Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Thrill of Compromise in the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

All the excitement of driving the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider can be addictive up until you take it for a weekend retreat that's more than 90 minutes away. Then you'll be second-guessing its practicality.

This is a magnificent vehicle that belongs on a road course track, not on a crowded freeway and certainly not in your driveway for the neighbors to gossip about your finances while ogling its curvaceousness.

Despite the 4C Spider’s primitive intentions, you'll get no complaints from its 237 horsepower 1.7 liter turbocharged engine as it launches you from zero to 60 in something like 4 seconds, and you'll quickly find that manual paddle shifting is actually the way a car like this was meant to be driven, even if the hardcore among us would prefer a foot-operated clutch instead of the one electronically controlled by the 6-speed automated-manual transmission.

Don't look for comforts, either, notwithstanding the Alpine audio system. This is a car where you need to contort yourself not only to get into either of the two seats, but also every time you want to grab your beverage from the cupholder that's just behind your shoulder.

Are the compromises worth it? Absolutely. There are more thrills to be had from the 4C Spider than what might be considered legal. Just engage dynamic mode, set manual drive and stomp on the accelerator. Hyperventilating is not covered under the four-year, 50,000-mile warranty.