We hardly need to flag up the biggest challenge for prospective 4C Spider buyers to face: the price.

At a whisker under £60k, it would seem to cost anywhere between 30 per cent and 50 per cent more than it ought, depending how much cachet you attach to its badge.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Porsche has set the residual bar high for Alfa Romeo, but the 4C won’t fall that short of it

Limited supply and expensive carbonfibre construction will be Alfa Romeo’s justifications, and after so many lean years and disappointing driver’s cars, Alfa Romeo brand devotees may well let the firm off the hook for taking advantage of them.

But the 4C Spider’s ambitious price puts it in direct competition with cars considerably beyond it in terms of outright performance, dynamic sophistication, usability and breadth of ability – and that, for us, makes it hard to recommend objectively.

That’s a terrible shame, because if it were as accessible as a high-end Lotus Elise, it’d be a real eye-opener. Instead, as a rival to the outstanding Boxster Spyder, it’s an also-ran.

For what it’s worth, our sources suggest that the car’s residual values will be commendable, and its real-world fuel economy – capable of surpassing 40mpg at a moderate cruise – should be likewise.

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Alfa Romeo could have been more generous with standard kit by way of sugaring the pill, but the 4C wears sparseness and simplicity well. If it were ours, we’d keep our order pared to the necessities, including any features likely to improve resale value, such as leather bucket seats and special paint.

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