New Car Reviews

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider – To Coachella and Back

The most Californian send-off we can come up with

Long-Term 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Update: Spring 2016 ( 5 of 5 ) Miles to date: 12,325

Half of our bags are piled into the passenger footwell, but we’re not going to drive to Coachella with the roof on our 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider. My girlfriend, Kelly, who has to wedge her long legs into the tight nooks between our belongings, is actually the one who asked me to take off the targa-like top. We both agree it’s the only way to faithfully experience an Alfa Spider.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider top view

We really appreciate this car. Its simplicity is refreshing, its exclusivity is thrilling, and we’ve both been charmed by a few idiosyncrasies that would be imperceptible had we not spent so much time driving up and down the California coast in this carbon-fiber 4C. The Friday afternoon drive we’re on — heading into the dry, sweltering desert to see musicians like Sia, Ice Cube, Vince Staples, and Courtney Barnett perform at the 16th annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival — is bittersweet, as it’s the last trip the 4C will make before it goes back to Alfa Romeo.

Coachella 01

A woman driving a Bentley Mulsanne smiles at us as we pass her en route to our hotel, where another young couple asks us about our little, yellow Italian while we unload our bags and replace the Alfa’s roof. I lock the car’s doors and don’t unlock them until the festival wraps two days later. It’s near midnight Sunday when we get off our shuttle from Coachella and get back into the 4C Spider. We leave the top on because high winds are tossing sand every which way. Kelly’s legs are happy since there’s now space in the trunk for the luggage, but I’m not; the lightweight sports car is being pushed around like an asthmatic boy with a bowl cut wearing a bedazzled unicorn sweater, and the car’s hypersensitive steering is seriously upset, causing the flat-bottom wheel to violently jump around in my hands.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider rear three quarter

Traffic is erratic and horrifying. The road is littered with Ford Escapes and Volkswagen Jettas being driven by frat boys who just spent a weekend popping Molly like breath mints. I plug my phone into the car’s audio system, max out the volume, kiss Kelly on the cheek, say “sorry,” and start working through traffic by weaving right to left and back. I almost run into a Prius sitting in the Alfa’s huge rear-three-quarter blindspot as its dumbass driver tries to take a photo of our car. When we finally break free from the pack of flower-crowned fools, I can barely sigh a breath of relief before a couple of motorcyclists on Gixxers try to get me to race. They don’t give up for 20 minutes.

When they finally do, I set cruise control, Kelly turns on Frank Sinatra, and we both sink into the 4C’s thin-but-squishy seats, enjoying our last drive in a car we’ve grown quite fond of. A little over a year ago I took delivery of a red Alfa Romeo 4C coupe at our Detroit office, and now I’ll watch as this yellow Alfa Romeo 4C Spider leaves our California office. A lot happened during our year with the two, but we’ll wait for the wrap to fully recap. Check back in the next couple months to see our concluding corpus of thoughts and get our final verdict on the Alfa Romeo 4C.

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