Check out this new Website below – on the VIVA ALFA show! Great pictures. THANK YOU Terry Rushbrook!
Alfa Romeo coming to Daytona Beach
Published: Monday, December 22, 2014 at 4:26 p.m.
Courtesy of Alfa Romeo
The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C will be sold at Randy Dye’s Fiat of Daytona dealership early next year. Later in the year, Dye will operate a dealership for the Italian sports cars, the first in Daytona Beach since the late 1980s.
DAYTONA BEACH — The World’s Most Famous Beach is about to get an Alfa Romeo dealership for the first time in more than a quarter-century.
Local auto dealer Randy Dye said he expects to begin selling 2015 Alfa Romeo 4Cs at his Fiat of Daytona dealership at the Daytona International Auto Mall by the end of January.
Dye said he plans to move his new Maserati of Daytona and soon-to-be new Alfa Romeo of Daytona dealerships into a dedicated building at the north end of the Auto Mall this summer. That building is one of two that currently house Daytona Nissan, which will be moving this spring to a new facility under construction at the Auto Mall’s south end.
Dye said he began efforts to land an Alfa Romeo dealership four years ago when he acquired the rights to become a Fiat dealer. He added his Maserati dealership earlier this year and last week received official confirmation from Fiat Chrysler, the parent company for both Alfa Romeo and Maserati, that he was approved to begin selling Alfa Romeos.
“It was part of the original plan,” Dye said of becoming a dealer for both Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo. “It’s certainly three great Italian brands.”
Fiat Chrysler in June awarded 82 auto dealers in the United States, including eight in Florida, to become the first to sell Alfa Romeos in this country since 1995. Dye believes he will become the ninth Alfa Romeo dealer in Florida. The nearest dealerships to sell the Italian sports cars at present are in the Orlando area and Jacksonville.
The last dealership to sell new Alfa Romeos in the Daytona Beach area closed in 1988 after only about a year in business and was along what is now International Speedway Boulevard, said Ric Lovecchio, owner of RML Automotive, an auto repair shop in downtown Daytona Beach that specializes in Alfa Romeos and other Italian-made cars.
Lovecchio said Alfa Romeos have an extremely dedicated fan base, including in the Volusia-Flagler area.
“They’re handmade, wonderful cars that can’t be duplicated,” he said of the sports cars known for being extremely lightweight — just 2,465 pounds — and easy to handle.
Lovecchio said Alfa Romeos also have a rich history in the racing world, with one winning a race at Daytona International Speedway in the 1960s.
The website for Alfa Romeo describes its 2015 4C model as a two-door coupe sports car with 240 horse power that can accelerate from zero to 62 mph in 4.5 seconds, with a maximum speed of 160 mph. The car can get 24 miles to the gallon in the city and 34 miles to the gallon on the highway.
Dye said the 4Cs he plans to sell will be priced between $65,000 and $70,000, depending on what options buyers select.
“When you drive an Italian car, particularly an Alfa Romeo, you’re going to notice the difference,” Dye said. “They (Alfa Romeos) do not sacrifice exterior design. They have lines that flow. In today’s world, a lot of cars look alike. That’s not so with Alfa Romeos.”
Dye said he plans to invest at least $2 million to renovate and expand the soon-to-be former 4,000-square-foot building that is currently used by the Daytona Nissan dealership. The planned Maserati and Alfa Romeo of Daytona dealership complex will be 11,000 square feet and offer amenities in keeping with what customers of high-end Italian luxury cars would expect, Dye said. Those amenities will include giving customers an opportunity to “design your own car,” by selecting options such as colors, interiors and wheels “to make it yours.”
The planned dealership complex is immediately north of Dye’s Fiat of Daytona dealership.
Dye said he believes the timing is right to open an Alfa Romeo dealership in Daytona Beach, with all the major developments underway, such as the Daytona Rising renovation of Daytona International Speedway, the planned One Daytona entertainment/retail complex across the street from the Speedway and the Trader Joe’s regional distribution center that’s going up on the other side of Interstate 95 from the Auto Mall.
“When you think about Daytona Beach, cars are a part of who Daytona is,” Dye said, adding that his three Fiat, Maserati and Alfa Romeo dealerships will be “an opportunity for people outside of Daytona to come and experience the area and see several Italian cars in one location. We hope to create a destination.”
Dye added that while the makers of Alfa Romeos currently only have plans to offer their 4C model in 2015, he expects the automaker to eventually expand production to include a full line of Alfa Romeo models.
He said he also eventually expects to increase the number of employees he has at his dealerships at the Auto Mall, which include Daytona Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, to 160, up from 110.
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Alfa Romeo aims to 'play with the big boys' Larry P. Vellequette
Automotive News | January 19, 2015 - 12:01 am EST
DETROIT -- Alfa Romeo will resemble BMW in products and pricing when it offers a full lineup through 2018, executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles suggested last week during the auto show here.
The company will reveal many of the revived brand's characteristics when it unveils an Alfa Romeo sedan on June 24 in Italy. The sedan goes on sale in the United States this summer.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said that other vehicles would follow every six to nine months until Alfa Romeo had filled out its lineup. The new vehicles will be rear-wheel drive, executives said.
Asked if the sedan due in June would carry the historic Giulia name, Harald Wester -- Alfa Romeo's global head and the man leading the brand's resurrection -- declined to say. But he said that the Giulia and Giulietta nameplates "are milestones in Alfa's history, which are worthwhile to be reconsidered."
He said the sedan would compete with the performance version of BMW's 3 series. The BMW M3, a high-performance 3 series, starts at $62,950, including shipping.
For U.S. dealers, the next Alfa Romeo is important because it represents the brand's first high-volume vehicle. In November, Alfa Romeo began selling new cars in the U.S. for the first time since 1995. Dealers sold just 91 Alfa Romeo 4Cs during November and December. A 4C Spider convertible, unveiled at the Detroit auto show, is due in U.S. showrooms this summer.
Alfa Romeo wants to reach 400,000 annual sales globally with the redesigned lineup by 2018. The two-seat 4C and 4C Spider are expected to account for only about 3,000 sales per year worldwide.
About 150,000 of the 400,000 annual global sales goal for Alfa Romeo are expected to come from North American consumers, said Reid Bigland, Alfa Romeo's brand head in North America.
Future Alfa Romeo customers -- the brand refers to its enthusiasts as 'Alfisti' -- are car enthusiasts who are more likely to be drivers of high-end German or Japanese sports cars now than to be Alfa Romeo owners before the brand left the U.S., Wester said.
Marchionne said Alfa Romeo will again "play with the big boys" in the premium segment such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW. He said it was not that long ago that the Germans "used to look at Alfa with envy."
That day will return, he said, thanks to 800 engineers working in "bunkers" on future Alfa Romeo vehicles.
He predicted that Alfa Romeo will achieve its product goals -- and have a successful distribution network in the United States -- before a certain electric-powered rival achieves its lofty sales goals.
Marchionne said, "Before Tesla does its stuff, we'll do ours."
Wester: Sedan to rival BMW performance car
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Entire contents © 2015 Crain Communications, Inc.
Alfa Romeo set to launch first SUV in 2016
Automotive News Europe | January 12, 2015 11:17 CET
MILAN (Bloomberg) -- Alfa Romeo is finalizing the development of its first SUV as the revival of the sporty brand takes shape.
The compact SUV will likely be unveiled in 2016 following a midsize sedan that is slated to premiere this year, said people familiar with the matter.
The two models will both be based on rear-wheel-drive technology dubbed Giorgio, which has been developed by an engineering team led by former Ferrari managers, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans are private. Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on specific Alfa Romeo product plans.
The SUV will likely be produced alongside the sedan at the Cassino plant near Rome, the people said. By basing the two cars on similar technology, Fiat Chrysler aims to cost costs, as a new model costs about $1 billion to develop compared with investment of less than $300 million to adapt existing technology, Marchionne said last year.
The SUV, codenamed Project 949, will be similar in size to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3. It will be the first model to offer a new high output V-6 diesel that is part of the brand’s new high performance engine range.
Alfa Romeo plans to present the sedan, which has been referred to as Giulia, on June 24 to celebrate the brand’s 105-year anniversary. The presentation will be held at the Alfa Romeo museum outside Milan, where the carmaker was founded.
The two cars are critical to Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV’s strategy to transform the niche Italian manufacturer into a luxury brand capable of challenging BMW and Audi.
CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to spend 5 billion euros ($5.9 billion) on Alfa Romeo’s overhaul to tap into the cachet that lingers from cars like Duetto Spider driven by Dustin Hoffman in the film “The Graduate.”
With a plan to roll out eight new models by 2018, including two SUVs, the brand is seeking to increase sales more than fivefold to 400,000 cars. The expansion will come mainly for China and North America.
As part of its return to the U.S. market, Alfa Romeo will present the open-top spider version of the $53,900 4C sports car at the Detroit auto show. U.S. dealers say demand is strong.
The Alfa 4C Spider is debuting at the Detroit show.
“We’re delivering Alfas as fast as we can get them,” said Chuck Eddy, a Fiat Chrysler dealer near Youngstown, Ohio. “We’re excited. We’re looking to build a new facility, and we wouldn’t do that if we didn’t feel positive about the brand.”
Still, Alfa Romeo may only reach half its target. IHS Automotive forecasts 2018 deliveries of about 200,000 cars from less than 70,000 last year.
The goal’s “pretty ambitious,” said Michelle Krebs, a senior analyst at Autotrader.com. With U.S. sales growth plateauing, “the pie isn’t growing so they’ll have to take that share from somewhere. But where?”
Alfa Romeo’s revival is critical to Fiat Chrysler’s upscale strategy, which calls for vehicles to be made in the company’s under-used Italian factories for sale worldwide. The company’s problems in Italy contributed to 141 million euros in European losses in the first nine months of 2014.
“There’s room in the U.S. consumer’s mind for another luxury brand, if done well,” said Richard Hilgert, a Chicago-based analyst with Morningstar Inc.
Luca Ciferri contributed to this report
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Entire contents © 2015 Crain Communications, Inc.
Like the 4C, the Spider uses a 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
See more at: http://autoweek.com/article/detroit-auto-show/alfa-romeo-4c-spider-rolls-detroit-auto-show#sthash.j0ml1mTp.dpuf
Modena-built drop top is no compromise
The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, nearly a forgone conclusion when the 4C coupe debuted, has arrived at the Detroit auto show with a pastel-yellow paint job. The big news here is that it only gains about 20 pounds over its hard-top brother. It’ll arrive at dealerships this summer.
Like the 4C, the Spider uses a 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It’s mated to a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. The combo is good for a 4.1-second sprint to 60 mph and a top speed of 160 mph. On top of that, buyers get 34 mpg on the highway.
Alfa’s “DNA” system allows the driver to switch modes between all-weather, natural and dynamic. A fourth mode -- race -- deactivates the nanny systems to let the driver do all the work. And we do mean work, remember, this thing doesn't even have power steering.
A superimposed double wishbone configuration holds down the front wheels, while the rears get a MacPherson setup. All in all, that’s good for 1.1 gs of lateral acceleration and 1.25 gs of braking deceleration. Both front and back are made from aluminum and high-strength steel.
The Spider gets a few distinct styling touches not found on the coupe. The trunklid/liftback is solid, with three air intakes, as opposed to a big piece of glass on the coupe. The “halo,” which is basically the roll bar on the 4C Spider, is finished in black on the stock models, but buyers can order carbon fiber (as shown in the above gallery). The windshield surround is always in carbon fiber.
The included top is a cloth piece that snaps between windshield and halo easily. It can be stowed in the trunk. The same can’t be said for the optional carbon-fiber hardtop, which, FCA assures us, “can be stored in your garage.”
Stock dual exhausts are pushed to the corners of the rear, though an Akrapovic dual-mode center-mounted performance system will be available later.
Inside, the 4C Spider gets two composite-framed sport seats with leather and exposed carbon fiber, a flat-bottom steering wheel with paddle shifters, carbon-fiber vent surrounds and a 7-inch driver information display. It also comes with an Alpine radio, which looks a tad out of place to us; it does, however, offer all the options a factory radio would, such as Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, USB port, CD/MP3 capabilities and satellite radio.
The included top is a cloth piece that snaps between windshield and halo easily. It can be stowed in the trunk. The same can’t be said for the optional carbon-fiber hardtop, which, FCA assures us, “can be stored in your garage.”
Seven colors will be offered for the exterior: giallo, rosso Alfa, black, white, basalt gray metallic, rosso competizione tri-coat and madreperla white tri-coat. Interior combinations range from black leather with red stitching and red leather with red stitching to black with yellow and black with microfiber and red or yellow stitching. “Tobacco” and black will be offered later in the year.
Alfa will offer a track package for the Spider that includes high-performance shock absorbers with larger front and rear sway bars, larger (and staggered) wheels with available Pirelli P Zero AR Racing tires, a performance flat-bottom steering wheel with microfiber inserts, carbon-fiber exterior mirrors and a carbon-fiber gauge cluster bezel.
Alfa won’t tell us the price of the 4C Spider yet but notes that the average transaction price of the hardtop is about $70,000. They said to expect a price somewhere between $60K and $80K.
Stock dual exhausts are pushed to the corners of the rear, though an Akrapovic dual-mode center-mounted performance system will be available later.
Entire contents © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.
New Alfa Romeo will be unveiled in June
Automotive News Europe | November 20, 2014 10:04 CET
LOS ANGELES -- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will debut a new Alfa Romeo model in June, brand chief Harald Wester said.
Wester declined to comment on what type of vehicle the company will introduce when it unveils the model at its Alfa Romeo museum in Italy. He was speaking on Wednesday at the auto show here.
Alfa will introduce eight new models by 2018 as part of Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plans to boost the brand's annual sales to 400,000 vehicles in 2018 from 74,000 last year.
Alfa has started development on three of the eight new models, sources told Automotive News Europe earlier this year.
The cars are:
• a midsize sedan to rival the BMW 5 series
• a midsize SUV that will take on models such as the Audi Q5
• a flagship large sedan.
The midsize sedan will be the first to go on sale, the sources said. It is a successor to the Europe-only 159. Originally due in 2014 badged as the Giulia, the new sedan most likely will get a different name.
North America, where Marchionne expects Alfa Romeo sales to go from nearly zero to 150,000, will be a key market for the brand.
Alfa's growth into one of Fiat Chrysler's main global brands, along with an imminent U.S. relaunch, is on target, Reid Bigland, the brand's North American chief, who also heads U.S. sales for the Chrysler Group, said at the show.
The first shipment to the United States from Italy of 54 of the Alfa Romeo 4C, a niche sports car, was sent last week, Bigland said. They will be the first Alfa Romeos sold in the U.S. market since 1996.
The 4C will launch in the U.S. with versions priced around $70,000. A base model that costs about $55,000 will be available later.
Bigland said that about 82 Fiat or Maserati dealers will initially sell the Alfa 4C in the United States, along with two in Canada. The sales outlets will increase to a total of 120 by the first quarter, and 200 by the end of 2015.
The 4C will be followed by a line of Alfa models to be sold in larger numbers, but Bigland would not talk about the timing of future models.
Fiat Chrysler has previously said that the next new Alfa model will be introduced in mid-2015, but Bigland declined to say when it would reach the United States or give details about the model.
Bloomberg and Reuters contributed to this report
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The Alfa 4C is the first of eight new Alfa Romeo models scheduled by 2018. Alfa reiterated its commitment at an LA Auto Show news conference.
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Every Alfa Romeo will be rear- or all wheel-drive; some Ferrari engineers will work on them
At the Los Angeles Auto Show yesterday, Alfa Romeo executives gave further details of their ambitious eight-product onslaught aimed at boosting worldwide sales to 400,000 by 2018. That’s right, eight new Alfas are coming our way, and it’s already started with the fabulous 4C.
While they gave no specifics on exactly what the seven products after the 4C would look like, Reid Bigland, head of U.S. sales, said they’d all share three things: high technology, high performance and drop-dead gorgeous design and style. That might be four things. And they’ll all be rear- or all wheel-drive, too. Which makes five things. No matter, they’re coming, amidst a $6.5-billion investment in R&D that will include engineers from all of the company’s best affiliates, including Ferrari. Just think, parts of your next Alfa sedan might be designed by a Ferrari engineer.
“The core team has approximately 600 engineers working on the projects, between vehicles and specific powertrains,” said Maserati CEO Harald Wester, who was also onhand at the Los Angeles Auto Show. “This will grow further until mid-next year to over 1000, which should be okay as a core team to develop baselines for all applications.”
"Colin Chapman,” says Fiat Chrysler design boss Lorenzo Ramaciotti on the eve of -- finally -- the U.S. introduction of Alfa Romeo's 2015 4C, “was one of my heroes … ”This, and ...
Those “applications” will include, “…sedans, utility vehicles and specialities,” said Wester. “Everything is well along the way.”
Beyond that, what, exactly “everything” meant was officially left unanswered for now. So we’ll go with the following, which appeared in our sister publication Automotive News two months ago following the eight-product announcement by Sergio Marchionne May 6.
Midsize sedan: Code-named Project 952, a midsize sedan will be the first of Alfa Romeo’s new products and will target models such as the Audi A6 (ed. note: or the Audi 4). The sedan is scheduled to debut in European showrooms in mid-2016 and in the U.S. by the end of that year.
Midsize SUV: This Audi Q5 rival is set to debut in the second half of 2016, sharing its underpinnings and engine range with the midsize sedan.
Large sedan: Alfa Romeo’s new flagship, to rival the Audi A8 and BMW 7 series (ed. note: might also be a smaller 5-Series competitor), will be a large version of the new midsize sedan. It will have powerful versions of the new engine range, but no V-8 is planned.
The timing and complete description of the rest of Alfa’s new range are still open, but here is what Automotive News Europe learned from sources with direct knowledge of the plans.
4C Spider: Previewed by a concept in March at the Geneva auto show, the roadster version of the low-volume 4C coupe is due by summer 2015. Despite the spider (roadster) name, this 4C variant is actually a targa model, with a small carbon-fiber roof section that has to be manually removed and stored.
Midsize roadster: Alfa is working on a roadster that will use a shortened version of the midsize sedan platform. A smaller roadster based on the new Mazda MX-5/Miata is due to be built by Mazda in Japan starting next year. It was originally planned as an Afla Romeo model but will now be sold with a Fiat badge. The Alfa roadster will offer more engines than the Mazda-based model, which can only accommodate Fiat’s 1.4-liter engine used by the Alfa Giulietta. The larger roadster's engines will include the turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four of the 4C coupe and a new 2.2-liter inline-four.
Midsize coupe: This derivative of the midsize sedan will comfortably seat four adults. Still under discussion is the final layout. It will be either a standard two-door coupe to rival the Audi A5 and BMW 4 series or a four-door coupe-stlyed model to compete with the Audi A7 and the BMW 6-series Gran Coupe.
Large SUV: Alfa Romeo has long planned a large SUV, mainly for the United States and China. The production model most likely will be a sibling to the Maserati Levante, which goes into production late next year in Fiat’s refurbished Mirafiori plant in Turin.
Compact hatchback/sedan and coupe: The final models that Alfa Romeo is considering are undecided because of the different needs of various regions. Europe is asking for a five-door hatchback to replace the current fwd Giulietta and a station wagon variant to rival the Audi A4 and BMW 3-series wagons. North America and Asia have smaller markets for compact hatchbacks and wagons, so executives responsible for these markets are pushing for a four-door sedan and a compact coupe.
That’s eight. More details are promised at the Detroit Auto Show in January.
In what may be the best-looking car in Fiat’s American portfolio, the 500X made its North American debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The bigger-but-still-small 500X rides on the same platform ...
All these will be sold by an ever-expanding dealer network. Right now there are 84 dealers in the U.S. and Canada. Expect that to grow to 120 late in the first quarter of next year and hit 200 by the first quarter of 2016. Chances are there will be a dealer near you.
Hopes are you won’t have to keep towing your car back to it. How will Alfa address the quality issue?
“You can’t talk about it, you need to do it,” said Wester.
“You need to prove it with your actions not with your words,” said Bigland. “You need to continue working on products. The quality of 4C is very good and I think that word will spread.”
