Long-Term

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – The Agony and Ecstasy

Miles to Date: 9889 - Brilliant at attracting attention.

Long-Term 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Update: Winter 2016 ( 3 of 5 ) Miles to date: 9,889

I spent only 10 days at AUTOMOBILE before pleading for the keys to our Four Seasons Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, giddy that my 6-foot-4 frame might fit better in this targa than the somewhat cramped 4C coupe. I imagined my wife and me cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway, laughing maniacally as we sped through the mountain passes. But during my weekend with the 4C, clocking more than 500 miles, I kept getting out of the car not eager to get back in.

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is brilliant at attracting attention, scything through California’s canyon roads, and producing a melodious growl interrupted intermittently by turbo whooshes you need to experience firsthand from the 4C’s cockpit to truly appreciate, but its thinly padded seats with an almost vertical seat back and hard thigh bolstering made even short commutes almost unbearable.

The seats are incredible at keeping you in a perfectly fixed driving position, inspiring confidence that helps you push past your perceived limits, but they were torturous on my spine, which was damaged during a recent motorcycle wreck. After a full day driving the Alfa, painkillers and one of my favorite dark ales were both necessary to dull the pain that rendered me nearly useless the next day.

Not to say I had a wholly awful first encounter with our Alfa Romeo. In the right environment, the 4C Spider is one of the best driver’s cars you could possibly imagine. It’s lightweight, immeasurably tossable, and its carbon-fiber tub and aggressively boosted four-cylinder engine make the 4C feel like a street-legal race car. On Latigo Canyon Road, one of the tightest and most technical roads in all of Southern California, there’s nothing more gratifying to drive than the 4C Spider. Senior editor Chris Nelson put it best, saying that the Alfa Romeo 4C “is a specific-use tool, kind of like a chainsaw.”

I’m more than eager to jump back in the 4C Spider and drive the wheels off it, but I’ll seriously consider swapping the Alfa’s seats out for a barcalounger and not telling anyone.

Overview

  • Body style 2-door mid-engine rear-wheel-drive convertible
  • Accommodation 2-passenger
  • Construction Carbon-fiber monocoque w/aluminum front and rear cell structures
  • Base price (with dest.) $65,495
  • As tested $73,395

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 1.7 liters (106 cu in)
  • Power 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm
  • Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm
  • Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
  • Drive Rear-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 24/34/28 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Unassisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
  • Turning circle 40.5 ft
  • Suspension, Front Control arms, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Strut-type, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs
  • Wheels 17- and 18-inch aluminum
  • Tires Pirelli P Zero
  • Tire size 205/45R-17 88Y, 235/40R-18 95Y

Measurements

  • Headroom 38.0 in
  • Legroom 42.7 in
  • Shoulder room 49.8 in
  • Wheelbase 93.7 in
  • Track F/R 64.5/63.1 in
  • L x W x H 157.5 x 73.5 x 46.6 in
  • Cargo capacity 3.7 cu ft
  • Weight 2487 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 41/59%
  • Fuel capacity 10.6 gal
  • Est. fuel range 300 miles
  • Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Sheet molding compound composite body panels
    • Anodized rear skid plate
    • Variable intermittent single-blade windshield wiper
    • Removable and trunk-stowable soft-top roof
    • Halogen headlights
    • LED daytime running headlights and taillights
    • Air conditioning
    • Aluminum interior trim
    • Embroidered floor mats
    • USB port
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • 12-volt outlet
    • 7-inch TFT display
    • ALPINE radio w/ Bluetooth/CD/MP3/AUX connectivity
    • Lat-g, boost, and oil-pressure monitoring systems
    • 4-speaker audio system
    • Remote keyless entry
    • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
    • Black leather-trimmed bucket seats w/read stitching, carbon-fiber and fiberglass shells
    • Flat-bottom steering wheel w/paddle shifters
    • Dynamic, all-weather, natural, and race driving modes
    • Brembo front brakes w/4-piston gray calipers and drilled rotors
    • TRW rear brakes w/gray calipers and drilled rotors
    • Dual exhaust
    • Engine oil cooling system
    • Sport-tuned suspension
    • Launch control system
    • Hill-start assist

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Convenience package- $1,800
    • Cruise control
    • Rear parking assist
    • Premium audio system
    • Alarm
    • Bi-xenon headlights- $1,000
    • Yellow (giallo prototipo) paint- $1500
    • 18- and 19-inch Dark gray aluminum wheels- $1500
    • Racing exhaust- $500
    • Carbon fiber cluster bezel – $300
    • Yellow brake calipers-$500