Go

2017 Alfa Romeo 4C

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more. See what you should pay

2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Expert Review

By Keith Buglewicz

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.

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.

How It Ranks
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Low/wide front photo What's New for 2017

There's technically no 2017 4C Spider; demand one from your Alfa dealer if you're interested. As for the coupe, there's a new upgraded Alpine audio system, a new Giallo Prototipo Yellow color, and a new dual-mode exhaust system from aftermarket supplier Akrapovic. A new carbon-fiber roof is available for the 4C Coupe.

Driving the 4C
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Front angle view photo
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 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.

CARBON-FIBER MONOCOQUE
The Alfa Romeo 4C can be lightweight while still meeting modern crash-test standards thanks to its liberal use of carbon fiber. The Alfa Romeo 4C is built using what's known as a "monocoque," a method used on race cars and exotics costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

UNASSISTED STEERING
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.

2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Details
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The Alfa Romeo 4C's emphasizes function, not luxury. Most of the material quality is good, and we love the exposed carbon fiber of the chassis, but there are a few underwhelming pieces, too. The seats bolt directly to the floor and are manually adjustable only slightly, sliding back and forth and reclining only a little bit; you'll sit upright, with tight shoulder space but good leg and headroom. The audio system sounds good when the car isn't running, but it's inaudible the rest of the time. There’s a tiny 3.7-cubic-foot trunk behind the engine that, ironically, can barely hold a helmet.

Exterior
2017 Alfa Romeo 4C photo

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 Equipment
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 a "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.

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 a track package 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 new Giallo Prototipo Yellow 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 only engine is a 1.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder mounted behind the passenger compartment. 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. Power is delivered through a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that can shift manually through paddles or like a regular automatic. In sportier modes, it will automatically downshift and match revs. It's really good, but we think a car like the Alfa Romeo 4C should have a proper manual transmission available.

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

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.

The basic 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe starts with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $57,500, including the $1,595 destination charge. The 2016 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 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 or low 5-year cost to own. These cars are bought because of love. But if you’re curious, check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying for their new Alfa 4C.

To find out what consumers are really paying for this vehicle, first select a style to see the Fair Purchase Price| Calculate payments for this vehicle

Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more.
Advertisement
Get Your Fair Purchase Price See actual transaction prices, explore total cost to own, projected resale value and more.
Advertisement
Thanks for Supporting
Kelley Blue Book.
We deliver up-to-date car values, expert reviews and unbiased reporting at no
cost to you. To do this, we display ads from only trusted automotive partners.

To continue on our site, simply turn off your ad blocker and refresh the page.