So will the number of Alfas in driveways, if all goes according to this ambitious plan. Check back in 2018 to see if it was overly ambitious.
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C review notes
December 16, 2014
1 of 36The 1.75-liter turbo I4 delivers 137 hp per liter for a total of 237 hp.
Alfa's 4C is a gift to track-day enthusiasts
ROAD TEST EDITOR JONATHAN WONG: It takes a special car to make me wake up at 4 a.m. to drive across the state of Michigan to a racetrack and then back before returning it in the afternoon. But that's exactly what the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C made me do earlier this year. We were out at Michigan International Speedway doing an Autofile track test with the car and were having a good old time with it slinking effortlessly through our tight slalom course and blasting around the short infield road course. However, there was a part of me that really wanted to get the 4C on a proper road course where I could push the car harder and really get to know it. As an enthusiast, the 4C really spoke to me, which got the gears turning in my head to see if something could be done to scratch my track itch. A phone call was made and a two-hour window was mine at GingerMan Raceway in South Haven, Mich., as long as I didn't mind getting there at 7 the following morning. A group had the track rented for the day beginning at 9 a.m.
About 12 hours later at 4:30 a.m., I fired up the 4C before I loaded the small trunk with the basic track-day essentials: my torque wrench, sockets, tire pressure gauge, mini air compressor and helmet as quick as possible. The optional race exhaust system was incredibly loud, making me feel bad for my neighbor who surely had to be woken by the noise breaking up the early morning silence. I jumped in and gingerly rolled onto the throttle and crept out of my driveway to begin the 150-mile run to the west side of Michigan from metro Detroit.
We had a great time testing the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C at Michigan International Speedway. Photo by Josh Scott
I was definitely feeling the effects of the roughly three hours of sleep I had. My eyelids felt heavy, but the 4C's exhaust drone was a constant chatter that kept me awake. Cruise control was appreciated, and the ride wasn't back-breaking like with the Lotus Exige S260 that I spent an entire week with five years ago. The Exige was as hardcore as cars come that met federal standards at the time. With very little in creature comforts, manual side mirrors, less than ideal vehicle ingress and egress and massive blind spots, I was glad to give up the keys to the Lotus after daily driving it for a week.
With the Exige now gone from the U.S., the 4C is probably the most serious track weapon when it comes to production vehicles in this price range. Like the Lotus, the Alfa's engine sits midship, steering is unassisted, getting in and out of the 4C isn't the easiest or most elegant looking exercise, and the sound system is rather weak. However, unlike the Exige, the 4C features a carbon fiber monocoque tub, a dual-clutch sequential manual, appears much better built and offers a little in daily comfort and conveniences -- like power side mirrors!
An hour into my drive (around the Jackson, Mich., area), the pavement on I-94 is very rutted and was rough going in the 4C. The stiffer suspension included with the optional track package and low profile Pirelli P Zero AR Racing tires weren't offering much give as I was getting rattled around in the cabin on the thinly padded seats. However, after that portion, the rest of my journey on I-94 was rather smooth. Inside, you'll hear some wind noise, some tire noise and -- as I already mentioned -- a lot of exhaust blaring. The single DIN sound system head unit isn't the most intuitive or responsive thing you'll encounter. For my trip, I just connected my Apple iPod and listened to tunes on that.
What is it?First shown in concept form at the 2011 Geneva motor show, the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C heralds the company's return -- hyper-rare 8C notwithstanding -- to the American market. And what a return: ...
For such a performance-focused car, the interior is nice. The exposed carbon fiber weave of the tub looks slick, the available leather-wrapped dashboard and door panels with red accent stitching look good to my eye, and the tight pedal box with aluminum pedals is cool looking. It's a purposeful interior with a comfortable seating position that doesn't look super barebones like the Exige.
At about 6:45, I arrived at the track. I torqued the wheel lugs, adjusted the tire pressures and went out for a couple of quick sessions to get acclimated with the car and track conditions. It didn't take long to get comfortable with race mode activated -- it loosens up stability and turns traction control off. The 4C pushes a little more than I expected in corners, but you know exactly when the front tires are approaching the grip limits. Maybe the standard 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheel and tire setup would make the back end easier to rotate opposed to optional setup with 18s front and 19s rear on our test car?
Through right-left transition between turns eight and nine, it feels really well tied-down, and the small 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder offers sufficient power to propel the 4C out of corners well and make brisk work of straights. The dual-clutch transmission is quick and responsive on upshifts and respectable on downshifts through the small steering wheel-mounted paddles. I wish the paddles were a little bit larger. There is a lot of engine movement that's on display in the rearview mirror during gear changes, but all of it seems to be damped out by the engine mounts.
Our test 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C came with the optional staggered wheel package that really added a unique look. Photo by Jonathan Wong
After those first two sessions, storm clouds rolled in over South Haven seemingly out of nowhere and began to dump water from the sky. I sat things out for about an hour, hoping for the rain to stop, but that didn't happen. With only a half-hour remaining in my allotted track time I strapped on my lid and went back out in the rain with standing water at many corners. I slotted the car in dynamic mode that has stability control still on to intervene only when way too much slip angle is detected, which was a good thing, because it saved me numerous times. The single windshield wiper was whipping around madly, clearing water from the windshield as quickly as possible as I gingerly puttered around GingerMan's 2.14 miles. What did I learn? The Pirelli P Zero tires are pretty good in the rain, and dynamic mode allows you to get out of shape quite a bit before stability catches you, but not much else.
