performance. Precise steering, powerful brakes, and ample power make it a strong contender among luxury sports cars. The story changes on the street, however, where drivers may tire of the loud cabin, firm ride, and lack of power steering. Fuel economy estimates are among the best in the class.

  • "Performance is the primary mission of the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C, especially when equipped with the Track package and high-performance tires. As such, this 4C is at or near the front of the pack for acceleration, braking, steering and handling. Everyday drivability suffers for the same reasons, though." -- Edmunds
  • "With its small size and 237-horsepower 4-cylinder engine, you'd think the 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C would be outgunned by competitors like the BMW Z4, Porsche 718 Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette. You'd be wrong. While small, it's mighty, the powerful engine motivating the flyweight chassis as quickly as the Corvette, and with handling that will make you feel like a hero...if you're good. The downside? This is a one-trick pony, albeit one with a very good trick. Its punishing road manners away from the racetrack include all kinds of noise combined with a stiff suspension. The steering offers no power assist of any kind, which can make parking a hassle. But on the track -- or your favorite mountain road -- there's nothing else quite like it." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The reason buyers will love the 4C Spider is its purity. The car is so basic that it doesn't even have power steering, which is a blessing and a curse. The steering is very stiff from a stop, firm but rock steady at speed and absolutely connected to the road. Enthusiasts will love the quick responses and feedback, but most drivers will find the steering too tiring for everyday use." -- Autotrader (2017)

Acceleration and Power

Powering the 4C is a turbocharged 1.7-liter four-cylinder midmounted engine. Its 237-horsepower and 258-pound-feet of torque may not seem impressive, but the car's low weight allows this engine to launch it to 60 mph in a lightning-fast 4.1 seconds. The six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – the only gearbox available – provides well-timed shifts. You can also pick your own gear using the standard paddle shifters.

The 4C's fuel economy rating benefits from its low curb weight and small engine. Its estimated gas mileage – 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway – is among the best in our luxury sports car rankings.

  • "Turbocharging a small engine sometimes produces surging acceleration, but not in the 4C. The four-cylinder has excellent urban manners along with Corvette-challenging speed. Zero to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds is darn quick." -- Edmunds
  • "With 237 horsepower, it's actually out-powered by any number of family sedans, but they don't deliver power like this. Floor the throttle and hear the turbo spool up, and once past the short lag period, hang on as the 4C springs forward with extreme urgency. It's not the most refined drivetrain, but it sure is fun. … In sportier modes, [the transmission] … will automatically downshift and match revs. It's really good." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "This tiny engine has lots of willpower, with more torque on tap at low rpm than expected. It also makes cool sounds, letting out a raspy note and sucking in air with a hiss during acceleration while emitting a satisfactory sound between shifts. The only flaw is noticeable turbo lag. Get the revs up, however, and this little mill is downright quick, vaulting the car from zero to 60 miles per hour in 4.1 seconds on its way to a top speed of 160 mph." -- Autotrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

Alfa Romeo builds the 4C as an unfiltered sports car, with few computerized systems tamping down the experience. It even lacks power steering – a blessing for responsive highway-speed maneuvers, a curse for low-speed parking lot navigation. Standard equipment includes powerful Brembo brakes and the Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector with four distinct driving modes (Natural, All-Weather, Dynamic, and Race).

  • "A Dynamic-mode stability control, lightweight body and chassis construction, mid-engine layout, sticky tires, and race-carlike steering and suspension provide uniquely dynamic handling qualities that few cars, even exotics, can match." -- Edmunds
  • "Considering the 4C's mission as an unadulterated sports car, we love the unassisted steering despite its difficulty at low speeds. The link between the road and the steering wheel is completely unfiltered by any assist, making this lightweight Italian feel brilliantly connected on winding roads or racetracks." -- Kelley Blue Book (2017)
  • "The 4C is beautifully balanced and while the ride quality is by no means plush, neither will it pound your spine into submission. Like the steering, brakes and thrust, it simply communicates what is happening without a filter." -- Forbes (2016)

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