9 February 2014

The new Alfa Romeo 4C has the right kind of credentials for a sports coupé, but can it really rival the indomitable and equivalently priced Porsche Cayman? Or how about the much cheaper, and less exotic, Toyota GT86?

Autocar's Steve Sutcliffe puts all three of the rear-wheel-drive coupés head-to-head on track, in order to find out which one's the best to drive.

Join the debate


17 January 2014
when it feels telepathy may be real. Just the cars I would like to see the Alpha 4C pitched at. Thanks again for bringing us a brilliant comparison video.

17 January 2014
l agree, a good comparison video. The conclusion??? Let's forget about the Jap thing; The video shows a Cayman rather wayward around the circuit, whereas the 4C sitting on its tail looked like a truly composed sportscar. Driving on a circuit is great fun... get the tail out etc.
However, most of us live in the real world, where we use our cars on public roads, and where you do not always have the space to let the "rump" hang out. Give me the Alfa any day.

18 January 2014
...and at last - one with relevant competitors. It was hilarious seeing the GT86 spending most of it's time on opposite lock, not sure the local plod would see the joke though.

Agree with Morty, the Cayman did look a bit lardy in some of the corners with the 4C just sitting behind looking totally relaxed. However, after driving a new 2.7 Cayman myself on the road, I have to say it was the sweetest handling thing I've ever layed my hands on. It went round a local roundabout like it was on the preverbial rails but left me with the distinct impression that it would be more at home revving it's guts out on a twisty B road or track. It's rather lacking in low end torque for anything other so if you feel the urge after watching this vid, I would most definitely go for the 'S'.

GT86 would bring out the hooded teenager in most people, but who wants to be tarred with that brush?

4C looks the part, but would need to drive one to see if the steering was up to the Caymans standards, the understeer might also be an issue. And the sports exhaust sounds too much like a Corsa boy's pride and joy for my liking.

18 January 2014
If you get the giggles when wagging the tail end of your car is fine,because you'll only ever do it there,on the Road you want to hit all the apexes,go round bends not losing grip,be in the right gear etc,i wouldn't buy a car just to thrash it round a track,costs in Tyres,fuel too.

18 January 2014
Agree with the earlier posts, this is a great comparison video with some excellent shots. Interesting that if you want to have fun you really only need to spend £25k (ok you can have fun for £1k but lets not start that debate). I wonder what the GT-86 would be like with a nice V6 under the bonnet and marginally wider tyres. I really love the sound of a 6 cylinder. As for the comment about the Cayman looking a little wayward, that maybe because Steve had more confidence to push it harder than the Alfa.

18 January 2014
No chance of lap-times I suppose? Seems strange to bring 3 performance cars on track and then not mention lap-times. I imagine the Alfa was fastest though so it wouldn't have fitted with the verdict. Anyway, at least I know not to buy a 4C if I need a drifting car.

18 January 2014
It's a nice vid with some impressive driving of the guy in the Toyota. And without the comment I would have loved it as entertainment.

But then the comment caught my attention and honestly, it seems like a stab at journalism but it makes no sense at all.

- Comparing a GT86 against a Cayman and 4C? Because it is fun? So is an original fiat 500, or a surfboard. Or oral sex. Perhaps you can mix those in your next vid?
(Did you know in Europe the GT86 sales are lower than that of the 4C? So perhaps not everyone is convinced it is fun - maybe it was not hyped enough ;-p )

- The 4C looks absolutely planted, ready to devour the others. Saying it understeers and the Porsche is much better and then showing an understeering Cayman...? Saying the 4C engine lags pickup and then showing a Cayman not really picking up out of a corner ...? Not sure what you are trying to prove here. The words seem very much at odds with the video.

- This was not UK roads, this was a track. Like the one in Italy. Where Autocar stated it would prefer a 4C over any Ferrari. And here Autocar states it would take a Cayman over a 4C. So you would take Cayman over a 458 Speciale? Well. Okay then. Tells us what we need to know ...about how seriously we should take your reviews.

- The conclusion kills it. The Cayman is the better car? For whom, average Joe? Really?
Where does average Joe stow his 2.4 children, the prams, the child seats. For who then, lovers of cheap-ish tail out fun? Obviously the Toyota is better, no? Or maybe for someone who just loves the craziness of an Italian car, they would pick a Cayman over a 4C you think?

All would have been understandable if it was presented as it was and then concluded what the reviewer's personal taste was, in stead of proclaiming what is "best". Printed media time is over, the web is 2.0 and people have their own opinion nowadays you know.

18 January 2014
There's no pleasing some people. It's clear, to me at least, that what's at issue is not the presence of understeer but the frequency and quantity. Also, when it comes to pickup, there is a difference between low down torque and throttle response. Web 2.0 gives us unlimited opportunity not only to have an opinion but also to give people unnecessary lectures on what constitutes fun, complete with puerile sexual references.

18 January 2014
Its funny how people can watch the same video, and come the completely opposite conclusion. To me its clear there are 2 winners here, the GT86, for fun and value, and the Cayman for its drivability, and completeness.

The Alfa looks out of place on the track, and lag and understeer would make it rather evil on a damp road too.

I would like to have seen an Exige included as well, its about the same price as the Alfa and Porsche, or an Elise to compete with the GT86 on the value front.

18 January 2014
What has me wondering is how a Cayman is 'more complete', what that means and how relevant it is to have a 'more complete' mid-engined sports car.
Can you go offroading with it? No. Can it swallow the kids and family holiday luggage? No. Can you park it like a Smart in town? No. Is it more frugal and comfy mile-munching than a eurobox diesel? No.
OK, back to typical sportscar stuff then. Is it spine-tingingly beautiful? No. Is it faster than a 4C? No. Errr.. so it is marginally more comfortable in the only niche where comfort is secundary. Well, deserved 'winner' then...


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review