La Veloce Vita In An Alfa Romeo 4C

Just how dull does a Lotus Exige look compared to this?

When it comes to track cars in the UK, most enthusiasts follow a rough trend. Many will begin with a Mazda MX-5 or Suzuki Swift Sport and work their way up the ladder.

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I’d say the most common choices in the ‘upper echelon’ are a BMW M2/3, Lotus Exige or, if you’re feeling particularly flush, a Porsche GT4/GT3. Alfa Romeos simply do not make the list, so imagine my surprise to not only see a 4C at Players Classic, but one heavily modified for track use.

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Before we get into the details, please just look at it a little longer. This little red spaceship has an alien-like beauty you rarely see in modern cars.

There’s not a bad angle on it (believe me, I did enough laps around it to know), with its taught cabin flanked by those huge haunches and that low, pretty nose. Maybe it could do with the glass projector headlamps of the later models to make it perfect; those carbon fibre bug-eye units mark this out as a launch edition car though so I’ll overlook them.

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The boot lid and rear window panel are made by Scara73, while the front canards are Reverie items. All are in carbon fibre.

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Speaking of carbon, the rear of the Alfa is hugely impressive to look at. The rear diffuser setup is comprehensive, and a quick peek reveals this is part of a complete flat floor including side skirts and the front splitter.

See, being so rare, aftermarket parts aren’t the easiest to get ahold of for a 4C. Fortunately, Fergus Walkinshaw, the brains behind this build, managed to source some of the best of what is available. Not only that, but where he couldn’t, the team at FW Motorsport had the means to make what they needed in-house.

The entire underbody aero is just the tip of this custom iceberg.

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Take the brakes for example. Snug behind the Titan 7 forged wheels sit a whopping 8-piston calliper front setup from Tarox. This is paired with Tarox F2000 discs front and rear. At the back though, there was nothing available off the shelf to upgrade the factory items. The obvious solution – take a larger rear pad and have it CNC water-cut to fit in the OEM calliper, maximising rear swept pad area. The 4C is riddled with details like this.

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The Alfa is currently running 340hp and 324 ft-lbs of torque from its 1.75L turbocharged engine. That’s a hefty increase of around 100hp and 65ft-lbs of torque from stock, which naturally requires additional cooling.

Again, off the shelf there’s almost nothing available for the 4C, and again Fergus had to come up with solutions from scratch. In order to maximise efficiency, a CSF core forms the base of a bespoke cooling package.

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This includes the CSF charge cooler to replace the intercooler of course, alongside an uprated charge-cooled radiator, turbocharger fan with custom ducting, and a custom transmission oil cooler and pump.

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The engine breathes more freely thanks to a custom-made down-pipe with 100-cell sport catalytic converter and induction kit, making its way along the car via a custom exhaust system with centre high-exit exhaust tips in carbon.

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All of these mods support the main source of the Alfa’s power gain – the hybrid turbo. SCS Delta standalone ECU management ensures harmonious running whilst alloy boost pipes keep turbo pressure constant and reliable.

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A Wavetrac limited slip differential helps to transfer power to the road reliably, through the mega-sticky Pirelli P-Zero Trofeo R rubber.

Underneath, the Alfa is pretty hardcore; I wouldn’t want to daily the thing on London streets. Starting with the big stuff, the 4C is suspended on Nitron 3-way adjustable coilovers. These are connected to the car through an almost entirely rose-jointed geometry setup. At the front, the wishbones have been converted to spherical bearings instead of rubber bushes. At the rear, the OEM suspension arms have been ditched entirely and replaced with custom-fabricated rose-jointed units.

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The mounting geometry of the lower arms been changed to adjust the rear roll centre, and the rear toe arms not only reduce rear bump steer, but also remove bush deformation when cornering. Upgraded anti-roll bars are fitted at both ends of the Alfa, with adjustable anti-roll-bar drop links.

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Climbing into the Alfa, the cabin is a bit of a let down to be honest. For what was a near £50K car new, the fit and finish of the dashboard feels sub-par versus its rivals; more stripped-out options such as Lotus’s range or cheaper alternatives such as a Toyota GR Yaris feel more plush. Once the car is going though, with some heat in its tyres, you forget about the interior entirely as the experience blows you away.

The only way I can describe the way this 4C drives is a mixture of a heavily-tuned Golf R and a beautifully setup Porsche Cayman. Of course, I can only tell you what I felt from the passenger seat, but my bum-dyno is rather well calibrated if I do say so myself.

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Initially it’s the power delivery that strikes you. You’d be forgiven for expecting the standard, dull, four-cylinder turbo feeling of a little lag, all the torque then dying down over 4,000rpm.

The Alfa picks up and f**ks off, quite frankly, pulling hard until damned well near the redline where Fergus shifts gear. Power to weight ratio can be a beautiful thing, and the Alfa only has a dry weight of 895kg (1,975lb).

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Take into account the Reverie carbon bucket seats and lightweight wheels as well as the smaller touches like the carbon boot lid, rear window panel and forged lightweight wheels, the weight is certainly not hampered.

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The Alfa was certainly up there with the quickest on track at Players Classic. There were others with more outright pace in a straight line, but it’s the way Fergus was able to carry speed through the corners that boggles my mind.

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For a car with such a reliance on boost, it has a shocking amount of adjustability on the throttle. Thanks to the motorsport-grade bushes everywhere, the feedback from the road through the seat alone is mega. I can only imagine how good the steering feel is, unassisted too I might add, and I could feel the car the car dart and rotate according to every small input I saw Fergus perform.

