Seriously, I’m neither a fanboy nor a hater of this car, just wanted to discuss:
So I try to read as many American and British car magazines as I can, just to get a balanced view of what are the largest English-speaking buying markets. If I had to pick one, I’d go with the British magazines, because they give actual numeric ratings to the cars they review, plus they’re a bit more “strict” with regard to handling, suspension, etc.
What surprised me is that, in these mags, the 4C doesn’t seem to be doing that well. The American magazines complain about the interior and overall lack of refinement, (as well as the lack of cruise control and backup camera) while praising the engine note. Some say it’s a “pocket exotic”, others say “Eh it’s cool but get a Porsche.”
The British magazines, on the other hand, seem to be more scathing, and have said that:
1) The engine note is harsh/not-inspiring/sounds like a forced-aspiration “hatchback engine”
2) Engine and transmission response is slow
3) I don’t know if you call this handling, tires, suspension, or what, but they’ve said that the car will follow even the slightest grooves/tramlines in the road that other cars would just drive over. Rather than feeling “responsive” it just feels scary/too sensitive to very small surface changes.
4) Steering wheel is apparently awful. (Don’t know if that means to look at or to hold.)
Another reason I like British car magazines is that the back pages always contain a directory/compendium of review scores.
So Top Gear gave the 4C a 5/10...which is the same as a Volkswagen Touran.
Evo magazine did a group test of the 4C, new TTS, M235i, Exige S, Cayman, and Peugeot RCZ. The 4C finished dead-last, being the only car to get 3/5. (They do half-stars so you could also think of this as a 6/10.) IIRC they said the winner in terms of dynamics was the Exige, but since this was rather expensive, they gave the win to the Cayman (which I think received a perfect 5 stars).
So what does Oppo think is going on? I realize there are big differences between the USDM and EUDM models, but if anything you’d think the EUDM should be BETTER because it weighs so much less, no?
Or is this more a case of “look, you buy an Alfa because it’s an EMOTIONAL purchase, of course it’s a bit rubbish here and there.”
OR, something else to consider: Are the American magazines less harsh on the 4C because the Elise is no longer being sold in the USA, and hence the only natural competitor to the 4C is the Cayman? And since there’s nothing more “raw” on sale in the US currently, they can’t condemn it as much as the Brits?
I thought the Brits would view it as a sort of “half-TVR” and love the heck out of it, but I guess it doesn’t have the right sort of engine for that.