This Italian two-seater is set to be rare, and prices are already rising. Here’s why now could be a good time to buy
This time last year, motoring journalists were raving about Alfa Romeo’s then just-launched 4C two-seater, the car that promised to bring the thrill of driving back to the Italian marque thanks to its carbon monocoque, screaming 1.7-litre turbocharged engine, spartan trim level and lack of power steering. Some of us were so excited that we even said we might actually want to buy one (£45,000 ‘Launch Edition’ price tag not withstanding).
When I wrote about the 4C for the Financial Times, I ended with the vague statement that the first 60 cars allotted to the UK would begin to arrive ‘early in 2014’ – yet it wasn’t until last month that I actually saw one on a British road. Being a product of Italy, a failure to arrive on time was not entirely unexpected. But a trawl through the classifieds reveals that a reasonable number of 4Cs have (one way or another) made it to these shores – and that values are already creeping up.
Just 130 4Cs are expected to be sold here this year. When production is at full speed, Alfa plans to build 3500 annually, with a mere 200 per year earmarked for Britain. And, don’t forget, the 4C will only be built for a period of five years in both coupe and the recently unveiled Spider form.
All this must give it considerable ‘next big thing’ potential, especially if the collectable status of its (admittedly far rarer) 8C bigger brother is anything to go by. Originally considered slightly underwhelming to drive and not particularly well finished, the 8C appears to have become more appealing with age, with ultra-low-mileage examples now commanding in excess of £150,000. This for a car that cost £111,000 new.
Who knows what will actually become of cars such as the 4C, especially now that optimised hybrid sportsters such as the BMW i8 are hitting the streets, but as one of what will probably be the last examples of a traditional, small, raw-edged Italian sports car, it must surely be destined for classic status. Although it would be even better with a manual gearbox.
Other roadsters to consider
BMW i8 - The 4C’s contemporary matches its handling and performance and features futuristic hybrid power – but costs twice the price.
Lotus Exige - It lacks the 4C’s high-tech carbon tub, but the Exige does everything the Alfa can do, and it’s cheaper.
Fiat Barchetta - Another small, two-seater Italian with memorable looks. Lightyears behind the 4C in terms of performance and handling, but it’s fun, sporty and affordable.
Words: Simon de Burton/evo Magazine