It was wet when we conducted the performance figures for the 4C Spider, so even though it has launch control with a sensitive traction control system, it wasn’t going to get near its claimed 0-62mph time of 4.5sec, let alone the 4.1sec that an Exige needs in order to hit 60mph.

Still, given the conditions, the 5.1sec that it took to reach 60mph is a tidy result and not far behind a Boxster S’s 4.7sec (set in the dry).

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Weight distribution on our scales saw the Alfa Romeo 4C weigh in 40% at the front and 60% at the rear

To give you a better idea of how strong the 4C’s performance actually is, from 30mph to 70mph it makes up quite a lot of both deficits, at 4.0sec versus the Lotus’s 3.7sec and the Porsche’s 4.2sec.

It’s worth noting, though, that because it has four cylinders and a turbocharger, it performs the above with slightly less aural intensity than either of the other two cars. It blows and whooshes and boosts, whereas the other two fizz and crackle – or at least they did, until the turbocharged Boxster came along.

The Alfa’s throttle response, then, can’t quite match that of rivals that don’t have to wait for a turbo to spool up, which is about as surprising as waking up at night to find that it’s dark, given that it manages to produce 237bhp from only 1.75 litres.

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Peak torque comes in at 1700rpm – and at 258lb ft, there’s plenty of it – but if you’ve strayed that low in the rev range, the lag means you’re really going to have to wait for it.

Leave the gearbox in its automatic mode and you might well end up stuck down there, waiting. Not for no reason is the combined fuel consumption figure an impressive 40.9mpg. Left on its own, though, the gearbox chunters and stumbles a bit, so it’s much better to pick your own gears, in which case it’s responsive and puts a nice pop into upshifts.

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