2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Questions Answered: 20 Responses to Your 20 Best Queries

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C

Earlier today, we pressed you to give us your best questions regarding the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, since we’ve got one sexing up our office parking lot this week. Our call for questions went out to our own Backfires members, as well as those car-hungry folks on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, and the response was huge. Questions covered a broad scope of topics and here are our responses to the best:

rewsloan, Backfires: “What is the U.S. weight after all add-ons were factored in?

Our car weighs 2464 pounds with a few options.

MJ W., Backfires: “Is the FCX quoted 41/59 weight distribution correct? Is the front suspension really a double control arm with leading link steering, while the rear is just a strut ‘jobbie’?

FCX Clarity? Distribution is 41.2 percent front, 58.8 rear, so yes. Also, you are correct: That is the suspension setup. That said, the unequal-length control arms in the front and the single control arm in the rear are made of steel in the U.S.-spec cars instead of cast aluminum, supposedly to withstand abuse from America’s rougher roads. Also, the Porsche Cayman and Boxster twins do just fine with four struts.

TriHarderKen, Backfires: “Is the exhaust note worth the price of entry? Please specify which exhaust is on your car.

Absolutely—ours is fitted with the sport exhaust, meaning it lacks a proper muffler.

HotChiliR56S, Backfires: “How does the engine sound in the cabin? I’ve heard you can hear lots of spool up, and blow off.”

There is lots of turbo whistle during hard acceleration, but there are plenty of other noises, too. The induction sound, while somewhat harder for the driver to hear (the intake sucks through a duct behind the passenger door), is particularly nice, as is the wicked-loud exhaust. At idle, there’s a nice mechanical hum.

James Wade, Facebook: “Is it still running?


Ali G., Backfires: “If it were parked next to a Corvette, which driver will feel inferior?

The insecure one.

John Davis, Facebook: “Which headlights does the U.S. version come with? Those gorgeous ones or the ugly carbon-fiber ones?

The U.S. won’t get the LED-festooned “bug-eye” headlights available in Europe. In fact, the U.S.-spec 4C’s headlights are actually new; they look similar to the more conventional of the two Euro headlight options, but their internals have been subtly rearranged to meet our regulations.

Insertcreativityhere, Backfires: “You’ve got a high-maintenance mistress. She wants a car, which you’ll drive when you’re with her. Would you get her this, a Boxster, a Z4, or an SLK?

May we recommend that you do not buy your high-maintenance mistress any new car? We suggest you get her a used Boxster for two reasons: First, it has plenty of cargo space to support a shopping spree. Second, assuming you are American and your high-maintenance mistress is on the bright side of 30, there is no way she will appreciate an Alfa Romeo. Leave the Alfa at the dealership to be purchased by someone that will love it.

Evan Thomas, Facebook: “Does it smell as much like sex as it looks?

The 4C Alfa sent us came from its press fleet, so we can’t accurately say the source of its scent, nor can we place it particularly well.

Nic Advertising, Twitter: “Is it the same size as a 911, or more like a Cayman/Boxster?

It may compete with the Cayman, but the Porsche’s wheelbase is 3.7 inches longer, while the Alfa measures a whopping 15 inches shorter in length. In terms of width, the 4C is 2.5 inches broader of beam, and it’s also 4.4 inches lower.

Ariel Cinii, Twitter: “Does it have any trunk space?

It does—just 3.7 cubic feet of it in a trash-can-shaped cubby behind the engine. Amusingly, that meager volume must be enough to qualify as a “trunk” in the eyes of U.S. regulators, because the 4C gets the mandatory glow-in-the-dark interior release handle so someone—presumably a hamster, or maybe a severed head—can escape. The release handle itself shows a stick figure jumping out of a Maserati GranTurismo. This amuses us.

Toshi Clark, Google+: “How’s the driver’s headroom?

Not terrible, actually, but the seat adjustments are fairly limited. The seat can be moved fore and aft, but the backrest is nearly vertical—even when in its fully reclined position. Some call the resulting legs-out seating position racy, while the taller staff members find it slightly masochistic.

Mark H, Backfires: “How is the visibility in that thing changing lanes, looking back, etc.?

There are two—count ’em, two—door mirrors. Otherwise, yeah, forget blind-spot visibility or seeing what’s behind you backing up. Parking sensors are an option, but Alfa doesn’t offer a camera, a shame given the mail-slot view through the steeply raked rear glass.

E30og, Backfires: “Do you miss power steering?

Hell no.

Jowell Protasio, Facebook: “Are you really not able to open the hood? What’s in there? Is it the secret to world peace?

You are correct. The front “hood” that seems to be there is not there: Cut lines in the plastic body panels make it appear as though there is an access panel to a Cayman-style “frunk.”

Brendan, Backfires: “I am rather tall, but thin . . . would I fit?

Our own friendly giant, six-foot-seven senior editor Jared Gall, managed to pilot the 4C around. Note the lack of the adjective “comfortably” in that sentence. In all seriousness, the biggest factor in the 4C’s fit comes down to leg length more than overall height; if you have short legs and longer arms, you’re in luck. If you don’t, may we suggest limb-shortening surgery?

Pete Botkin, Backfires: “Has anyone fallen while trying to get in?

While getting in? No. Getting out? Absolutely.

Jeff Kyle, Google+: “Why would you buy one instead of a used Elise or Exige?

Toss-up. The Lotuses are ever so slightly more tactile, and their Toyota-sourced powertrains will perhaps be a bit more reliable. But you might choose the Alfa because it has a new-car warranty, and because Alfa Romeo as a company seems to be on a bit—gulp—better footing than Lotus.

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Paul G., Backfires: “Does the U.S. version feel significantly different [from the Euro car]? What is the ride quality like?

The car Alfa Romeo gave us is equipped with the Track package, which brings stiffer dampers, firmer front and rear sway bars, and larger staggered-width 18-inch front and 19-inch rear wheels. It doesn’t ride nearly as poorly as you might expect, and in fact, it’s downright acceptable around town. As for the differences in feel between our car and Europe’s, there really aren’t any we could tell.

Rolling Start, Backfires: “What is the overall consensus about the fit and finish compared to the competition?

Overall, the Alfa’s build quality is pretty good. From some angles, it can look like the body panels don’t fit right, but that’s only because of the massively complex surfaces some of the cut lines are slashed through. For example, look at the intricately sculpted trailing ends of the doors. The rear bumper features what appears to be uneven masking—it’s all one piece, including the lower fascia element—between the body-color and black portions, but that is our car’s only major curiosity.

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Questions Answered: 20 Responses to Your 20 Best Queries

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