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.

Product Review

Inside Maserati's Levante SUV beats the heart of a Ferrari

Maserati’s luxury SUV gets a shot in the arm by way of Ferrari-derived V8 power, but is it enough to go toe-to-toe with the established players in the high performance sport-utility segment? Let’s find out.
Cars

Pininfarina Battista is a 1,900-horsepower, 250-mph electric supercar

The Pininfarina Battista will be the first production car from famed Italian design firm Pininfarina. Named after company founder Battista Pininfarina, it has a claimed 1,900 horsepower and a $2.5 million price tag.
Product Review

The 2019 Porsche Macan S is a luxurious and quick SUV, but it's no road tripper

The roster of models challenging the Porsche Macan grows annually. The German firm updated its smallest, most affordable SUV with a new engine, more tech features, and subtle design tweaks to keep it looking fresh.
Product Review

Audi built an electric SUV for buyers who want gasoline-free to mean stress-free

We finally got to spend time behind the wheel of the electric 2019 Audi E-Tron bustling cities and arid desert of the United Arab Emirates to see how it compares with Jaguar and Tesla's competitors.
Cars

These winter-warrior cars will never leave you out in the cold

Snow can be an absolute pain if your vehicle isn't optimized to handle that sort of terrain. If brutal snowstorms are an annual part of your life, we recommend you pick up one of these winter-ready vehicles.
Cars

2020 Toyota Supra caught hiding in a trailer without a shred of camouflage

Toyota's plan to once again lure enthusiasts into showrooms involves bringing back the Supra, one of its most emblematic nameplates. Here's what we know so far about the upcoming coupe, which Toyota is developing jointly with BMW.
Cars

Driving a prototype 2020 Passat at Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground

Volkswagen’s Arizona Proving Ground is where new cars are tested to the breaking point, including the 2020 Passat midsize sedan. Ride along as the new Passat completes testing ahead of its 2019 launch.
Cars

NYC mandates minimum wage for Uber, Lyft, other app-based rideshare drivers

New York City's Taxi and Limousine Commission approved a rule that drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft must be paid at least minimum wage, even though they are independent contractors. The new pay rate includes operating costs.
Cars

LM Industries’ autonomous shuttles head to Phoenix, Sacramento campuses

LM Industries will deploy Olli low-speed autonomous shuttles at school campuses in Arizona and California as part of its ongoing "fleet challenge," which asks local groups to propose uses for autonomous vehicles.
Cars

Bosch’s CES-bound shuttle concept takes us on a trip to a not-too-distant future

Bosch envisions a future in which driverless shuttles occupy their own market segment. The German firm won't build the shuttles, but it wants to provide everything else, ranging from the drive system to the apps used to hail them.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Product Review

Boring takes a back seat as 2019 Corolla Hatchback mixes fun with practicality

We drive the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, the latest hatchback to bear the Corolla name. As the best-selling nameplate in automotive history, Toyota has high expectations to meet. This model mostly lives up to the legacy.
Cars

Hertz speeds up car rentals with biometric scan technology

Biometric security technology that uses face, fingerprint, and voice recognition is gaining traction, with Hertz emerging as the latest company to incorporate it into its daily operations.
Mobile

McLaren puts the pedal to the metal in special-edition OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is yet another flagship killer smartphone, bringing powerful specifications to a much lower price than the competition. Now, OnePlus has teamed up with McLaren for the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition.