ALFA ROMEO 4C AUSTRALIA
A lap of Phillip Island in the delectable Alfa Romeo 4C. Quite possibly the most exciting car of 2013.
Ok, so one lap - would have liked more - in the right hand seat. And with a backdrop of the Superbikes, who would say no?
Not me, just a shame all the cars currently in Australia are left-hook.
So it’s a lap as a passenger (and that means trusting some other lunatic to do the steering). Ok, if that’s what we have to do to get a bit closer to this car, that’ll do.
As it turned out, our man Steve was a dab hand when it comes to a bit of neck-wringing on the track. And you can sometimes pick up a few things from the passenger seat that’s not immediately apparent from the wheel.
Like how light this car feels. The carbon-fibre tub, alloy front and rear subframes and lightweight 1742cc turbo-charged engine, has the car weighing in at a featherweight (for a road car) 895kg.
That’s only 85kg more than my fibreglass (and not much else) Bolwell Mk7. And not much more than a 1966 Cortina GT.
In fact, the chassis of the 4C weighs in at an astonishing 65kg.
Put all that together and you’ve got a car with go-kart balance, and which is as easy to catch (you’ll see Steve’s ‘moment’ heading into Lukey Heights).
Concentrate on the sounds it makes. There’s a glorious banshee wail from that alloy 1750 DOHC turbo at the left shoulder, a meshing whine from the transmission and above it the whistle of the turbo.
And take a look at the raw carbon-fibre sill and footwell - that stripped-out style underlines the race-car intent.
Even on this short run, you can feel a visceral connection to the mechanical workings and things going on below that is engineered out of our pampered modern sports coupes.
Also noticeable is how well the six-speed TCT twin-clutch auto works. They can be a bit snoozy these Alfa boxes, but not this one: it rifles through the shifts, up and down.
So, yes, a very brief taste of an intriguing car.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. In the weeks since this review, TMR's Kez Casey threw the 4C around a hangar at Melbourne's Avalon Airport. Read about that here.
About the car:
Carbon-fibre and alloy chassis, mid-engined two-door coupe
Engine/transmission: 1750 DOHC turbo four/TCT dual-clutch six-speed automatic
0-100km/h: 4.5 seconds