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In-depth reviews

Alfa Romeo 4C (2014-2019) review - Reliability and Safety

Relative simplicity should work in the 4C's favour, while a tough carbon tub provides reassurance too

Alfa has never had an outstanding reputation for durability, although its latest models have proved more durable than past eforts. The 4C is built by Maserati (which like Alfa Romeo is part of the Fiat Group) – although that's no guarantee that the coupe will be any more durable than the rest of the range.

On the plus side, the 4C’s 1.7-litre engine and TCT twin-clutch gearbox are developments of existing technology so they should be relatively trouble-free. It’s also a plus-point that this Alfa’s basic, almost track-focused spec means there’s little in the way of complicated electronic systems to go wrong.

• Alfa Romeo 4C v Porsche Cayman: video track battle

If you do run into trouble, the Alfa Romeo dealership network was ranked 16th out of 31 by Auto Express readers in the 2015 Driver Power Survey – a solid ‘mid-table’ finish.

The remarkably low kerbweight places less stress on things like brakes and tyres, and the racing car-style carbon-fibre body tub is a big plus for crash safety – although any damage to it will be difficult and costly to repair. In spite of the swoopy exotic looks, the moulded plastic body-panels should be tough and resilient too.

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Talking of crash safety, the Alfa 4C is sold in such low volumes that it hasn’t been independently tested by EuroNCAP – but the same caveat applies to the Porsche Cayman and most cars in the sector.

The Alfa’s safety features are relatively simple but include stability control, driver and passenger airbags and a tyre pressure monitoring system, and that carbon body tub should provide a high level of structural rigidity in the unfortunate event of an impact. 

Warranty

The Alfa 4C comes with a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty, which matches the cover on the Porsche Cayman. Lotus offers similar cover on the Elise, Exige and Evora

Servicing

If it was just down to oil and filter changes, the 4C’s servicing regime would be pretty cheap. The fly in the ointment is a requirement to inspect/check the torque settings of all the bolts holding the subframes and body to the car’s carbon tub. Alfa says it needs to be done at 12, 36 and 60 months – or 12,000, 36,000 or 60,000 miles - and the process will add several hundred pounds to the service bill.

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