• 2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant

Just 15 units will hit U.S. shores and we can’t think Alfa could sell any more of these

LISTEN 08:15

Alfa Romeo showed up at the Chicago Auto Show with the 4C Spider Italia Edition. It’s the same 4C Alfa’s been selling in the U.S. for almost half a decade already, but the novelty is you can now have it in this nice Misano Blue Metallic paint job if you pay $5,000 more on top of the $1,595 destination tax.

The Alfa Romeo 4C was the second car Alfa Romeo brought Stateside after selling almost 100 of its wonderful 8C sports car in both coupe and roadster guise. The 4C is a much more compact version but, in true Alfa tradition, it looks really well and it drives well too. The issue is that the Italians haven’t really been all that interested in trying to refresh the car and, now, the 4C is a pretty but overpriced car that desperately needs a replacement worth of sharing the garage with the Stelvio Quadrifoglio and the Giulia Quadrifoglio.

Here in the U.S., you’ll only get the Italia Edition and not the Competizione as well

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820841

What you’re looking at is not a new car. If you remember, the folks back in Europe got to see it at last year’s Geneva Auto Show next to the dark gray Competizione. After 10 months of waiting, Alfa’s been kind enough to show us the U.S. version of the Italia Edition and tell us that, out of the 108-unit production run, only 15 will be shipped to North-America. And no Competizione models at all. Granted, a 4C Coupe with two dark gray stripes partially covered by the Alfa snake on the front lid isn’t what people have been waiting for from Alfa but I’m sure a few would’ve found a home.

Still, let’s see if those 10 months of waiting were worth it. First things first: what’s new? Well, in short, not much. There’s the paint which is the obvious thing plus some Piano black elements within the front splitter and the diffuser in the back as well as some logos inside and out that let other people know this is a special edition model. With that being said, considering how few of this have been sold in the U.S., you’d be forgiven for thinking any 4C is a special edition model.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820840

The 4C’s design has remained unchanged ever since it was introduced back in 2013. The Spider version followed for the 2015 model year after being previewed in prototype form at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show. Meanwhile, the American market started getting the 4C that same year, Alfa formally introducing its Lorenzo Ramaciotti-penned sports car at the New York International Auto Show.

Compared to the European version, the American 4C gained a bit of weight - 220 pounds to be precise - that mostly went into aluminum inserts to the carbon fiber chassis as well as extra bracing as per U.S. safety regulations.

Also, all U.S.-spec 4Cs have enclosed headlight units while the European models feature glassless headlamps on the Coupe model.

When Alfa decided to chop the roof off the 4C, it realized extra strengthening was necessary to cope with the loss of the fixed roof. As such, the Spider is 99 pounds heavier than the Coupe in European guise. The American version, due to already having extra bits to strengthen it up, only gained 22 pounds over the fixed-head version. In the end, the U.S. 4C Spider weighs just 2,487 pounds, 457 pounds less than a 718 Boxster with the manual gearbox fitted or 523 pounds less than the same Boxster but with a PDK automatic in place.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820706

The interesting thing I noticed while looking at images of the Italia Edition is that the example pictured in the press release features some extra scoops just before the rear wheel arches next to the Italia Edition logos that aren’t to be seen on the car displayed on Alfa’s own website. Those extra inlets are identical to the ones on the coupe which also has extra openings next to the headlights that don’t exist on the spider. Another interesting detail is the carbon fiber windshield frame and the black exterior rear-view mirrors which are blue on the car in the other official pictures.

Anyway, moving in the back, you’ll notice the 4Cs cheeky twin Akrapovic titanium central exhaust with dual mode function and carbon fiber cover.

The exhaust tips exit right through the central mesh of the blacked out rear diffuser.
2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820830

Inside, you’ll almost need a magnifying glass to spot the differences. There are, for the record, two: an aluminum dashboard insert with "4C Spider Italia" logo and a numbered plate on the center console letting you know which example you ended up with. Otherwise, the interior is entirely standard. You get the same oval steering wheel with Alcantara leather on top, the same carbon fiber door sills and, to match the blue paint of the body, you also get yellow stitching and yellow embroidered Alfa Romeo logos in the headrests.

