- Italian supercar styling
- Burbling exhaust
- Rarity makes it special
- Bargain basement interior
- Rough ride quality
- Puny cabin and storage
- Tough low-speed maneuverability
features & specs
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C’s a riot to drive, if you can overlook its massive shortcomings.
The riotous 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C snorts like a baby Ferrari and drives like a souped-up Miata. For its incredible handling, ample turbo power, and sizzling Italian style we give it 4.8 out of 10 overall, with points shaved off for the iffy interior, lack of comfort, and rough ride. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
For 2020, the 4C (or 4C Spider, since that’s the only body style left) gets a new Italia edition with a unique blue paint, graphics, and trim pieces. This special edition is limited to only 15 units.
The 4C has presence and panache. It’s low, short, and impossibly wide for such a small car, with dramatic arches, a trademark triangular grille, and big wheels pushed to the corners. The interior is less impressive to look at, especially when you inspect the Fiat-grade trim pieces more closely.
A snarling 1.8-liter turbo-4 puts out an impressive 237 horsepower to the rear wheels via a 6-speed dual-clutch transmission that fires off quick but rough shifts. Its mid-engine construction, carbon fiber tub, unassisted steering, and incredibly light overall weight make the 4C one of the sharpest-handling cars on the road, but ride quality is rough and the boost from the turbo comes on like a rally car from the 1980s.
Inside, the interior is bolted together from parts plucked out of the Fiat bin, and is lacking many modern touches. While we love the flat-bottomed steering wheel and floor-hinged pedals, there are actual unfinished sharp edges on the back side of the plastic that surrounds the climate controls, and where a glovebox should be, there’s just a simple elastic net. This is cost-cutting at its finest, so don’t expect any niceties here.
The 4C is also short on cargo space as the front end doesn’t open like on other mid-engine cars. Standard sport bucket seats are hard, flat, and barely adjustable, but do offer great bolstering when the going gets very twisty. Put simply: this is a delightful toy for shorter romps around the racetrack or back roads, but long road trips are not advised.
Though no crash test ratings or active safety features are available, the 4C does manage 28 mpg combined thanks to its tiny engine and light weight, so it’s at least relatively economical if not practical. When a car is this fun though, who really cares about the size of the trunk?
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C dials up the Italian style on the outside, but not so much in the cabin.
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C turns as many heads as a Ferrari or Lamborghini on American roads, but its commitment to Italian style doesn’t exactly permeate the whole vehicle. We give it 6 out of 10 for its striking looks but take back a point for the inferior interior.
Big arches, dramatic curves, an odd but enticing front end, and a wide and low stance make the 4C a head-turner, even among sports cars. It’s more attention-grabbing than some six-figure sports cars at a fraction of the price, especially in red, yellow, or new exclusive Misano Blue.
That ethos doesn’t quite extend to the interior. We love touches like the flat-bottomed steering wheel, racing seats with embroidered logos, and floor-hinged pedals, but it’s clear this cabin was thrown together from parts in the Fiat corporate bin.
It’s only available in removable roof Spider form, and though we miss the hardtop, it’s hard to fault a bit of open sky to go with the drive.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
The light, lithe, and raucous 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C drills through tight esses while it kicks you in the kidneys.
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C provides an answer to whether or not there is a replacement for displacement: the answer is “sì.” We give it 8 out of 10 for its raucous engine and grippy handling, but the ride can be as stiff as a go-kart.
For all its shortcomings the 4C is a hilariously fun car to drive, thanks in no small part to its mini-but-mighty engine. A mid-mounted 1.8-liter turbo-4 makes 237 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque through the rear wheels via a 6-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Those aren’t exactly Ferrari or Porsche numbers, but the little four-pot rockets the sub-2,500-pound 4C to 60 mph in just 4.1 seconds. Boost comes on like a 1980s rally car, making hard driving a more concentrated affair, but the burbling and popping exhaust note is intoxicating, regardless of the number of cylinders it has.
