While the Alfa 4C is pretty car, there are several huge problems that will likely doom the car here (and likely elsewhere).

1. Alfa's well earned reputation for poor quality and massive, jaw dropping depreciation. Top Gear UK had a good discussion on this point. Alfa's reputation in the US is even worse.

2. It is really expensive, especially for that engine. And for the real world version with A/C, US safety ect, the performance will be less than the media car tuner specials. "Oh, and the 4C has no muffler." Just like the production car. . .


3. For the track car set, Lotus still exists. For the road car set, Porsche still exists. Both make a better car for equal money (or less for a lightly used Lotus).

4. Fiat's distribution plans seem to be designed to ensure that as few people as possible will be able to easy see one in a dealership. It is not like Maserati dealerships are exactly common for most people. The first 400 will be "Launch Editions" likely to make the pricing issue with the Cayman acute.


5. Its got a whole bunch not very exotic parts, despite its likely high initial pricing. From a Car & Driver article: "The twin-cam engine is basically an alloy version of the base Giulietta's cast-iron 1.7, but with improved air and fuel delivery and 21.8 psi of boost." And the news is worse on the gearbox front:

"Buttons? Modes? Yes, the 4C comes only with a six-speed dual-dry-clutch automatic, a version of which is in the Dodge Dart. No doubt that's a deal breaker for some of you." Yeah, you can say that again. Car & Driver drops even more cold water:

"Things you should know: Alfa trumpets a base curb weight of fewer than 2100 pounds, but U.S.-bound models will be about 2650, which factors in two side and two knee airbags, other mandated equipment, and a number of options that will likely be standard here, including air conditioning, power seats, and parking sensors. A "quiet" exhaust with a muffler will be offered. Whether the U.S. will even get the open pipes, and whether John Q. will be able to buy a 4C for anything even remotely close to the base price, are unknowns."

So much heavier, likely much more expensive, no straight pipes or journo-only tuning and some poor distribution choices mean this is likely to be an expensive flop, especially in the US. And that's a very good thing.

Poor sales are likely to mean good values for initial acquisition once half of the Launch Editions are stuck to the dealer floors or resold at big loses by their initial owners. Say these sell for $65k and don't do well. Fiat (always short on cash) pulls the plug again in the US (and elsewhere). Facing "orphan" status yet again, resale values tank (again, not a daring prediction on an Alfa not called 8C). Now you, the enterprising Jalop swoop in and pick one up used for $30-35k lightly used. You will have a super interesting car, and with the low sales and production numbers, a possible future collector's classic. Many classics followed this pattern in the past, and I think the 4C is a prime candidate to do so in the future.

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