View Full Version : Alfa Romeo 4c...or Lotus Elise.

April 30th, 2014, 11:51 PM
So. What do you all think.

I honestly completely forgot about the 4c.

May 1st, 2014, 12:05 AM
In a vacuum, or with a reasonable sum of cash in hand?

May 1st, 2014, 12:16 AM

I know the Elise is now "cheap" compared to the 4c. Because of that you can't think realistically. Or can you?

May 1st, 2014, 01:11 AM
The new V6 Elise or the older ones?

EDIT: Nevermind, I was thinking of the V6 Exige.

Does the Elise have a trunk in the front? Because I know the 4C does not, that front panel is sealed.

May 1st, 2014, 02:43 AM
This is so one-sided that it's not even funny. There is a reason my daughter is called Elise. It'a almost as bad as "Dacia Duster or Toyota Land Cruiser".

Rare White Ape
May 1st, 2014, 04:31 AM
Almost as silly as choosing the F-35 JSF (http://www.ausairpower.net/jsf.html) over the infinitely more capable Su-35 Flanker.

May 1st, 2014, 10:31 AM
What is the price of the 4C in the US anyway, I can't find it online?

May 1st, 2014, 10:43 AM
C&D estimated $86k because the cost of carbon fiber remains high.


Edmunds says at least $70k


May 1st, 2014, 10:46 AM
Road and Track says $54k


Motor Trend agrees


Autoblog says around $70k by using the European prices


May 1st, 2014, 11:37 AM
If cost is no object, I'd take the Alfa. Yes, I'm an Alfa fanboy, but I'm also not a fan of the Toyota-engined Elise we got here. I'd certainly have one and surely love it, but in this vacuum we've created the Toyota mill just isn't as good as the Alfa one. Terrible cam crossover, no direct injection. I'd also certainly prefer carbon fiber to plastic, and I'd hope - but don't know - the Alfa's structure benefits from two decades of learning and isn't as fragile as the Elise's. Basically, I'm betting on the Alfa to have cured all the nit picky items I never cared for in the Elise... some of which you damn dirty foreigners never had to contend with.

If the question had been VX220 or Alfa, though, I'd need to put a lot more thought into it.

May 1st, 2014, 11:48 AM
I'm with tsg, but if the Elise had been given a Honda B-series or K-series motor, it might be a different story. The Toyota 2ZZ motor is conceptually similar, but Honda had their VTEC tuned perfectly while Toyota's implementation left something to be desired. I don't know about the Lotus, but the Corolla XRS I drove didn't have the gear ratios configured correctly; it would drop off the high-lift cam when dropping into the next gear. Both my Civic Sis would stay on the high lift cam if you shifted within ~500 RPM of redline.

May 1st, 2014, 12:45 PM
There is actually a reason for that - the very first 2ZZ motors had a higher fuel cut, letting them stay on the second cam profile through all gear shifts after 1st. After a year or two they dropped the fuel cut a couple hundred RPM and blew the whole thing up. I believe it was in response to Dumb Americans missing shifts and over-revving motors - they wanted to build in a little cushion. The Celica I just sold had the higher fuel cut (and poly moonroof panel) and it didn't have the cam-profile-switching issue. Toyota could fix the fuel cut with software, but couldn't do anything (apparently) about the cam phasing. And for that reason, I can only conclude that "i" apparently meant nothing, since the whole thing was fixed mechanically. In any case, the 2ZZ VVTLi was never as good as VTEC - the cam phasing was tangible and nasty where as VTEC was always progressive and buttery smooth. An Elise with a Honda mill would be totally more awesomer, maybe enough to sway my vote from an Alfa. But probably not. :D

Sad, little man
May 1st, 2014, 01:21 PM
No, there's no trunk in the front of the Elise, just a fuse box and an HVAC system of questionable engineering.

For what it's worth, I kind of like the abrupt cam changeover of the 2ZZ. It's like having a little afterburner. Probably not helpful when you're trying to balance the car in a turn though. And FWIW, it kicks in at a lower RPM in the Elise than it does in the Toyotas. I'm not sure if it's possible to keep it on the hot cam between shifts. I'll have to try it, I usually wimp out and don't hold gears as long as I could. I've held it pretty long though, and I think it briefly slips back to the slow cam.

I don't think any of us really have all the experience we need to make an informed decision about this unless we were able to drive both of them. The Elise is a rattle trap, and that kind of bothers me. I would hope that the added price of the 4C would give you a more civilized driving experience. Then again, the North American 4C looks like it will weigh about 200 more pounds than an Elise.

