Due to a lack of luggage space (just 110 litres behind the engine bay) my larger suitcase is strapped in next time me like a square, oversized co-pilot. There’s just room in the trunk for my carry-on case. Together with the detachable fabric roof which peels off manually and rolls into a handy sausage ( but fiddly to fix back with press studs and lever clips). I tried to open the front end, but unless you have tools the bonnet is fixed in place. The Spider is clearly not a car to take away on a long road trip with two regular sized suitcases!
Colour-matched Bembo callipers on the front wheels (with Alfa signature), together with self-ventilating perforated discs ensure the Alfa Romeo 4C stops from 62mph to 0 in just 36 metres. The brakes were responsive yet not juddery. In fact, the drive down to Glastonbury is probably the most engaging I’ve had in a long time. Sure you’ll feel the bumps in the road but the handling is superb. The 4C Spider hugs every camber and contour like glue, such is her responsive steering, and I have to stay very alert to stop her veering off to the side. Top speed is a wind-bashing 160mph – and how I wish I could have taken her to that speed here in the UK. This beauty is made for track racing and her 17: front and 18” rear alloys keep the show firmly on the road. A trip to the autobahn would be heaven
As well as a pared down cabin, the 4C Spider’s safety features are also simple and include: driver and passenger airbags, tyre pressure monitoring and stability control. The racing seats are firm and upright and very comfortable, although I would have appreciated more lumbar support. Road and wind noise is noticeable and not dampened by the somewhat inferior Alpine radio.
Little niggles aside, happiness really is driving an Alfa 4C Spider around England’s country lanes and motorways – the UK is the most beautiful country in the world when the sun shines, and I took full advantage of it with trips out to the coast at Bournemouth. Motorway driving was a dream (I could have driven all day) and the 4C was superb on dual carriageways and performed well on country roads – garnering many an admiring glance from farmers.
Performance-wise, Alfa suggests a combined cycle of 41.5mpg rising to 56.5mpg on longer runs. I found I was much heavier on the gas – the Spider doesn’t take kindly to low revs – so managed more of 29/30mpg with a combination of country lane crawling at 20mph to motorway speeds in excess of (ahem). The generous 40-litre tank meant I didn’t have to fill up once during a road trip of over 300 miles.
My trusty Prototype Yellow 4C Spider stallion is also available in two shades of red – Rosso Alfa and Rosso Competizione, pearl white, white, black and grey. Interior trim options include black fabric with red stitching, red or black leather, or a fabric/leather mix. You can also add black alloy wheels and carbon fibre detailing to the exterior, although it all comes at extra cost.
The 4C Spider may be short on luggage space and have few bells and whistles, but I can’t remember having so much fun in a car. ‘La Meccanica delle emozioni’ – the mechanics of emotion – is Alfa Romeo’s brand tagline – a phrase that aptly describes my exciting and highly engaging driving experience with this fabulous sports car. I’m smitten.
More information the Alfa Romeo 4C
ALFA ROMEO 4C Spider 1750 TBI 240bhp TCT Stats
Starting Price: £59,835 OTR
Top speed: 160mph
Unladen weight: 895kg
Max power: 240 @6000
Max torque: 350 @ 2200-4250
Acceleration: 0-62mph – 4.5 secs
Top speed: 160mph
Gearbox: ALFA TCT dual dry-clutch, paddle controls and Launch Control
Combined cycle: 41.5mpg
CO2 emissions: 157