Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is to driving what Fifty Shades of Grey is to Valentine’s Day. It is not subtle and it is not always pleasant. It is spank-your-ass driving that, when done, leaves you with a feeling like few other experiences in your life. This car is a seductress and it is a dominatrix.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider/Images courtesy Alfa Romeo

After nearly 20 years covering the automotive industry, I feel this is the car review I was destined to pen. I enjoy a unique drive to and from work each day in that I do not sit in traffic, I have a couple of stretches of road where I can “open ‘er up” a bit without getting into too much trouble. And this car has made me enjoy going to work every day this week. Now, if you are easily offended by anything I have written so far I suggest you leave this page and head over to YouTube and see what Grumpy Cat is up to as this review may not be in your wheelhouse.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

Every time I arrive at my destination in the Alfa 4C I am reminded of a scene from another movie, Animal House, where the pledge is receiving his “licks,” and after each paddling he yells, “Thank you sir, may I please have another!” I want to just keep driving the 4C no matter how uncomfortable I may feel.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

This hot little Italian vehicle marks the return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the U.S. after some 20 years and the automaker, a division of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, has made a grand re-entry with the 4C. This new Alfa model recalls some of the brand’s great sporting tradition such as 8C and 6C from the ‘30s and ‘40s, distinguished racing and road cars fitted with eight and six-cylinder engines. The 4C arrives with a “fire-breathing” four-cylinder engine mounted midship.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

The Alfa Romeo 4C arrives in Coupe and Spider variants. The chassis is tighter than a nun’s grip on her ruler and is composed of carbon fiber with the body panels being lightweight composite. Overall the vehicle weighs just a tad over 2,000 lbs. and its two-seater, mid-engine layout is perfectly balanced. I admit I needed a driving lesson when first taking the set of keys from the delivery driver. There is a traditional ignition key but the transmission is all push button, consisting of 1, N, R, and A/M. The 4C also features the Alfa DNA selector that optimizes the engine, gearbox, electronic Q2 differential, and electronic stability controls with selectable driving modes of All-weather, Natural, Dynamic, and Race.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

There are few creature comforts in the 4C – which is a departure from the usual list of suspects that arrive in the test driveway. There are no heated seats, no power adjustment, no power steering, no navigation, no charging points for your smart devices, and no voice recognition (she couldn’t hear you anyway). There is an Alpine stereo system but I kept that off most of the week as I preferred the music of the blaring racing exhaust to the muted sounds emitting from the door speakers. As I mentioned, the engine sits behind the cockpit, just above the rear transaxle, and has a small tub behind it that pulls duty as a “trunk.” It contains a tire inflation kit and will hold the Spider roof panel along with a small gym bag and that is all. The body panel up front that appears to be the hood is fastened solidly to the chassis.GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is not a daily driver, you will be pissed off sitting in traffic congestion in this vehicle and the car will be equally angry with you. As there are only about 400 of these handcrafted units entering the states each production year, people will stare – almost as if you walked out into public still wearing some of your bondage implements.GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

The new 4C Spiders began arriving on these shores last summer and the unit sent over for evaluation is listed as a pre-production model. Base MSRP is $63,900 with a final sticker of $73,395 thanks to premium paint, a convenience package, carbon fiber cluster bezel, racing exhaust, and staggered 18-inch alloy wheels and performance tires up front and 19s in the rear. Braking is courtesy Brembo performance equipment and the car uses double wishbone suspension up front with MacPherson struts and shock absorbers in the rear. The engine is all aluminum, the body is composite, and the cockpit shell and halo components are carbon fiber.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

Surprisingly, the 237hp, 258 lb. ft. torque turbocharged engine is rated for 24 mpg city and 34 mpg highway on premium unleaded fuel. The vehicle’s weight-saving materials contribute greatly towards those numbers as this little baby tips the scales at 2,487 lbs. Its wheelbase is a mere 93.7 inches with overall length coming in at 157 inches and height measuring 46.7 inches. The drag coefficient was surprisingly not all that great at 0.351 Cd for the Spider model.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

While I am sometimes outspoken, I mostly consider myself on the timid side of the scale. I do not follow sports that much and I don’t watch any ultimate fighting, nor would I ever join a fight club. But in the 4C Spider I see those things possible. This brutish open cockpit two-seater forces its persona onto the driver almost immediately. Just firing the 237hp turbocharged 1750cc engine with racing exhaust has the Alfa inside your head (almost literally as the engine is right behind you). You feel the spark in every cylinder as the car seems to take over. You are at its mercy – and driver’s education did not prepare you for this moment.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

So let’s just cut right to the chase. This car is a beast on the road. It is rough riding, it is a bear to steer at low speeds, and it is loud. It takes a brief moment to engage the gearbox and then it slams you back in the seats as if you just lit the candle on the space shuttle. It is a most exhilarating feeling that sometimes money can’t buy (in this case 73 grand will just about cover it). This is an aspirational car for those who already have a primary vehicle. This is not the car for your second childhood – that is a Corvette and there is one on almost every block. This is a car you will stand out in and you will be noticed (and probably hated). This is the ultimate grown up go-kart and it’s street legal, but do yourself a favor and get some track time any way possible.

GearDiary Alfa Romeo 4C Spider: Caution, NSFW!

What a spectacular re-entry Alfa Romeo has made to the U.S. market with the 4C coupe and 4C Spider! A century of history is delivered to these shores in this gorgeous Italian two-seater that demonstrates the perfect cooperation between Alfa Romeo and Maserati engineers and craftsmen. Made in Modena and delivered to you – the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is your guilty pleasure.



About the Author

David Goodspeed
David was editor of AutoworldToday at Today Newspapers in the Dallas suburbs until its closing in 2009. He was also webmaster and photographer/videographer. He got started doing photography for the newspaper while working as a firefighter/paramedic in one of his towns, and began working for the newspaper group full-time in 1992. David entered automotive journalism in 1998 and became AutoworldToday editor in 2002. On the average, he drives some 100 new vehicles each year. He enjoys the great outdoors and as an avid fly fisherman, as is his spouse Tish. He especially enjoys nature photography and is inspired by the works of Ansel Adams.