One of the most exciting aspects of the sexy new Alfa Romeo 4C is that it has delightfully old-school unassisted steering. But for months, I've had a sneaking suspicion that this would change when the car came to America. Now, at the car's American debut at the New York Auto Show, I can confirm my fears were unfounded.
Yes, the U.S.-spec Alfa 4C will have manual steering. That's awesome. To my knowledge, it will be the only car in our market besides the Smart Fortwo (where power steering is an option) to go unassisted.
I had this creeping sense of dread that Fiat-Chrysler would water down the 4C with power steering in order to make the car more palatable to American buyers, many of whom in 2014 have probably never driven a car with manual steering. After all, how many European sports cars lose horsepower or other exclusive features when they come stateside? It happens.
But a Chrysler spokesman — the same one who kindly let me pretend to faceplant out of his car — confirmed that it's gonna be manual here. And I'm glad to hear it. In this era of numb electric steering racks, the manual system in the 4C should be quite refreshing.
The mid-engined 4C heralds the return of Alfa Romeo to the U.S. after nearly 20 years and a number of false starts. In addition to its unfathomably sexy looks, its 1.75-liter turbo four puts out 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque in a package that weighs just around 2,400 pounds.
I'm jazzed about the 4C. I think it's one of the more exciting sports cars to come to market in a long time, and I look forward to offering up my firstborn child and/or one of Travis' kidneys in exchange for the chance to drive one.