At least I got a couple of dry sessions on track with the 4C and hope to get many more in the future. The quick takeaway is that it's a ball on track, which is to be expected, considering its light curb weight, respectable horsepower, wonderful steering and mid-engine dynamics. I really do need to drive a 4C with the standard tire size setup, though. But it's a car that you want to toss around and responds well to being pushed. Since it isn't some 500-plus hp monster, it's not intimidating. It's a precision instrument that you can comfortably feel like you're approaching the limits of.
After driving back to the Detroit, I was spent. Not from the harsh on-road quality because the 4C really isn't too bad, but more from the lack of sleep. That loud exhaust note, which we've previously called "unique," probably contributed to the splitting headache I had by the end. But I'll say this much: I would relive that day with this car again in a heartbeat. Like I said, it's a special car that's an attainable gift to track-day enthusiasts. I want one.
The rear engine 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is motivated by a 1.75-liter turbocharged I4. Photo by Jonathan Wong
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I really feel that, if we somehow lived in a world where everyone learned to drive in an Alfa 4C, we'd be surrounded by really good drivers. Or, at the very least, a bunch of drivers who have a really good grasp of how driving is supposed to work -- how inputs and feedbacks are supposed to feel, how a well-configured car can tell you a lot about its limits and the limitations of the road you're driving on. And, naturally, that driving can be really, really fun.
The 4C isn't the fastest or most expensive car you can buy, and heaven knows that those are the two most important criteria for a lot of people buying status vehicles. But it looks so much more exotic than any Ferrari or Lamborghini while maintaining a certain lovability; I think it has to do with its petite size and cheerful, high-strung demeanor.
It's enough to make you overlook the downsides. There are a few, and I'm not talking about the lack of luggage space or the difficulty that most averaged-sized humans will have entering and exiting this vehicle; all that sort of comes with the territory. You can tell that some parts, like switchgear, seem to have been pulled from the FCA bin. Other parts on or below the center console feel downright flimsy, flexing easily at a touch.
In keeping with its throwback feel, there aren't a lot of switches to flip or sport and comfort modes to toggle. Yes, you get your choice of three drive modes. But none of them are cushioned by the sort of complicated adjustable suspension setups that probably weigh more than this car does. It's rough, at times, at least if the road beneath you is. I personally don't consider this a downside, as you can't praise a car for communicating exquisitely and then knock it for what it has to say about the sorry state of our infrastructure, but your expectations may vary.
In short, it's a true, low-compromise sports car, something rarely seen in this age of muddled segments and concessions to practicality. It combines the directness and responsiveness of the past with cutting-edge construction, bold looks and that beloved Alfa badge. Really, in the grand scheme of things (and compared to its peers, past and present) it's not even all that expensive -- and it will be slightly less so after we move beyond the Launch Edition. You owe it to yourself to drive the 4C; it won't take you long to understand it.
The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C comes in at a base price of $55,195 with our tester topping off at $69,945. Photo by Josh Scott
WEST COAST EDITOR MARK VAUGHN: To all out there who curse the fates because Ferraris cost so much, to all who curse their lousy jobs because they don't pay enough for them to buy Ferraris, to all those who simply curse because the beaters they drive are too slow: take heed, for I bring ye the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, the car Ferrari would have made if Ferrari had made an entry-level budget buster, or if Fiat suddenly got both class and racing pedigrees, or if Ferrari filed Chapter 11 and was forced by the Italian courts to make relatively low-bucks sports cars. Either way you, the customer, win!
I loved this thing, and for all the wrong reasons. It was like the girlfriend you decide to date even though you know she is completely insane and will wind up throwing everything you own off the balcony and setting it on fire before calling the cops and having your car towed. You date her anyway because every now and then everything is just so perfect that you become addicted to the point that you forget all the other terrible, awful times and all the burned furniture and all the towed cars.
As a mode of transportation, the 4C is, in way too many ways, awful. You can't get into it or out of it without crawling like a wounded dog (just like the relationship). It is slightly better in this regard than the Lotus Elise, but only just barely. The 4C is loud. And not just a little bit loud. It's like you are inside the factory that's making it while they are stamping out the panels with ball peen hammers (even though the panels are carbon fiber, whatever). Part of that was due to the optional race exhaust on our car, but still. It transmits every flea-sized blip of road noise, engine noise, exhaust noise -- if you're driving two blocks away from a couple fighting in their living room it transmits that, too. There is a radio in the 4C, but most of the time you can't hear it unless you crank it up so loud that it distorts every sound you might, in virtually any other car, hear. The visibility is unforgivably, dangerously, atrocious, about what you'd get staring through the gun turret of an armored personnel carrier. When you change lanes, the car's Italian Catholic roots come through because you find yourself praying and crossing yourself even though you haven't been to church (or confession) in about 45 years. And it leaks. Yes, the passenger's footwell filled up with rainwater even though the windows were all the way up. Apart from early English sports cars with gawdawful roofs I have never, ever been in a modern FMVSS, DOE-certified "car" that collected rainwater like an ecoconscious suburbanite.
Yes, all that is true and, yes, I don't care.
For one thing, it's beautiful. Bellisimo. Brava, brava! Those undulating fenders and curlicue aerodynamic inlets, the low profile, the Ferrari-esque overall svelteness.
For another, the powertrain should win an award for something from someone who gives out powertrain awards. Here: I'm giving it The Vaughn Award for Powertrain Excellence. The turbocharger has no real lag, the power-to-weight ratio is beyond better-than-average and into true sports car territory. The dual-clutch transmission actually transmits power -- without hesitation, without lag, without sapping the life from the sporty character of the smooth beast. I never once wanted for a manual trans in this. And if I did, I could just pull back on a paddle shifter and get the gear I wanted immediatmo.
Look, I know we're supposed to make rational, well-considered decisions about things in life, especially about girlfriends and cars, but if you make rational, well-considered decisions that are perfectly defensible in the court of public opinion you will never, ever have any fun. So, yes, dump the crazy girlfriend, but buy the Alfa Romeo. Capiche?
The power in the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is simply amazing for such a small displacement. Photo by Alfa Romeo
ASSOCIATE WEST COAST EDITOR BLAKE Z. RONG: I feel like I've just driven the best car I've encountered in 2014.
It's a weird feeling when a car is so good it casts suspicion on everything you've ever believed in. The Lotus Evora reconfigured my brain on what a lightweight production car can do. The 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C rejiggered it some more. "How's it compare to an Elise?" people ask me when I tell them this. A confession -- I've never driven an Elise. I can't imagine it's any better than this, the 4C, a car whose experience casts a long shadow upon my memories even a week after I drove it.
It is a car that inspires metaphors, exaggeration, and slightly overblown praise. It is a car of carefully controlled chaos; it is beauty interspersed with noise; it is freedom and liberation from technology and electronics while still packed with technology and electronics. See what I mean about metaphors? The mark of a good car is that you can drive it for a week and muster up a few good lines; a great car, however, will have you singing its praises just when you leave the parking lot.
Let's start with the beginning. The 4C has 237 hp from a turbocharged four-banger, mounted somewhere behind the driver's kidneys, constantly whooshing and farting on every shift, sounding like the windows are still cracked open -- reach for the center-mounted switches and you'll soon learn: nope it always sounds like that. Alfa Romeo claims that the 4C draws inspiration from the Tipo 33 Stradale of 1967, but nothing mankind produces will ever again echo the perfection that Franco Scaglione once touched. It's gorgeous on its own terms, squat and purposeful, its curves upon curves stretched like an organic form, a muscle curled up taut. From the rear three-quarters it looks like an Olympic swimmer curled up on the diving board, about to launch -- the roofline looks like a swimmer's cap, which brings to mind the analogy.
The biggest problem with all this is, when you're inside it you can't see it from the outside.
While you're inside, you might as well start it up. (No muffler!) From inside, it's not as loud as you think. From outside, you'll hear it from three mountain ranges away.
Put down the handbrake. Press about 15 buttons, some of them twice, because the Italians have declared gear levers their mortal and unceasing enemy. Yes -- all this purity and praise for a car that doesn't even have a manual transmission.
Muscle it out of the parking lot. Remember, manual steering -- oh yeah! Neat!
Point it at the horizon. Step on the aluminum throttle, sticking out of a race-car pedal box.
Oh my God. This car is so freaking fast.
I screamed that at the top of my lungs, to myself, the first time I eased into the accelerator and the car pulled like a cruise missile that snarled above the sound of my own surprise: OH MY GOD! When the turbocharger comes on, which is all the time, the road comes through the wraparound windshield at hyperkinetic levels, until every bump and pebble and center line becomes long streaks like a spaceship going to warp speed. Unbelievable. The manual steering is constantly fighting you, tugging the front wheels as they hunt and sniff like dogs on the chase. Every corner is a strong-armed struggle, a gladiatorial fight between you and the road…
This is a car that always demands to be driven to the ragged edge, a car that demands 168 percent of your attention at all times. This is a car that will make you lose patience with humanity. It will make you curse traffic. It will make you blow past five Toyota Camrys and an RV at every passing zone. It will make you take every corner with the boost at fortissimo, to stay alert for hidden cops with the wide-eyed stare.
Brembo brakes (what else?) offer massive stopping power with virtually no travel at all, an on-off switch like a competition AR-15's trigger. The dual-clutch transmission pulls hard and serves up shifts instantaneously. Would I get a manual? I don't know -- I'd bounce off the rev limiter like a trampoline. You feel the weight transition through a corner, and the car grips and grips and grips -- no corner is too fast for it, no camber will disturb it. The suspension is jittery, but it never crashes or bounces too harshly -- in fact, for what it is, it's quite comfortable.
Could this be a daily driver? The fact that it comes from a socially responsible corporation is mind-boggling. After all, it is the car we talk endlessly about buying and cherishing and daily driving, until some fools actually build one and put a price tag on it -- are we going to put our money where our proverbial mouths are?