I'm also concerned about whether the 4C can really deliver the handling of the Elise. Lotus knows what they're doing in that respect. Does the 4C have a bunch of electronic driving aids? If it does, that alone would make me concerned as to whether or not it could deliver the pure feel of the Elise.

Stylistically, I'd still take the Elise over the 4C any day. The 4C is a beautiful car, but the second gen Elise has even more extreme styling that still manages to be beautiful. Every line of the car flows into the next one, and I love that about it.

May 1st, 2014, 01:33 PM
I think the reviews I have seen show the 4c to have driving modes and manual steering. I don't remember if they have stability control.

May 1st, 2014, 01:50 PM
It definitely has manual steering, I remember that. It also has an automatic with paddles (I cant recall if its a true automatic or a DSG though).

I'm in the, money no object, I'd take the Alfa for the prestige and rarity.

Sad, little man
May 1st, 2014, 02:01 PM
At least they went without power steering, which is utterly pointless on a 2000lb car with the engine behind the driver. I can grab the front tires of the Elise and turn them back and forth when the car is setting on the ground.

If the 4C is just an automatic trans with paddles, then fuck that. A DSG, while not as fun as a stick, is admittedly more advanced with very little downside.

May 1st, 2014, 02:44 PM
It is a dual clutch with an automatic mode. Thats where I remembered automatic from.

May 1st, 2014, 06:47 PM
The Elise is about the handling, not the engine.

Re: Alfa for the prestige - shows you how different things are in different countries. :lol: Rarity, maybe, but it's not like Elises are common anywhere in the world, save maybe for England, and even then.

The 4C is nice, but they fucked up the headlights and it'll never be a true Elise or Exige beater as I reckon the design philosophies are so different, even if all of them are 2-seater, MR cars.

May 1st, 2014, 10:20 PM
You have to remember, we don't have Alfa Romeo in the US at all right now, they stopped selling them here in 1995. Elises are rare, but I've still seen plenty in my time.

May 1st, 2014, 10:20 PM
They fixed the headlights. The nasty ones are optional in the US market.


I think Alfa has higher prestige in the US because, frankly, we haven't gotten too many of their lamer cars. We've only had one FWD Alfa - the 164 - and we never got the Alfasud or too many of their other low end cars.

Lotus is kind of in a weird spot in that they're considered sort of exotic, sort of not... kind of a cheaper Ferrari but also a rep for fragility and general craptitude from some of the worse years of the Esprit. Plus, their only real success in the US in the last 30 years was the few years you could get an Elise for $43,000 - less than a base Porsche Boxster.

May 1st, 2014, 11:27 PM
From my understanding the good headlights are on the launch edition, but the normal headlights will be on the rest of the production run.

Also interesting, only available in three colors: Red, more red, and white.

You can't even get the new Elises in the US, the only model they sell now is the Evora, and I don't think I've ever seen any of those in the wild.

May 2nd, 2014, 12:12 AM
I suppose you could always replace your brand new 4C's headlights with some OEM replica of the originals.

Don't get me wrong. Sure, I acknowlege that I'm biased. But while the Alfa is probably going to be a good car, the Elise and Exige are, at best, awesome cars, and at the very worst, great cars.

May 2nd, 2014, 10:40 AM
I guess it merely comes down to what you want: Something beautiful with good performance or something with excellent performance and good looks.

May 2nd, 2014, 01:19 PM
Buying new, the 4C Launch Edition is ~53k here. This makes it a direct competitor to the Exige V6, with its 345hp supercharged engine.

http://www.speedhunters.com/2014/03/best-lotus-decade/ (Really nice photography and drive story)

When the V6 Exige is in the frame, there would be no contest for me; it offers more in every way.

However, the Launch Edition is arguably a rip-off, a way to harvest extra cash from those desperate to get the new hotness, or die-hard Alfisti who wouldn't look at a Lotus. The 'regular' price is 45k, which puts it midway between the Elise S and the Exige.

At that rate, I'd still pick the Elise S; the chassis is, by all accounts, much better resolved, and I'd rather the linearity and noise of a supercharged engine to work that chassis.

Also I personally relate to Lotus' more recent glory, and Chapman's insistence on light weight, more than Alfa, who haven't made anything new that is truly special in my lifetime, save the SZ (the Busso V6 debuted in '79, the year before I was born).

