Welcome Back, Alfa Romeo

It’s been too long, Italian carmaker.

The Italian company stopped serenading Americans two decades ago, but made a snarling reentry with the Alfa Romeo 4C. Weighing just 2,465 pounds, it’s stripped down and ready to wrestle, with a carbon-fiber chassis and manly tactile steering with no power assist. The overachieving 1.75-liter, 237-horse turbo four assaults eardrums and asphalt: topping 160 mph, squirting to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and generating 1.1 g’s of road-holding gumption. 

Nearly 15 inches shorter than the formidable Porsche, the Alfa shrieks like a pissed-off supermodel, and rushes just as impatiently past commoners in workaday Toyotas and Fords. A Racing Exhaust option eliminates a muffler entirely. Wide doorsills require a yoga stretch for entry. That heartwarmingly basic cabin puts its carbon fiber on naked display, angles the dash and Fiat parts-bin controls toward the driver, and ignores a passenger completely – there’s not even an armrest, only a leather door pull. No distracting electronic nannies or massaging seats. Only the task at hand, which you may recall: It’s called driving, and fast.

As with its spiritual predecessors, from the Lotus to the classic 1967 Alfa 33 Stradale, the 4C may not make sense to drivers gorged on horsepower and spoiled by luxury. But for a certain breed of driver – including America’s long-denied Alfisti who remember what sports cars used to be – the 4C will seem a blast from the past and the wave of Alfa’s future, all wrapped up in a pretty Italian bow. 

It’s good to have you back, Alfa. From $55,195.