To answer that question, the 4C comes with a "DNA" selector, which is cute and is sure to confuse the ghosts of Watson and Crick. The letters represent Dynamic, Natural, and All-Weather. The latter is a token nod to those outside LA County. Natural mode makes the transmission shift less frantically, tones down the engine, eases the responsiveness, and quiets the exhaust. And on the LCD screen, for some reason, it also replaces the boost and oil pressure meters with a date.
I left the 4C in Dynamic mode.
A few things I'd change: when you start the car up, the 4C greets you with a shrieking Klaxon approximately the same decibel used to alert Nevadans to nuclear weapons testing. I'd throw that out. The paddle shifters are plastic when they deserve to be rendered in metal. Visibility out the front is great, with small and narrow A-pillars, but the view out the rearview mirror appears to be blocked by Batman's chest piece. A backup camera should be standard. Alas, said a PR guy, no can do -- it would add too much weight. Was it not an Italian who said, "What's behind us is not important"?
What's behind truly isn't important. Unless you're followed by another 4C, or a Caterham, or an F-4 Phantom II, precious few vehicles will live up. This car will leave you deaf, hoarse, aching, tired, begging for more -- and after having experienced all the joy and pain and burden that the 4C has to offer, let me be the one to tell you that it is all worth it.
Road test editor Jonathan Wong after coming off the wet track at GingerMan Raceway. Photo by Jonathan Wong
2015 Alfa Romeo 4C
Options: Leather interior group including black leather-wrapped instrument panel, black leather-wrapped door panels, leather storage bag ($2,750); track package including high performance suspension, performance flat bottom steering wheel wrapped with black leather and microfiber, red accent stitching, rear body-color spoiler, carbon fiber gauge cluster bezel, carbon fiber exterior mirrors ($2,400); convenience package including rear parksense, cruise control, hi-fi sound system, alarm system ($1,800); 18-and/19-inch staggered wheels ($1,800); sport seats with microfiber inserts ($1,500); Rosso Competizione tri-coat paint ($1,500); Pirelli P Zero racing tires ($1,200); bi-xenon headlamps ($1,000); racing tuned exhaust ($500); black brake calipers ($300)
Base Price: $55,195 As Tested Price: $69,945 Drivetrain: 1.75-liter turbocharged I4; RWD, six-speed dual-clutch sequential manual Output: 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm, 258 lb-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm Curb Weight: 2,465 lb Fuel Economy: 24/34/28 mpg(EPA City/Hwy/Combined) Observed Fuel Economy: 25.5 mpg - See more at: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2015-alfa-romeo-4c-review-notes#sthash.ESOVsy56.dpuf
By Autoweek editors
See more at: http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/2015-alfa-romeo-4c-review-notes#sthash.ESOVsy56.dpuf
All Content © 2014 Crain Communications, Inc.
Alfa Romeo Franchises Awarded to 86 Dealers in U.S. and Canada
- Alfa Romeo dealer network established in U.S. and Canada
- Initial pool of 86 dealers drawn from existing FIAT and Maserati brand dealers
- Additional Alfa Romeo franchises to be awarded later this year
June 10, 2014 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - An initial group of 86 dealers have been awarded Alfa Romeo franchises in the United States and Canada.
In the U.S., 82 Alfa Romeo dealers are located in 33 states, with California, Texas, and Florida having the largest concentration of dealerships. There are four Alfa Romeo dealers in Canada in this first group.
These 86 dealers will be the first to sell the all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C coupe and limited-edition 4C Launch Edition when the iconic Italian sports car brand returns to the North American market this year.
“This group of dealers represents the first phase in the Alfa Romeo dealer network selection process,” said Peter Grady, Vice President of Network Development, Chrysler Group LLC. “Each Alfa Romeo dealer will have a unique staff dedicated to the brand’s premium market clientele. We require each Alfa Romeo dealer to have their sales and technical staff go through an intensive curriculum to ensure the highest levels of customer care and proficiency of the Alfa Romeo 4C. We anticipate that the Alfa Romeo dealer network ultimately will exceed 300 franchises in North America.”
Additional Alfa Romeo franchises will be awarded this year. Initially, each franchise will receive the highly-anticipated Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition.
Here are the dealers by state that have been awarded an Alfa Romeo franchise in the U.S., followed by the four dealers in Canada:
Rick Case FIAT, dba Rick Case Alfa Romeo, Davie, Fla.
FIAT of North Miami, dba Alfa Romeo of North Miami, North Miami, Fla.
FIAT of Melbourne, dba Alfa Romeo of Melbourne, Melbourne, Fla.
FIAT of Pensacola, dba Alfa Romeo of Pensacola, Pensacola, Fla.
Sunset FIAT of Sarasota, dba Sunset Alfa Romeo of Sarasota, Sarasota, Fla.
FIAT of Winter Haven, dba Alfa Romeo of Winter Haven, Winter Haven, Fla.
FIAT of Orange Park, dba Alfa Romeo of Orange Park, Jacksonville, Fla.
Greenway FIAT of East Orlando, dba Greenway Alfa Romeo of East Orlando, East Orlando, Fla.
Fields FIAT, dba Fields Alfa Romeo, Orlando, Fla.
FIAT of Savannah, dba Alfa Romeo of Savannah, Savannah, Ga.