New 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Convertible New 2018
Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Convertible

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KBB Editor's Overview

By Editorial Staff

The 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe and Spider are endowed with a lightweight body, an eager 237-horsepower turbocharged engine and a suspension specifically designed for the track. Unlike the Chevrolet Corvette, BMW Z4 and Porsche 718 Cayman, however, the 4C can’t serve double duty as a comfortable daily driver. The stiff suspension and noisy interior are bad enough, but the standard steering setup offers no power assist. While this design is ideal for performing maneuvers at high speeds, it requires plentiful bicep strength when parallel-parking or attempting a low-speed U-turn. In short, the 4C is a purist’s car, but for those seeking what it has to offer, it may also be the perfect car.


You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a pure driver’s car, one specifically designed for the track but that’s also street legal, the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C is it. Once in motion, the driver practically becomes one with the car, and while the ride can be uncomfortable, the driving experience is simply exquisite.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you desire a performance coupe as comfortable on the track as it is on the highway, the Alfa 4C may not be the best choice. A Porsche 718 Cayman or Chevy Corvette offers more sophistication, better comfort and actual power-assisted steering.

What's New for 2018

Changes to the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C are minor. A new front fascia with carbon-fiber vents is optional on both the coupe and convertible, while black leather seating with yellow accent stitching is now optional on cars painted black, white or gray.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe and Spider are the automotive equivalent of a surgeon's scalpel. As a scalpel is the perfect tool in the hands of a skilled surgeon, a good driver can feel great behind the wheel of the 4C. The unassisted steering communicates the experience of every block of tire tread. On paper it's out-powered by a Camry, but the 237-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder is only working against 2,500 pounds, making the 4C genuinely fast with only a hint of turbo lag. The dual-clutch automatic transmission shifts lightning quick, and there's a distinct difference among the various “DNA” (for Dynamic, Natural, Advanced Efficiency) drive modes. Yet, like a scalpel cutting vegetables, the 4C is sorely out of its element once you've left the racetrack. The suspension pounds over bumps, the engine screams constantly, the exhaust barks like a neighborhood dog, and at low speed that unassisted steering feels like pulling your arms out of tar.

Favorite Features

Thanks to a generous helping of carbon fiber, the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C is both lightweight and fully capable of meeting all crash-test standards. The monocoque body design mimics those of racing cars and exotics far exceeding the 4C price range.

Excluding power assist from the 4C steering was purely a performance-based decision. While difficult to operate at lower speeds, the lack of power assist means the link between the driver and road is unfiltered, resulting in the most precise steering with minimal input.

Vehicle Details


One look at the 4C’s interior shows the designers placed a heavy emphasis on function over comfort. While we found much of the material and assembly to be quite good, there were a few glaring no-no’s. The seats bolt directly to the body, are manually operated and have limited range of motion. The result is a rather upright driving position, cramped shoulder room but, thankfully, good legroom. The audio system lacks the power or clarity to overcome interior wind and road noise, and the toolbox excuse for a trunk (3.7 cubic feet) behind the engine can barely hold a single overnight bag.


This is a gorgeous car, with tidy lines, functional scoops and that oh-so-Alfa grille neatly integrated into a compact shape. The design evokes the Type 33 Stradale from the 1960s, but you're struck by the smallness of the Alfa Romeo 4C, especially in a parking lot full of giant SUVs, monstrous Camrys and hulking Civics. That assertive nose sits near the ground, making driveway approaches challenging, and rear visibility is poor. The Spider’s convertible top is a canvas targa top that stores in the trunk when rolled up. Surprisingly, it’s easy to get in and out of this tiny sports car.

Notable Standard Equipment

Since saving weight was a goal, the Alfa Romeo 4C contains the basics and little else. There are power auto-down windows, air conditioning, a 7-inch color gauge-cluster display and a 4-speaker sound system with USB and audio inputs. The 4C uses its DNA selector that chooses from four different driving modes, which vary the aggressiveness of the throttle, transmission and stability control. Filling out the safety roster are front airbags, door-mounted side airbags and a driver's-knee airbag, along with stability control, traction control and hill-start assist.

Notable Optional Equipment

Options up the ante on performance, as if it were somehow lacking in the base car. Available are a dual-mode titanium exhaust from aftermarket company Akrapovic, and two track packages featuring firmer shocks and larger anti-roll bars, plus street-legal racing tires and a unique red-stitched steering wheel. There’s an upgraded audio system as well, but honestly, the engine sounds better. The Rosso Competizione Red tri-coat color looks amazing, and you can choose different wheel options as well. Spring for the rear parking sensors; we'd prefer a camera, but we'll take what we can get to help with the poor sightlines.

Under the Hood

The Alfa 4C is powered by mid-mounted, 1.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine good for 237 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. While you’ll find more horsepower in most family sedans, the 4C’s diminutive 2,500-pound weight permits an impressive 10.4 power-to-weight ratio. The 4C can sprint to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds, but you’ll have to get past the brief turbo lag before you really feel the power kick in. The only transmission is a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic that can also be shifted manually via a set of paddle shifters. Even with its downshift rev-matching technology, this transmission just isn’t as satisfying as a good manual, something a car like the 4C is simply screaming for.

1.7-liter turbocharged inline-4
237 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 mpg


Pricing Notes

The basic 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $57,500, including the $1,595 destination charge. The 2018 4C Spider still rings in at about $67,500. If you start adding options, you'll add about another $10,000 to each car thanks to things like a $2,750 carbon-fiber roof bar, a $2,000 carbon-trimmed interior, or the $1,600 Track Package. Still, it's fairly priced considering it's practically a race car. However, note that the far more livable Porsche 718 Cayman and Chevrolet Corvette undercut the Alfa in price, while offering better ride comfort and interior refinement. However, nobody ever bought a new Alfa Romeo on the strength of its resale value (poor to so-so) or low 5-year cost to own. These cars are bought because of love. But if you’re curious, check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Alfa 4C.

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