I think the Alfa Romeo 4C is very possibly the best sports car you can buy right now. That’s not because of what it can do — it’s more because of what it doesn’t do.

The 4C is a salute to everything that made the world fall in love with sports cars in the first place: noise, style, speed, handling, purity of experience. Not heated seats, or a fancy infotainment system, or a satellite radio, or all the other things that from luxury cars that have bled into sports cars. “For $65,000, I better get a lot of stuff!”, some might say, as if “stuff” is what defines the value of a sporting car.

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There’s nothing wrong with wanting a car with a lot of features. I’d say most people do. But over at Petrolicious, Afshin Behnia acknowledges that the beauty of the 4C is that it is a car “whose singular purpose is pure driving pleasure.”

Afshin’s an Alfa guy. He gets it. He knows what these cars are supposed to be. That’s why I’m glad he and I are in agreement over the 4C and why it’s important in the marketplace:

There was a time when “sports car” meant a car designed for sport, that is, a car whose primary, and often singular purpose was the sport of driving. Carrying groceries or kids was secondary, and the idea of integrating a purpose-built receptacle for your beverage would have been laughed at.

Over the years the sports car has evolved, or more accurately, devolved, into a comically over-engineered, overweight, luxury status symbol whose list of design goals place things like iPhone connectivity and multi-zone air conditioning systems above driving pleasure. Hence why so many of us have turned to vintage cars to get our excitement out of driving. How else are you going to feel connected with the road, the car, and the elements? Some of us still enjoy the sense of danger that comes with pushing a purely mechanical object to its limits and those of our own.

Is the 4C for everyone? Hell no. But it’s not supposed to be. That’s the entire point. You should read his whole story, it’s a good one.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.