The Alpha Romeo 4C

In the world of Italian sports cars there is one manufacturer that consistently stands out in providing surprises in both design and performance. Alfa Romeo has long been a favorite among the biggest car enthusiasts and in 2013 Fiat came out with its latest two-seater sports car – the Alpha Romeo 4C.

Just to look at this car has a stunning shape with an attention to detail you would fully expect from Italian designers. From a distance you would easily be fooled into thinking that you are approaching a Ferrari, and this Alpha will turn just as many heads.

With a starting price of $56,000 it comes nowhere near the price range of Italian super-cars, which means that the average sports car fan has a wonderful piece of Italy with some serious power and engineering.

Alpha Romeo 4C Body Design

In order to squeeze every last bit of torque and speed out of a sports car, the engineers at Alfa Romeo have designed the 4C with a lightweight, but extremely rigid chassis made entirely of carbon fiber. In order to get the curb weight under an impressive 2500 lbs, they’ve used aluminum where possible for heavy components like the crankcase and turbo.

The beautifully shaped outer body is made from a sheet molded compound which is 20% lighter than commonly used steel and has the added benefit that it does not corrode. Of course the look of car can be pointless if aero dynamics have not been taken into account.

This is where Alpha Romeo has made significant improvements over some of their older sports cars. The sleek design is not only very appealing to the eye; it serves a purpose of allowing efficient airflow over and around the car, making it such a stable drive.

On the Road

To give you the real feel of a high performance supercar you will find that the clutch and paddle shift on the steering wheel will give you that race feeling every time you sit into the car. With a twin clutch transmission system and sophisticated launch control you will be able to shift gears faster than you can blink an eye.

When you combine this with the 1750 cc turbocharged engine, providing 237 HP, you will get from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds. That is less than a second slower than an entry level Ferrari at an incomparable price tag. Top speed on the 4C is 160 mph, which is pretty impressive and will have drivers longing for more time on race tracks.

You will have an amazing amount of fun driving this car, whether it is on a race track or just a Sunday cruise to enjoy some sunshine and the open road with no particular destination in mind. The current model is available as a coupe and now also as a convertible. For those living in sunny climates and with the budget to stretch this is a fantastic option.

Built for Comfort?

Okay…okay so the Alpha Romeo 4C is not built for comfort. The seats don’t recline much – okay not at all. Power steering at low speed is basically non-existent and if you plan on carrying anything more than a briefcase, you may be out of luck since the trunk space is limited and there’s hardly any storage space in the cabin save a small “box” behind and to the right of the driver. Another complaint is the near-total lack of visibility to the sides and rear of the car.

While we are dedicated Alpha Romeo fans, it’s obvious that the powers-that-be at Alpha Romeo has cut weight at the expense of creature comforts, but hey – this baby’s made for driving…fast. Real fast!

Fiat Logo

Fiat-Chrysler next move in the US?

Fiat, part of the Chrysler family of automobiles, has been working hard to increase their share of the automotive market in the United States, but there’s no question that their overall plans have undergone massive changes the past several years. This doesn’t mean things look bleak – in fact part of the reason the company’s 5-year plan is adjusting so much is because of the data they have about how certain vehicles are doing compared to others.

Hello More Jeeps!

The numbers were clear on one thing to Fiat’s executives: in North America at least their Jeeps and Rams were by far and away the best-selling vehicles and the ones that are in highest demand. Because of this, their 5 year plan is shifting production heavily towards more Jeeps, more Dodge Rams, and more of the vehicles that have already found a very positive response from the marketplace.

Not So Good News For Dodge/SRT

The Dodge Grand Caravan and Dodge SRT weren’t so lucky. Between the vehicles currently in demand and the direction Fiat plans on going, these two specific models were given the ax. They are being phased out as other vehicles that are more popular and fit the same niches as those previous models will be produced in the future.

Moving From 8 Platforms To 5

Part of what Fiat is going to emphasis is more quality streamlined into better selection. While originally there were 8 “platforms” or vehicle model types they used, that is being trimmed down to 5. This means a more streamlined selection for the consumer.

Less Luxury, More Practicality?

While luxury is far from dead, especially with the announcement of a new model of the Alfa Romeo coming back in full force, there does seem to be some shift to bringing a touch of luxury to traditionally more practical vehicles and paying attention to market trends.
The announcement of a plug-in hybrid minivan that gets 75 miles to the gallon certainly caught a lot of positive attention and is exactly the type of buzz that this company wants from its newest models of vehicles not only in 2016 but moving forward in their 5 year plan, as well.

What About the Fiat Dealers?

While it’s no question that the smaller Fiats are struggling with sales in the United States, there are some glimmers of hope as the Fiat-Chrysler laid out a multi-year plan in March, 2016 to boost sales at existing Fiat dealerships by reducing fees, simplifying it’s lineup and increasing incentives to customers. Initial dealer response has been positive, but the proof will be in the 2016 sales numbers.

Wrapping it up

While the Fiat-branded cars continue to gain a foothold in the US, it’s looking like Fiat-Chrysler will continue riding the mojo of the Chrysler brand automobiles at least for the short term. That being said, we feel like Fiat has a strong plan in place, they’re proving they can react to changing markets, and that is why they are going to remain a strong player in the automotive game for years to come.