Drive, Drives The Alfa 4C Spyder

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spyder is everything I want in a car, right?

As a die-hard fan of the Lotus Elise, I look specifically at that car for obvious reasons.  It’s lightweight.  It has Lotus suspension tuning.  It lacks power steering and gives the ultimate in steering feel.  It comes with a 6-speed manual transmission.  The engine is mid-mounted.  It has an all-aluminum chassis.  The looks are exotic.  I can even justify the Toyota engine because at least I know that powerplant, if you want to call it that, is reliable.  The Alfa Romeo 4C steps up on those features, so why don’t I love it?

Well let’s see.  Instead of an aluminum chassis it comes with a carbon fiber tub.  It is lightweight.  It has, Alfa’s suspension tuning.  But, can I trust the car to give me the satisfaction similar to the Lotus when it comes with a paddle-shift transmission?  Do I really want a boosted engine when I’m looking for purity in a drive?

Mike Spinelli of Drive took the car out for a spin.

That Alpine system is not a nice touch.  That’s a rough compromise to accept.

Admittedly, the Alfa 4C Spyder takes driving to where it matters most, the experience.  It has the noise, the chassis, the exotic looks, and just enough personality (or annoyances) to keep things interesting.  Is it still a fun car to drive?  Absolutely.  Is it practical at all?  Well, that depends on how you define practicality.  When I had my Toyota Mr2s, especially the Spyder, I defined practicality as a car that had air condition and got to point B.  Did I care about trunk space?  No.  The cubby that was behind both seats in the Mr2 Spyder was practically worthless.

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 20: The Alfa Romeo 4C on display at the Vanity Fair Campaign Hollywood Alfa Romeo Ride and Drive luncheon at The Polsky Residence on February 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Vanity Fair)

I don’t even think the Alfa 4C Spyder has cubbies.  It’s all about getting to point B.  But, by my definition, it’s practical.

While it may not have the absolute purity of a Lotus Elise, it does retain the enjoyment of the activity of driving.  The wind-noise, the cockpit, and the controls all goad the driver to go faster.  The car builds on a driver’s confidence and gives the illusion of true control into the driver’s hands.

Control is an illusion.  But, driving an Alfa makes that illusion worthwhile.