The Alfa Romeo has triumphantly returned to the United States. To kick things off, they chose a turbocharged four-cylinder carbon-fiber sports car that makes Porsche stretch their collars nervously. Even though it sounds high-tech, the 4C sticks to its Italian roots by eliminating some technology and common creature comforts.
All of those things should sound enticing to the "enthusiast" or "purist" driver we secretly bury deep down inside of our commuter driving shells. The 4C explores a myriad of heritage Alfa design cues and, perhaps, a few borrowed elements to ensure its success in the market place.
The 4C has been referred to as a "busy design." Glancing at the 4C, you can't help but try to make up your mind at what exactly is going on. Is it a squished 8C or Muscle Milk-swilling Lotus? Whatever side of the fence you land on, the 4C demands your attention and begs you to drive the crap out of it. Not to mention its ability to make you leave it in lower gears while cruising the boulevard to make well and damn sure people notice you. Chief exterior designer Alessandro Maccolini drew inspiration from the gorgeous Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale designed by Franco Scaglione in 1967. So it's no surprise that some of the 33 made its way onto the 4C—such as the mid-door intake scoop along the shoulder line and the rear glass engine cover that stretches into the rear decklid.
Sure the 4C isn't anywhere near it's low-slung mid-engined grandfather, but it does help reignite the brand's road presence, which hasn't been felt since the Giulietta roamed America more than 50 years ago. The proportions are clearly meant for a performance vehicle while still maintaining a level of cohesive balance, which is why the end package looks so familiar to a Lotus Exige. That old proverb "If it ain't broke, don't fix it" applies heavily to the 4C (and perhaps the Hennessy Venom GT).
What makes the Alfa Romeo 4C so inviting is its Alfa-ness. It's meant to be a wild re-introduction for purists and evoke enough attitude for YouTube-posting, social-frenzied teens to enjoy when they've had their fill of Veyrons and Huayras. No power steering or reasonable places to stash your mistress' belongings are present in the micro fun machine, but who cares? A wonderful Italian performance brand is back, and you can't afford not to own one.