2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Ė Better Than the Lotus Elise? - Alfa Romeo 4C Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 04:09 PM Thread Starter
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2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Ė Better Than the Lotus Elise?

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Ė Better Than the Lotus Elise?

Similar yet different.
By: Chris Nelson | Photography by: Sandon VoelkerApril 13, 2016



Youíre not actually going to decide between an Alfa Romeo 4C and a Lotus Elise, are you? Thatíd be like deciding between The Beatles and the Rolling Stones, puppies and kittens, or pizza and pasta.Ē The Stones, puppies, and pastaóyep, Iím picking one. Both the Alfa Romeo 4C and dearly departed (from our shores, at least) Lotus Elise are niche automobiles that appeal to select individuals in very particular ways, so there will be certain decisions made here that some wonít agree with, and thatís OK. This comparison is extremely subjective, but I will say that Iíve had a fair amount of experience with both cars on the road and at the track. Most recently, I invited Toni Avery from GirlsDriveFastToo.com and her 2005 Lotus Elise to join me and our Four Seasons 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C on Californiaís Angeles Crest Highway for an early morning, midweek drive, spending some intimate time with both cars before laying down these verdicts.



Exterior: The Lotus Elise has a better exterior. There isnít a bit of body fat on the Elise. While the Alfa Romeo is more exotic, it looks bulbous sitting next to the thin, sucked-in Lotus.

Interior: The Lotus Elise has a better interior. I love the 4Cís exposed carbon-fiber tub, but the Eliseís cabin has a much cleaner and straightforward design. Who needs digital TFT displays anyway?

Ergonomics: The Alfa Romeo 4C has better ergonomics. The Eliseís interior may be prettier, but itís more difficult to interact with. The pieces of the 4Cís interior are more logically placed.

Infotainment: The Lotus Elise has better infotainment. The two cars have similarly crappy Alpine head units, but seeing as the Lotus is a decade older than the Alfa, advantage goes to the Elise.

Ingress/egress: The Alfa Romeo 4C is easier to get in and out of. Itís near impossible to enter or exit either vehicle gracefully, but at least you have a shot at doing so in the 4C. No dice in the Elise.

Visibility: The Alfa Romeo 4C has better visibility. The Eliseís roof impedes on the top of the windshield, and the Lotus somehow manages to have bigger blind spots than the 4C does.

Safety: The Alfa Romeo 4C seems safer. While the Lotus Elise does have a sweet, floor-mounted fire extinguisher, the Alfa Romeo has front and side air bags.

Top removal: The Alfa Romeo 4Cís fabric top is easier to remove. In the 4C, you release four clips, unscrew two metal pins, roll up the top, and stuff it in the trunk. Removing the Eliseís fabric top (not shown) is similar, but there are two, unfixed metal crossbars that can be pains in the ass.

Cargo space: The Lotus Elise has more cargo space: a cavernous 4.1 cubic feet to the 4Cís 3.7 cubic feet.

Ride comfort: The Alfa Romeo 4C has a more comfortable ride. Neither car is cushy, but the 4C is the one Iíd drive across the country.

Handling: The Alfa Romeo 4C has better handling. The Lotus is very light, tossable, and agile, but the 4C feels pasted to the pavement and inspires confidence in ways the Elise does not.

Engine: The Alfa Romeo 4C has a better engine. Nothing makes you appreciate a gruff little turbo-four from Fiat more than a wheezy, naturally aspirated four-cylinder from Toyota.

Transmission: The Lotus Elise has a better transmission. I donít despise that the 4C comes solely with a dual-clutch automatic, because itís pretty OK, but a manual transmission, like the Eliseís, will always be better, bar none.

Weight: The Lotus Elise is lighter. About 500 pounds lighter, which is seriously impressive when you consider the Alfa weighs only 2,470 pounds.

Power: The Alfa Romeo 4C has more power: 237 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque compared to Lotusí 190 hp and 138 lb-ft of torque. This means it has a better power-to-weight ratio. Oh, how turbochargers affect engines of similar displacement.

Performance: The Alfa Romeo 4C has better performance. Letís break down the numbers, shall we? In the 4C, you go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 11.1 seconds, turn the quarter mile in 12.8 seconds, and can pull .95 g on the skidpad. In the Elise, you go from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, 0 to 100 mph in 13.0 seconds, and turn the quarter mile in 13.3 seconds, but you can pull a full g on the skidpad.

Driver engagement: The Alfa Romeo 4C is more engaging. The emotional and physical sensations you experience in the 4C are more pronounced. Wherever you drive, however hard you drive, you walk away from the 4C feeling very fulfilled.

In my opinion, the Alfa Romeo 4C is better. Iím not saying I donít love the Elise, just like Iím not saying I donít love The Beatles, kittens, or pizza, because I do. I want to own and cherish both, but in my book, the Alfa Romeo 4C is the better-rounded, more desirable sports car.

