Alfa's featherweight 4C sports car gets some upgrades for 2016

With its carbon-fiber monocoque chassis, gorgeous styling, and emphasis on simplicity, the Alfa Romeo 4C is a love letter to car enthusiasts, and the feeling seems to be mutual. For 2016, the 4C gets a handful of upgrades that should increase its appeal even more.

Lacking even power steering, the 4C is pretty spartan by modern standards. This model year, Alfa will add in a few more creature comforts, including a standard Alpine premium audio system, lockable storage console for the 4C Coupe, and an upgraded alarm system for the convertible 4C Spider. There’s also a newly available Akravpovic titanium exhaust system, with two modes linked to the car’s four “DNA” programmable driving modes.

And while the 4C itself is already made from carbon fiber, Alfa is also giving owners more of an opportunity to show off the lightweight material. A new Carbon Fiber Trim Package for the hardtop and convertible adds carbon fiber to the interior vents, instrument cluster surround, and instrument panel and shift bezels. There’s a new two-tone interior option, with Tobacco leather seats and black trim available as well.

There are no mechanical changes to speak of, but the 4C is already doing pretty well in that department. The mid-mounted 1.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to the rear wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission. That gets the 4C from 0 to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 160 mph.

Of course, the 4C is as much about nimble handling as straight-line speed. Thanks to its carbon-fiber construction and relative lack of luxuries, the Alfa weighs just 2,465 pounds in coupe form, while the convertible adds 22 pounds. That allowed Alfa to fit the back-to-basics manual steering, which was intended to do away with any interference in feel from power assist.

The 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C is on sale now. It remains Alfa’s sole offering in the U.S., something that won’t change until the arrival of the BMW 3 Series-fighting Giulia sedan in the near future.

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