However I think it's much more of a matter of personal preference - both 4C and Elise are so much more exciting than 99% of stuff on the road, so light and focused, there doesn't really seem to be a wrong answer.

May 3rd, 2014, 10:09 AM
However I think it's much more of a matter of personal preference - both 4C and Elise are so much more exciting than 99% of stuff on the road, so light and focused, there doesn't really seem to be a wrong answer.

May 3rd, 2014, 02:47 PM
Oh alright, although "4C Hew" doesn't really have the same ring. ;)

May 4th, 2014, 08:39 AM

May 16th, 2014, 05:11 AM
Not quite. Launch edition just gets the 19 inch upgraded wheels, the splashes of external carbon and the track focused suspension. The new headlights are coming in the 4C Spider and then will become an option for the coupe. If Alfa's recent presentation is anything to go by, the 4C Quadrifoglio Verde will also have them...and around 300bhp!

June 16th, 2014, 11:31 AM
Autoblog review of the US version: http://www.autoblog.com/2014/06/16/2015-alfa-romeo-4c-first-drive-review-video/

June 18th, 2014, 05:26 AM
Damn. Wish I hadn't read that. I want one even more now...

June 18th, 2014, 06:25 AM
Very nice, but too rich for my blood!

June 18th, 2014, 01:37 PM
US dealers: http://blog.sfgate.com/topdown/2014/06/11/alfa-romeo-4c-dealers-announced/?cmpid=hp-hc-cars#24203101=0

Looks like tsg and I will have to haul into the Bay Area to buy ours... *cough*

July 13th, 2014, 06:05 AM
C&D's review (http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-alfa-romeo-4c-coupe-test-review)


Undiluted steering, spectacular chassis, it bestows sexiness upon all those in its vicinity.


Nonlinear power delivery, no manual-transmission option in a car that simply begs for one, the expected inconveniences of life with a scale-model supercar.

July 13th, 2014, 07:14 AM
Conclusion: Still inferior to an Elise or an Exige kthxbai

July 13th, 2014, 08:23 AM
Given Lotus only sold 78 cars last year in their home market, Alfa seem more likely to still be around in a few years!

July 13th, 2014, 09:06 AM
The lack of a manual transmission is what sours me on this car. Not that I'm terribly likely to buy one, but it's off the list for now unless I lose a limb.

July 13th, 2014, 02:19 PM
Ironic that the company that brought you the Esprit is the one with linear power delivery and the company that brought you sweet sweet V6 loveliness for decades isn't. No matter. I've never let big boost get me down. The lack of a real manual, however, is really rough.

July 13th, 2014, 02:20 PM
Looks like tsg and I will have to haul into the Bay Area to buy ours... *cough*

I've heard that may be temporary, and that Niello is looking to have a Maserati/Alfa/Fiat dealership. They just don't have the facility yet. The Maserati/Fiat situation is tight already.

July 13th, 2014, 04:20 PM
Lack of manual is what writes it off the list for me, I really don't understand the decision to exclude it as it seems to be alienating it's main target market.

Freude am Fahren
July 13th, 2014, 04:43 PM
Sadly, with this and the GT3 going the way of the paddle shifting (not to mention Ferrari, who other than a few Californias and 599s haven't offered a gated stick in like a decade), don't expect many upmarket sports cars to have manual gearboxes for much longer.

We'll probably get a couple generations of low-to-midlevelers like the 86, Miata, Z, then they'll probably go the way of leaded gasoline and 8-tracks.

July 13th, 2014, 05:01 PM
Good thing the C7 Corvette is sooooooo good huh?

July 13th, 2014, 05:07 PM
I am increasingly wondering if a few dudes hanging out on internet forums are the remnants of "the main target market" for performance vehicles. These types of vehicles keep selling despite the lack of critical features (like manual gearboxes) - I don't many see people saying "Eff you Porsche, I'll buy a Mazda" - although I'm sure it does happen from time to time. I guess manual transmissions really are going the way of manual brakes (like, hand operated) and manual ignition timing control.

Thank God I have a stockpile of '80s cars.