Overview
Body style 2-door mid-engine rear-wheel-drive convertible
Accommodation 2-passenger
Construction Carbon-fiber monocoque w/aluminum front and rear cell structures
Base price (with dest.) $65,495
As tested $73,395
Powertrain
Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
Displacement 1.7 liters (106 cu in)
Power 237 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 258 lb-ft @ 2,200-4,250 rpm
Transmission 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
Drive Rear-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy 24/34/28 (city/hwy/combined)
Chassis
Steering Unassisted
Lock-to-lock 2.7 turns
Turning circle 40.5 ft
Suspension, Front Control arms, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Strut-type, coil springs
Brakes F/R Vented discs
Wheels 17- and 18-inch aluminum
Tires Pirelli P Zero
Tire size 205/45R-17 88Y, 235/40R-18 95Y
Measurements
Headroom 38.0 in
Legroom 42.7 in
Shoulder room 49.8 in
Wheelbase 93.7 in
Track F/R 64.5/63.1 in
L x W x H 157.5 x 73.5 x 46.6 in
Cargo capacity 3.7 cu ft
Weight 2487 lb
Weight dist. F/R 41/59%
Fuel capacity 10.6 gal
Est. fuel range 300 miles
Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)
Equipment
Standard Equipment
Sheet molding compound composite body panels
Anodized rear skid plate
Variable intermittent single-blade windshield wiper
Removable and trunk-stowable soft-top roof
Halogen headlights
LED daytime running headlights and taillights
Air conditioning
Aluminum interior trim
Embroidered floor mats
USB port
Auxiliary audio jack
12-volt outlet
7-inch TFT display
Alpine radio w/ Bluetooth/CD/MP3/AUX connectivity
Lat-g, boost, and oil-pressure monitoring systems
4-speaker audio system
Remote keyless entry
Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
Black leather-trimmed bucket seats w/read stitching, carbon-fiber and fiberglass shells
Flat-bottom steering wheel w/paddle shifters
Dynamic, all-weather, natural, and race driving modes
Brembo front brakes w/4-piston gray calipers and drilled rotors
TRW rear brakes w/gray calipers and drilled rotors
Dual exhaust
Engine oil cooling system
Sport-tuned suspension
Launch control system
Hill-start assist
Options
Options For This Vehicle:
Convenience package- $1,800
Cruise control
Rear parking assist
Premium audio system
Alarm
Bi-xenon headlights- $1,000
Yellow (giallo prototipo) paint- $1,500
18- and 19-inch Dark gray aluminum wheels- $1,500
Racing exhaust- $500
Carbon fiber cluster bezel Ė $300
Yellow brake calipers-$500








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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 07:58 PM
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I think that he's full of shit.
But the pictures are nice.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 11:39 PM
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The Lotus has aged well but I'll take my 4C LE
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-17-2016, 11:59 PM
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Ive owned and loved both of these cars but C'mon. Better interior and exterior on the Lotus? A fire extinguisher counts towards safety factor? The 4C handles better than the Elise? The Lotus' infotainment, seriously? He should have driven both cars before he wrote the article.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 12:02 AM
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The Elise is better looking? Really?

What the author forgets is if the Elise came with the hand laid up CF Tub and it's additional stiffness and superior safety over the Lotus, the Elise's price would be $120,000
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 01:00 AM
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Nice article, pretty much in line with the way I feel about the two cars. We in Oz have acces to the new Elise S (supercharged) which is simply a jewel of a car in the flesh and to drive.
I was 98% on the way to buying a new Elise
S, the availability issue and the hoops to jump through that were put up by the local dealers/Alfa Oz were just a pain. On the day I was on my way to put a deposit on the Lotus, a 4C became available and here I am.

After some serious post purchase disadance, I'd be happy with either. We also have a deep history with Alfa's so I'm well aware of how useless the dealer network and the mediocre quality of the cars. But they are fun.
When the dealer asked if I've had an Alfa before? My answer was "yes, but I'm still prepared to buy another one".

Ten months and 15000kms later the Alfa is simply a hoot, that makes me look forward to each and every drive. But I do suspect that the Lotus would have the same effect.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 12:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Enzo View Post
When the dealer asked if I've had an Alfa before? My answer was "yes, but I'm still prepared to buy another one".
This is the quote of the day!

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 12:46 PM
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I think the Lotus Elise is a great case study for the Alfa 4C.

Exotic looks, great wt to power ratio, affordable.

Does anyone know how the Elise's have depreciated?

How much were they when new? Seem to be able to find them around for mid forties now.

If 16 is the last year for the coupe - then I suspect we will have a similar experience on the 4c.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 04-18-2016, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swift4cII View Post
I think the Lotus Elise is a great case study for the Alfa 4C.

Exotic looks, great wt to power ratio, affordable.

Does anyone know how the Elise's have depreciated?

How much were they when new? Seem to be able to find them around for mid forties now.

If 16 is the last year for the coupe - then I suspect we will have a similar experience on the 4c.
Interesting question...

2005 MSRP was $39,985.

2011 MSRP was $54,990 for the SC model

Production was as follows (from Lotus talk):



It would be pretty awesome if that was the trajectory our cars took. I don't know the current market for Elises terribly well but it seems like the early ones are still selling at around 70-80% of original MSRP 12 years later. I am hesitant to believe our cars will mirror that trajectory, even though we are at a far lower production number right now (I think about 900 sold so far in US). It would certainly be nice though, lol.

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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 05-25-2016, 09:01 PM
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I owned a Lotus Elise SC 60th Ann., yellow. What a wonderful car. I put a Larini exhaust on it and the sound was amazing. The SCs were extremely quick. I loved the car, but no way could it be a daily driver. I bought it used, and when it arrived on a transport truck, my wife was histerically laughing at me watching me trying to get in the car for the first time. I later developed a very specific technique for entering the car, but never quite mastered exiting it. I've only owed my 4C Spider (yellow again) for a few days now, but it is my daily driver, and getting in and out of it is not a big deal. As far as driving, I like the 4C much better. It is a rock solid machine. I also prefer the paddles over a manual. All that heel/toe action is a bit tough for me. Also, I disagree that the Lotus has better exterior and interior. The exoticness of the 4C and all the exposed carbon is heads and tails above the Lotus. I vote 4C on every metric!
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