The engine wakes up with a distinct Italian bark that sometimes shifts into a burble. Gear selection is through push buttons on the center console. Auto mode makes the car do a bad imitation of an automatic transmission, particularly at low speeds. With the absence of a manual transmission, the next best thing is to choose manual mode and shift gears via the steering wheel paddles. The 4C takes off with gusto. Its 0-60 mph acceleration times are claimed to be in the mid-four seconds, which is only about half a second slower than a Porsche 911 Carrera S. Shifts are lighting quick and come with a satisfying “blat.” You sometimes find yourself shifting just because the experience is so addicting and irresistible.
The 4C showed practically no body roll in our vigorous drive, and it provided immediate turn-in response, making the car behave much like a go-cart. Seriously, this Alfa carves bends like it’s nobody’s business. It dives into corners like only a low slung, mid-engine car can. The super quick steering is unassisted and communicates tons of feedback, good and bad. While it telegraphs cornering loads and pavement texture in real time, it also brings quite a bit of bump steer. The 4C also tends to tramline, following the road contour while the steering tugs in your palms. At parking speeds, the manual steering will give you a serious workout.
A few driving modes are on the menu: All-weather, Neutral, Dynamic, and Race. In Race mode, the stability control is turned off, allowing us to explore the 4C’s abilities. It remains neutral and balanced all the way to its high limits and beyond, with the rear stepping out in a predictable, controlled manner. No doubt, this Italian is enjoyable.