New Car Reviews

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – Out in the Sun in Our Itsy Bitsy Spider

Miles to Date: 8,566

Long-Term 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Update: Winter 2016 ( 2 of 5 ) Miles to date: 8,566

As a few of us absconded to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with the Four Seasons Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, the rest of the staff waited eagerly for a shot at the open-air sports car. Once the car got back to our office in Southern California, the editors asked two questions: 1) Where are the keys; and 2) How do you take off the targa top?
To remove the targa top, push in the two clips on the outer edge of the roof on the driver’s side, repeat on the passenger side, and then swing up the edges of the fabric roof and rest them on top of the car. Then unscrew two metal pins near the rearview mirror so you can remove the whole roof. Roll it up like a giant black burrito, slide it into the small trunk behind the engine, and you’re done. It’s a one-minute job, max.

“If a sports car is sold both as a hardtop or roofless, I’ll usually go for the closed version,” says features editor Rory Jurnecka. “The Alfa 4C Spider is an exception. The canvas roof minimizes the booming noises that bounce around the 4C’s carbon-fiber cabin, and the car is more engaging, especially because you hear even more of its engine’s snorts and pops.”
Executive editor Mac Morrison isn’t as smitten by the Spider. “The well-damped suspension copes with most roads exceedingly well, but the thinly padded seats bother me,” he says, “and the unassisted steering provides excellent road feel but is annoying in parking lots. Then again, since you can store almost nothing in the car, there are not a lot of reasons to take it anywhere with a parking lot.”


And editor-in-chief Mike Floyd, who loved lapping the 4C Spider at Laguna, didn’t enjoy driving the Alfa during his daily commute. “It tramlines all over the place due to odd pavement changes on the freeways and surface streets, so you really need to be on your game to keep it tracking straight and true,” he says.
Easy enough to overlook these shortcomings, though, seeing as how the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a purpose-built sports car made not for carpool lanes but instead canyon roads, which is where copy editor Kara Snow went when she got behind the wheel of our Italian. On Mulholland Highway, a fast, smooth, and winding road perched on the crest of the mountains above the Malibu coastline, she says the Giallo Prototipo 4C attracted a lot of attention: “Including from an officer of the California Highway Patrol who saw (and no doubt heard) the car before I came speeding through a corner and ended up face to face with him standing next to his Ford Police Interceptor. I pumped the brakes, ready to be yanked off the road. Instead, the very nice officer gestured ‘slow down’ then gave me a thumbs up.”

Staff photographer Patrick Hoey and freelance photographer Andrew Trahan tried to follow Snow’s lead and go on a romp through Angeles National Forest, but a flat tire cut them short. “Not sure if we ran over something in the road, but the rear passenger tire went flat on the highway,” says Hoey. “An attempt at using the flat repair kit stowed in the Alfa’s trunk proved pointless, seeing as how the puncture was letting out air as the air compressor tried to spit out some fix-a-flat mix. We called AAA, and they sent along an incredibly nice tow-truck driver, who did a top-notch job at loading the Alfa onto his flat bed.” We called Tire Rack, ordered two rear tires for the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, and had the car back on the road in a few days after spending $441.96.

Since the tire swap, the Alfa’s TPMS light has been coming on sporadically, so we’re guessing the tire shop didn’t reset the sensors correctly. When the car goes in for a factory-scheduled service in the not-too-distant future, we’ll get them checked out, along with the rear hatch that doesn’t close right and the shift paddles that don’t seem to have as much free play as they should.

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- $1,500
    • 18- and 19-inch Dark gray aluminum wheels- $1,500
    • Racing exhaust- $500
    • Carbon fiber cluster bezel – $300
    • Yellow brake calipers-$500