Perhaps even better, the Alfa’s unassisted steering rack and carbon fiber chassis make it handle with tremendous grip, with just the right amount of center-pivoted rotation in the corners to avoid snap oversteer. Its four-piston brakes help the 4C stop in less than 100 feet from 60 mph, but the floor-mounted pedal can feel a bit squirrelly under heavy braking.
Unfortunately, the stiff sport suspension, hard seats, and 17- to 19-inch wheels with staggered sizes front and rear make the ride back-breaking on poor roads. We had so much fun that we hardly noticed.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
Comfort & Quality
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C is almost hilariously small and impractical.
Comfort and quality are footnotes in the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C, which we assign a low score of 1 here.
From the outside, the 4C Spider is a stunning, exotic, Italian roadster which is made even more special by its relative rarity. From the inside, the 4C Spider is a Fiat parts-bin special with hardly any space for two medium-to-large occupants and their luggage.
Indeed, the difficult ingress and egress, hard, flat sport seats with minimal adjustment, and lack of nearly any storage in the cabin make the 4C a pain to live with for more than a few hours. The “glove box” is a net strapped to the bottom of the dashboard, and the back side of the plastic surrounding the climate controls can be a hazard to the passenger’s knees.
Hard plastics, thin fabrics, and knobs and dials feel like they’re pulled right off an economy car—which they are—and though the bulk of your $67,000-plus goes to the powertrain and carbon fiber substructure. Literally any creature comforts would be nice.
There’s a stereo in here too, but it might as well have come from the back room at Pep Boys, and the sound is iPhone-in-a-red-plastic-cup quality.
We almost forgot to mention the trunk, which is a puny 3.7 cubic feet and sits behind the mid-mounted engine. The front end doesn’t open up at all, so there’s no “frunk” to be found here for extra small item storage.
Our advice: turn off the radio, take off the roof, and listen to the engine noise above all else. You’ll be having so much fun you might forget how shoddy this interior is.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C lacks crash test ratings or any active safety features besides what’s required by the government.
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C has no crash test results from any agency, so we’re unable to give it a score here.
Neither the NHTSA or the IIHS tests the 4C for crashworthiness due to its low sales volume, and no active safety features are standard or available. As included, you get dual front airbags, side airbags, a knee airbag for the driver, and hill-start assist for the dual-clutch transmission.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C offers lots of performance and style options, but its high price and lack of comfort or luxury features may put some off.
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C is several years into its run, so options and customization are more limited than in the past. We give it 4 out of 10 here, as it’s likely more expensive than it should be, even for a low-volume Italian sports car.
After the departure of the fixed-roof version last year, the 4C is only available in removable soft-top Spider form, which folds up neatly into the small trunk when removed. Air conditioning, cloth seats, a 7.0-inch digital gauge cluster, Bluetooth, and rear parking sensors are all standard, while carbon fiber interior and exterior accents and leather upholstery in red, black, or brown are all available. The base 4C costs $68,745 (including a hefty $1,595 destination charge) and can climb to nearly $90,000 with expensive options like a suspension package and Akrapovic exhaust.
A new Italia edition is exclusive this year and features a blue exterior color as well as unique graphics. Only 15 examples will be sold in the U.S., so if you’re a true Alfisti looking for the rarest new Alfa you can get, call your dealer ASAP.
Comfort and tech options are in short supply, making sure your focus is on driving, exactly where you’ll want it to be.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C
The 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C manages an impressive 28 mpg combined thanks to its small-displacement turbo engine.
Thanks to its small-displacement turbo-4, the 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C manages good fuel economy for an exotic sports car. We give it 5 out of 10 here as such.
On premium fuel, the 4C gets 24 mpg city, 34 highway, 28 combined, making it more efficient than the likes of even the Subaru BRZ and Toyota 86 with much more power and infinitely more panache. That comes out to an annual fuel cost of around $1,700 according to the EPA, though likely much less if this is an occasional-use vehicle (as it should be).