A very special Alfa Romeo

Without a doubt, the 4C is the most important Alfa Romeo to appear for decades, says Steve Cropley in Autocar magazine. None of its cars have in recent history “so deliberately set out to embody Alfa values”.

The two-seater sits on a featherweight foundation – a rigid carbonfibre tub weighing just 65kg. This, plus the new lighter 1,750cc turbo charged engine, and a myriad more weight-saving measures, mean the car clocks the scales at just 925kg.

This gives a power-to-weight ratio of 259bhp per tonne – which is “really something to crow about, matching that of many big-capacity supercars” of more than twice the price.

The result is a top speed over 155mph and a 0-62mph sprint time of 4.5 seconds. The thrust is “mighty”, particularly between 60 and 100mph, and overtaking is fun because the car is compact and gains speed with such little effort.

The car will have its detractors, says CJ Hubbard in Car. The cabin is sparse, the plastics coarse and the stereo a joke. It’s also noisy, uncompromising, and in no way a rival to the cheaper and faster Porsche Cayman.

“But it is special. And exotic. People will always turn and stare, that engine will always make you giggle, and the 4C will always give you moments to make your heart rate spike.”

But if you want one, you may have to be patient. Only about 200 are coming to the UK in 2014 and they are already spoken for.

Price: £45,000
Engine: 1,750cc, turbo petrol
Power: 237bhp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 258lb ft at 2,200-4,250rpm
Top speed: 160mph
0-62mph: 4.5 seconds