"Halo car" not dead yet.
Resurgent Italian carmaker Alfa Romeo appears to be on quite a roll. After the launches of both the Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV, as well as announcing a return to Formula 1 alongside Sauber, it seems that one of its odd-er lineup members will get a much-needed revision, rather than being axed altogether as many have long suspected.
Engineering boss Roberto Fedeli says that the 4C's lifespan has been lengthened slightly due to the company's entry into what's considered to be the most prestigious motorsports race in the world, as the 4C will stand as a testament to the company's performance focus.
"We are coming back to Formula 1, and so we need the 4C to be our halo car." - Roberto Fideli, Engineer, Alfa Romeo
The Alfa Romeo 4C might be a pretty little thing, but very few grew to love it as the coupe had "awkward" handling, ride, and steering qualities, or so says Autocar. As a result, Fedeli hinted that the 4C will receive revised suspension and steering, and perhaps even a new engine to keep it fighting-fit come 2019. It may also drop the manual gearbox in favour of an automatic, given the lack of demand that do-it-yourself options have received in recent years.
Further compounding the no-manual argument is Fideli's experience back when he was with Ferrari, working on the California roadster. Fideli shared that during the development phase, Maranello created a manual version of the California at the cost of some 10-million Euros, to only end up with 2 sales of the model with the gearbox. Needless to say, Alfa won’t be making the same mistake.
We wonder if the changes set to take place to the Alfa Romeo 4C for the 2019 model year will detract from the ‘purity’ and ‘pared back’ driving experience that Alfa claimed the 4C offered back when it first arrived. If they manage to retain that connected experience through into the refreshed car, and polish it up with the sort of niceties that would make it more liveable day-to-day, it’ll be a greater threat to cars like the Porsche Cayman and Alpine A110. Time will tell.