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Alfa 4C

Alfa 4C Published: 1st Apr 2016 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Alfa 4C
Alfa 4C
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The latest in a long line of special, flagship Alfas, the 4C is a unique mix of affordability and exotica, says Peter Vaughan

Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, Montreal, ES30 SZ, 8C and, now, the 4C. These are the most stunning, limited production Alfas of the last halfcentury. Each stands apart from the rest of the range of its period, but none could be anything but an Alfa. The 33 Stradale from 1967-68 was basically an achingly gorgeous road-going T33 sports racer – only 18 were made. The Montreal was a concept car turned production model, using the 105-Series Giulia chassis mated, once again, to a race-bred V8 – 3925 units rolled off the line through the 1970s. Then we had to wait more than a decade for the next ‘extreme’ Alfa – the SZ.

Nicknamed ‘Il Mostro’ (the monster), the SZ was not conventionally beautiful like the 33 Stradale, nor even an elegant GT as per the Montreal. And it ‘only’ had a V6. Like the Montreal, it inherited much of its make-up from more mainstream models, this time taking the fabulous Busso V6 (and lots more besides) from the 75 saloon – 1036 were manufactured from 1989. It was nearly two decades before the 8C Competizione and Spider took on the mantle of ‘ultimate Alfa’…

Only 500 of each of the coupé and convertible 8Cs were made, but these were closer to Maranello than Milano in conception, having little more than a badge in common with the 159 of the same era, and rather more input – thunderous V8 included – from the Maserati 4200 coupé. But the 8C of 2007 also brought a titular link to the exotic pre-war Alfas – including the 8C 2900 (which wore some of the most elegant coachbuilt bodywork ever created by Carrozzeria Touring) and 6C 1750 which took the top four places in the 1930 Mille Miglia (under the management of a certain Enzo Ferrari). 8C simply meant ‘eight cylinders’.

Four Cylinders and all for Forty Grand

So, if the 4C (four cylinders, of course) takes its nomenclature from Alfa’s archives and there are certainly hints of 33 Stradale in the styling, there are further links to its forebears in the pilfering of the contemporary corporate parts bin. Here, the 4C is related to the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde thanks to its 1,750cc turbocharged engine of 240bhp (the capacity being another link to Alfa history). The rest of the car moves the game on, both from its exotic ancestors and the Giulietta. Here is a mid-engined, rear-drive, two-seat sports car with a carbon-fibre tub, paddleshift gearbox, race mode and launch control. It’s a special Alfa Romeo for the 21st century.

It cannot match the 33 Stradale for rarity, but just 3500 units a year (now including the Spider version, too) will be built, the volume limited by the time taken to bake the carbon tub in an autoclave. In my week with the 4C, few people recognised it, many stared at it, lots asked questions. From schoolboys to a pensioner returning from a Remembrance Day parade, everyone wanted to know more. Our kitchen fitter even guessed the price at £150,000.

With just four cylinders, that might be a tad optimistic, but around £52k for the spec you see here (or from low £40,000s for a used example) seems cheap when you factor in the cost of a Ferrari or McLaren of similar racetrack-inspired construction. And the Alfa is as arresting to the eye as a 488, just smaller. From the engine (which you can see through the rear window) to the Dinoesque side vents, the 4C has all the drama of a baby Ferrari. If Maranello really is dreaming up a new Dino, then the designers will have to work hard to beat this car.

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