Is it possible to fall in love with a car?

November 14, 2014
I'm not sure if it was lust or true love, but within just a few seconds I had fallen madly for the curvaceous, feisty, Italian dame in front of me, and yet like a summer holiday fling, it was over so quickly, but I still pine for her. I was in Balocco, northern Italy at Alfa Romeo’s proving ground where the flame red bombshell that is the Alfa Romeo 4C waited for me to take her around the block. Our time was short, it was always going to be a quick flirt, but on sight alone I had already fallen for her. Built by Maserati, its carbon-fibre monocoque chassis that acts as the base for its panels to stick to, weighs in at a lithe 65kg, and with its engine bolted directly behind the driver’s head, reminded me of a mini-me Ferrari 458 Italia. Its interior is stark and business-like and its engine is only 1750cc in size with four-cylinders and a turbo. But it does weigh just 925kg soaking wet. Alfa Romeo 4C. Lured by its seductive looks, I fired it up, selected first gear and was immediately surprised, then taken by the heavy steering. In this age of electro power steer with no feel and maximum ease, it was refreshing to have to wrestle it just slightly but feel every nuance of the tyres’ behaviour through your finger tips, especially after you got going and punted it through a few corners. Then there’s the sound. Mama Mia, it melts your heart. A cliché perhaps, but trust me and try it. I guarantee it you will agree. This little Alfa Romeo 4C has more character wrapped in its diminutive dimensions than just about anything I have driven in the past four or five years, supercars included. In one fell swoop the, 4C has redressed about 30 years of Alfatrocities to put the Milanese and serpent badge back at the top of the driving enjoyment tree. [gallery link="none" ids="10884,10885"] Given that the engine produces 240bhp at 6000rpm plus 350Nm of torque between 2100rpm and 4000rpm, its power-to-weight ratio of 259bhp per tonne is really something to crow about, matching many big-capacity supercars at more than twice the price and power. It's a small wonder that the Alfa Romeo 4C can top 250kmh and sprint from zero to 100kmh in just 4.5 seconds, while returning impressive fuel consumption figures. Sure, at around AED 280,000 it makes for an expensive Alfa Romeo, but it’s also a damn sight cheaper than a Ferrari or McLaren and a gazillion times more nimble and fun to punt around compared to a Lotus. Details: visit: alfaromeo-me.com