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Take all of that, add heavy turbo noise and you have an intoxicating package; not only does the Alfa look incredible but it feels it on track too. Drivers’ cars are often handsome things. I’m not talking about multi-purpose ‘do it all’ sports cars (BMW’s offensively-ugly current range, for example), but the real focussed, track-ready sort.

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Yet the Alfa 4C is a cut above in terms of exterior design, and this one in particular is right up there with the best in terms of performance too.

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Ciao bella to you 4C, I have a new cherry on the top of my want list.

Mario Christou
Instagram: mcwpn



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I wonder if adding a GT wing on top would help it corner even faster?


I'm sure it would but would the drag be worth it? I'm not really certain because I haven't windtunneled his particular setup, but I would argue it must be working just fine without one. Maybe a drag reduction spoiler would be in order instead. Less downforce, but significant drag improvement


That's a good point, but maybe a small one with swan neck mounts might help.

Mario Christou

I don't reckon it needs a wing to be honest, the car felt very well balanced and any downforce at the rear would need to be re-balanced again at the front. The flat floor and splitter/diffuser will be doing wonders for the aero and downforce as it is.


Italian car designers never disappoint (in general, don't hit me with Fiat multipa counter example) the problem was always reliability.
Now back to my search tabs dreaming to find and purchase a 4C.


Agreed. They can make even an average family sedans look sexy, but they can never seem to perfect their reliability.


I agree with you. Past reputation still haunts many customers who are interested in this Italian brand. My late Dad at one time had 3 Alfas, 105 GTV, Alfetta 1.8 and GT Junior. Needless to say the time and money he spent maintaining those 3 cars. I had a 156 selespeed while working in the middle east and one day in the hot summer the transmission failed to shift. No more Alfa for me.


The 4C has proven itself to be fairly bulletproof over time.


I am a super moderator for the 4C Forum. Yes the 4Cs have proven to be very reliable and bullet proof on track. Alfas sometimes get knocks for issues in the past...especially for the cars in the 80s.... but they are wonderful cars. My previous ALFA was a 1969 spider that I had pretty extensive upgrades. I bought it new and kept it for over 40 years and would still have it if I had a larger garage. I also had a 1967 GTV race car that was very successful in B/S in SCCA for a couple of years. Currently my ALFA is a 2015 4C LE that I bought new. I keep it mostly stock to maintain value but with a few minor upgrades the car is an exceptional car. Yes it has limited storage space but about twice as much as a new Ford GT ;-) The best part for me is that when I pull up to a stop sign there won't be another 4C alongside ;-) I find the target of performance the 4C built to was perfect for me. Yes there are super cars that are a lot faster on the top end but for real world conditions, the 4C is the perfect blend of power, fuel economy, handling, beaurty, and fun factor. It also is a suprisingly good car on track days or autocrosses. Finally that light weight rewards with good braking, cornering, and lower consumables cost (tires, fuel, brake pads and rotors) when on track.


Man this car is just so hot!
And the fact it's red also makes it even hotter!

Mario Christou

It's such a cool little thing; thanks for reading!


I have never waited so attentively for an article as much as this one. The 4C is such an underappreciated platform in the USA, glad it gets some attention finally.
This car would rock in a dark metallic green or blue, just throwing that out there for the owner.
Hope this car scores some major track records!!


Crap, those brakes and all those custom-fab parts make this one hell of a car to wear down/crash. Repairs must be monstrous. Get the poor soul a sponsor!


The design can be so polarizing in areas, but the overall just makes you dream of the *so few mods* to truely acheive a "sports car" level Pagani/Ferrari (as opposed to "ultracar level", and pay a second house for one). The Lotus comnection may be obvious, but is unfairly the vastly inferior platform apples to apples, but the Lotus is a 30+ year design and make which ROCKED the sports car world in it's day, so can't hate on either one of these lightweight specials. I say this and the ND miata and Emira, apart from Porsches, are maybe the last big manufacturer sports cars ever made. Can't get enough of the carbon platform with extruded aluminum subframes with rose jointed suspension with with with - a 4C is FINE Art. Can't wait to see them crazy swaps!!!! Imagine a flat six, v10, dual busa engines front and back like an Escudo Pikes Peak... A truely limitless car.

PS: bmw doesn't make sports cars, bruh. Overweight "lyfestyle" appliances that dont make the most power, or have the most comfortable, or are efficient nor light, nor make the best sounds, aren't even close to being "sexy" in any way, are also mowhere near a smart buy or good value, and just... General obsolete-at-birth trash. Yes, ppl buy them, they also buy sex dolls made from carcinogens that cost more than a sports car, so, sales prove nothing. Also the equivalent/slightly cheaper Tesla or Porsche destroys everything bmw has made since 2010, even in design. So sad to see such a grand heritage flushed down the "because it sells" toilet. Also sad to see many remarks relating such german trends to what should be related with legendary racers or at least the "millionaire specials" that are basically the only other way (yeah, we know Mclaren too) to get into strong carbon tubs to experience low level flight and the highest G's.


If only Alfa had made a manual shift an option, it might have lived on...


I like cars like this. The new Alpine springs to mind too. Midship runabouts that can do it all. Toyota ought to reignite the MR2 using the GR Yaris' engine. . .


Alfa Romeo is a brand I've never been a FAN of; but I keep sating that they've been, and they are, the most beautifully drawn cars. They've got art in their design, like no other brand.
BUT... What the hell were they thinking with these steering wheels? Dear Lord.


The Red Framework and the Black Carbon Fibre looks so damn Good!


People are judged by their past reputation / behavior / demeanor and so are cars so you can understand why some previous Alfa owners have deserted the brand.


never met an alfa owner that actually got disillusioned with the brand. Always just people who never drove one