.As always, the 4C is powered by a 1.7-liter, turbocharged, inline-four engine that develops 237 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 and 3,750 rpm.

Since it’s so light - the tub only weighs 143 pounds and, together with the front and rear subframes, the whole chassis tips the scales at 236 pounds in European specification - the 4C Spider reaches 62 mph from a standstill in just 4.5 seconds on the way to a top speed of 160 mph. Quattroruote magazine actually managed a 0 to 62 mph time of 4.2 seconds in a European coupe set in race mode.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820843

The Alfa is, even without the race mode start (with both flappy paddles of the six-speed dual-clutch transmission pulled to rev the engine up to 6,000 rpm before launch), faster than a 718 Boxster with the Sport Chrono Package and the PDK gearbox with the German car taking 4.5 seconds to reach 60 mph, not 62. The manual version takes 4.9 seconds to reach 60 mph with or without the Sport Chrono Package in place. However, the Porsche has a higher top speed of 170 mph. That’s because its mid-mounted turbocharged boxer four-cylinder has 300 ponies and 280 pound-feet of torque.

Talking suspension, the 4C features double wishbone suspensions at the front and MacPherson struts at the rear. Brakes are supplied by Brembo with 12-inch discs up front and 11.5-inch discs in the back. The 4C has been praised for its agile handling and sharp steering (sans power steering). In spite of all this, it’s hard to justify the 4C’s price. Even without the $5,000 premium that comes with the Italia Edition, a Spider will set you back $68,495 (destination tax included). That’s already $9,500 more than a manual 718 Boxster and $6,300 more than the automatic version.

Obviously, Porsche charges a lot for every optional extra, that’s no news, but the Italia Edition is still a rather expensive sports car at $73,495. The new Lotus Elise isn’t here yet but, in the U.K., a Sport 220 with 217 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque costs the equivalent of $51,662. Back in 2011, the last year when the Elise was officially sold in the U.S., it cost between $50,000 and $55,000.

2020 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Italia is a final attempt from Alfa to stay relevant
- image 820845
Of course, the Italia Edition has exclusivity on its side with that 15-unit U.S. allocation but it's still hard to choose if over the roomier Porsche unless you want the prettier car and then you'd go for the Alfa.

Looking at the numbers, though, few people have. Alfa selling only 238 4Cs in 2018 and a total of just 1,890 since the model was introduced. By comparison, over 5,200 Boxsters were sold in 2018 alone...

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider - drivetrain specifications

Engine 1,742 CC, Turbocharged 4-Cylinder
Engine (Horsepower @ RPM) 237 HP @ 6,000 RPM
Engine Torque (Pound-Feet @ RPM) 258 @ 2,100 - 3,750 RPM
Transmission Dual Dry Clutch Six-Speed Automatic
Acceleration (0-62 MPH) 4.5 Seconds
Top Speed 160 MPH

Further reading

2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider High Resolution Exterior
- image 610345

Read our full review on the 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupé Competizione Exterior
- image 772896

Read our full review on the 2018 Alfa Romeo 4C Competizione

2014 Alfa Romeo 4C High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
- image 556834

Read our full review on the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C.

Michael Fira
Michael Fira
Associate Editor and Motorsport Expert - fira@topspeed.com
Mihai Fira started out writing about long-distance racing like the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans. As the years went by, his area of interest grew wider and wider and he ever branched beyond the usual confines of an automotive writer. However, his heart is still close to anything car-related and he's most at home retelling the story of some long-since-forgotten moment from the history of auto racing. He'll also take time to explain why the cars of the '60s and '70s are more fascinating than anything on the road today.  Read full bio
About the author

Related Articles

As FCA Skins Alfa Romeo to the Bones, The 4C Is the First to be Discontinued

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: