Some cars give you a standard interior and then try to dress it up with overtones of sportiness by, say, adding carbonfibre pieces of trim here and there.

Alfa Romeo doesn’t have to do that with the 4C because where it puts carbonfibre on show is where the car naturally has it – in that trick chassis.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Because the cabin is bare carbonfibre, rather than bare metal, it feels much warmer and cosier than a Lotus

Instead, then, Alfa Romeo takes what would be a pretty bare interior and adds comforts to it. There are leather seats, although if you specify the yellow exterior, you also have to spend at least £1400 on these black leather chairs with contrasting yellow stitching, or £1780 if you want them partially microfibre covered.

A leather dashboard with contrasting stitching, meanwhile, is another £700. Alfa knows how to charge for options even on a car that doesn’t have many. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing: Porsche knows how to as well and that hasn’t done it any harm.

But if you are intrigued what the basic car gets as standard, well be prepared to be underwhelmed as it gets bi-xenon headlights, cupholders, air conditioning, Bluetooth and electric folding mirrors.

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The seats themselves are supportive enough around the back, but some of our testers found they weren’t low enough and were short in the squab, which is a pity because the driving position is otherwise slung nicely straight, with a central brake pedal that’s good for left or right-foot braking.

The steering wheel adjusts for both reach and rake across a broad range, but there’s another pity there: that it’s not rounder and that it has two spokes sited just where your hands would like to rest. It’s frustrating, because the fundamentals are there.

Material quality is fine, for the most part, and where it’s not, our testers tended not to mind. That the heater controls wouldn’t look out of place in a Fiat Panda means they don’t weigh very much, after all, and all of the switchgear feels a cut above that of the equivalent Lotus, although not the Porsche. The luggage bay is more Lotus than Porsche, too: there is one, at the rear, of 110 litres.

It was a hard job to hear what the stereo of early 4Cs had to offer, even if you could tempt one to tune to the radio station you wanted to listen to. The Spider comes with a much better system that not only finds radio stations but also has decent music player connectivity.

There’s Bluetooth, too, so you can hook a telephone to it, but if you’re doing any kind of speed, you and the person you’re talking to won’t hear a great deal of each other. There’s no sat-nav option, but if you want to plug one in, there’s a 12V socket on the centre console.

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