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2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Review

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a purist’s sports car. This hand-built, lightweight roadster can scoot to 60 miles per hour in about 4 seconds, which solidifies its place as a genuine performance machine. However, unlike most other modern cars, the 4C Spider lacks some basics. Features like power steering, modern driver assists and a comfortable cabin elude this little Italian 2-seater, as does the option of a manual transmission. So, what does your nearly 70,000 hard-earned dollars get you when handed over to an Alfa dealer? You get an exotic sports car with a carbon fiber monocoque body weighing roughly 2,500 pounds. Combined with its 237-horsepower 1.7-liter turbocharged engine, the 4C holds an impressive power to weight ratio, not to mention a top speed of 160 mph. If you can put up with the cramped cockpit, poor sightlines and lack of basic comforts, this might be the perfect sports car. But you can find similar performance in a Porsche, Audi or BMW with far more advanced safety, technology and creature comforts, not to mention better long-term reliability and resale.

What’s New for 2020?

For 2020, the 4C Spider carries over unchanged. A limited edition 4C Spider Italia with a 15-car run will be offered. It features unique Misano Blue paint, a piano black front air intake and rear diffuser, and a commemorative plate. See the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Exclusive low-volume roadster
  • Rapid acceleration
  • Head-turning styling
  • Razor-sharp handling

What We Don’t

  • Minimalist features and technology
  • No power steering
  • No manual transmission
  • Cramped cockpit

How Much?

$68,745

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is powered by a 1.7-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine producing 237-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A 6-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission choice. Fuel economy for the 4C Spider is an EPA estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and 34 mpg on the highway.

Standard Features & Options

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider ($68,745) comes standard with a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, Alfa DNA PRO Drive Mode, 17-in alloy wheels, power locks, leather sport seats, power windows, a 7-in digital instrument cluster, 4-speaker audio, a rearview camera, remote keyless entry, cruise control, rear parking sensors and air conditioning. Options include an upgraded Alpine audio system, sport suspension and exhaust, bi-xenon headlights and carbon fiber trim upgrades.

Safety

The 2020 4C Spider comes with the bare minimum of safety features. There are front and side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag, electronic traction and stability control, hill-start assist, a rearview camera and a tire pressure monitor. Neither the government nor the independent IIHS have crash tested the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider.

Behind the Wheel

The Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is a true driver’s car. By that, we mean it’s a throwback to a time when electronics didn’t manage and guide the driver’s every move. In this car, you won’t find a comfortable ride or various driver assists systems. Heck, you won’t even find power steering. But that’s the whole point of the 4C. It requires skills to drive it, and for those who possess them, this little 2-seat roadster is a blast.

In the curves, the 4C goes exactly where you ask it, with little body motion or roll, and a rear end that stays planted even when you’re sure it’s going to come loose. When the tires do reach their limit, however, the 4C simply drifts sideways, a maneuver that is easy to bring under control. Placing the DNA selector into Dynamic mode limits intervention by the electronic stability control, and placing it into the Race mode shuts the traction and stability control systems off entirely. The Brembo brakes react decisively every time with little fade, even after repeated use. The 4C’s 1.7-liter turbocharged engine does display a bit of turbo lag when first starting out, but once up to speed, it is a willing participant always ready with an ample burst of power while making the coolest raspy growls. The 6-speed dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly and precisely, aided by steering wheel paddle shifters that allow the driver to select gear shifts.

On the downside, the 4C’s cabin is cramped and hardly comfortable for long drives. There’s nowhere to comfortably rest your elbows, and the seats, though supportive, are not very well padded, leaving the metal frames to sometimes dig into the occupant’s hips. In everyday driving, the omission of power steering can make even short trips feel laborious, and getting in and out of this low-to-the-ground roadster requires considerable flexibility.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 BMW Z4 — The Z4 sDrive30i is a far more civilized roadster, with a more modern cabin and safety features, as well as a folding soft-top. The base Z4 isn’t as quick to 60 mph as the 4C, but the more powerful M40i version shaves about a second off the 4C’s best time.

2020 Porsche 718 Boxster — The Porsche 718 Boxster is also a more sophisticated sports car, and its handling is equally as enjoyable, as is its available manual transmission.

2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata — the Mazda MX-5 Miata isn’t as powerful or expensive to own, but it does love to carve up corners and is a far more livable daily driver than the Alfa 4C.

Used Porsche 911 — A used 2015-2018 Porsche 911 Cabriolet offers power, prestige and hours of driving fun in a far more livable daily driver.

Autotrader’s Advice

As there is only one model from which to choose, we’d say get the few option packages, like the sport exhaust and upgraded audio, and maybe personalize the car a bit with the optional leather and carbon fiber upgrades. Find an Alfa Romeo 4C for sale

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