July 13th, 2014, 06:04 PM
My view is the performance vehicle market is divided into distinct subsets. I see it as:

Muscle cars - Mustang, Camaro, AMG Mercs, S/RS Audis, V8 Commodores, MPS Mazda 3 - basically this is about putting the foot down and getting a whacking shove in the back and some awesome noise
Laptime Cars - GTR, EVO, STI, Focus ST, GT3, Megane RS - this is about going fast around a track, nurburgring times are god
Drivers cars - Elise, Cayman, 86, MX5 etc - cars which are aimed at driver experience over laptime or outright grunt
Cafe Racers - GTI, Golf R, Astons, recent Alfas but mostly steals cars from other categories especially if they have a BMW or Porsche badge - perceived performance is more important than actual performance and the cars are almost never driven anywhere near their capabilities. It is however important as any car which is perceived to be at the top of one of the other categories will pick up a lot of sales here, MX5 and 911 being some very good examples of that.

In terms of manual gearboxes it really only matters to the drivers car segment, Muscle cars work better with an auto and with the new boxes the laptime cars are quicker with DSG and since speed is the ultimate objective they're accepted. Cafe racers have always been auto ;) With the 4C it's trying to fit in the Drivers car category as owners give up quite a bit in terms of comforts and toys in order to give that more visceral experience however this is the segment which does actually want a manual gearbox so they're alienating a lot of their buyers straight off the bat and if they don't build enough 'market buzz' they'll fail as a cafe racer as well. I think it's a massive mistake along the same lines that Renault have made with the new Clio as if the car fails in it's core category and it's too harsh to be a pure cafe racer then it will lose those sales as well.

Then again, with two tenths of f all production capacity it doesn't really matter, they should comfortably sell out and get people talking about Alfa again and I guess that is the real objective.

July 13th, 2014, 06:51 PM
Tend to agree.

I've always wondered what the market force of enthusiasts on other peoples' wallets truly is. Product credibility often originates with people who would never consume the product (such as, dudes on an internet forum, journalists, etc.) - but how much does that credibility influence actual sales? Is the 4C going to lose credibility because enthusiasts who wouldn't buy the car anyway denounce the transmission? I gotta believe that, say, BMW wouldn't have the credibility it has today if it hadn't won enthusiasts 30 or 40 years ago. They've been milking the image they won/built for years now!

July 13th, 2014, 07:51 PM
I don't know about the market force (if any) of enthusiasts' wallets, but I can tell you that people I would classify as being Cafe Racers love to say things like "The 911 is the only 'real Porsche', and/as the others (including the Cayman) are not 'real Porsches'" (without being able to explain why this is so).

Man, if it weren't so played out, we could do a video of "Shit Cafe Racers/Investment Bankers say".

July 13th, 2014, 08:10 PM
Haha - it'd be funny to stage car reviews where after the review, it shows the reviewer going back to work at the bank, hair salon, male exotic dancing club, etc. Hah.

July 13th, 2014, 09:01 PM
You mean, "real" car reviews, then?

Hmmm. We all have videocameras, right? YOU WID US IN DA REVIEW CREW, BRA?

July 13th, 2014, 09:16 PM
Yeah, the GT3 has become a vehicle for only track whores and posers. Flappy-paddle makes sense on the track, and the Persian mafia poser types didn't get to learn how to drive stick after being raised driving daddy's Range Rover.

But the 4C isn't THAT quick around a track, it's all about the experience. Though I suppose having a flappy-paddle gearbox that eats clutches every 30,000 miles gives a window into the "true Italian car experience" these days. :lol: Seriously, the Maserati Coupes from about ten years ago are ruined for being almost all Cambiocorsa models that treat $8k clutch jobs as wear items. The few manual versions out there don't have that vice.

September 9th, 2014, 01:49 AM
The Masers had a LOT more torque than the 4C box. The TCT has been in production a good few years now and has proven far more reliable than the manual box in the Giulietta.

March 3rd, 2015, 08:51 AM
Spotted at the autocross last weekend; Launch Edition, #030/500.

Sadly, the driver appeared to be new to the autocross thing. Car looked and sounded great, though. He commented that it's definitely a sports car rather than a grand tourer--limited luggage capacity and a stiff suspension.


March 3rd, 2015, 03:44 PM
I saw one in person. I was horribly let down.

March 3rd, 2015, 04:43 PM
More for me. :D

September 6th, 2016, 09:20 AM

Freude am Fahren
September 6th, 2016, 10:01 AM
Are those F1 tires? :lol:

September 6th, 2016, 04:07 PM
Are those F1 tires? :lol:

That was my thought too. It seems to be an Alfa in name only though.

Rare White Ape
September 6th, 2016, 11:26 PM
Looks like it might have the whole arse end including motor and gearbox off one of those Radical-alike clubman thingos, or maybe a smaller open wheeler, with suspension and tyres to match.