Love them or hate them, Porsche absolutely nailed it with their #SportscarTogether campaign. It spoke to everything we love about iconic cars and how they bring people together.
Your eyes aren’t deceiving you. There are no toys from Stuttgart in these photos, but at least two of us are certainly aiming to get to that level. The owner of the brand new black Alfa 4C is quite comfortable where he is, thank you very much. Perhaps “content” is a more accurate word than “comfortable” when it comes to a 4C.
So, what have we here?
A Jap, a German and an Italian walk into a bar. Or drive through a mountain pass, as it were.
The Screamer is the Honda S2000. With one of the greatest engines of all time revving effortlessly to 9,000rpm and a truly spectacular manual gearbox, this car is all about the driving experience. This is a highly desirable 2005 model, which makes it an AP2 V1 with no traction control. The instrument cluster with a basic orange digital gauge looks like an old-school arcade game. It doesn’t have 12 different driving modes and 43 different suspension settings. Thank goodness for that.
With everything you need and nothing you don’t, the S2000 is unquestionably the purest sportscar here and certainly the most affordable. It’s also the slowest in a straight line, although this engine is 20 years old and we now live in a world where affordable sportscars are quicker than millenium Ferraris. Also, we care about mountain passes at Carbs and Coffee, not drag races.
This brings us neatly to the Beemer. The M235i manages the 0-100km/h sprint in under 5s which is serious sportscar (or millenium Ferrari) territory. The 2 Series is definitely one of the prettiest cars to come out of Bayerische Motoren Werke in recent times. Our view is that it does an excellent job of carrying the DNA of the BMW 2002 that we experienced.
The German’s best quality is that it is a civilized choice for a daily-driven sportscar. The turbocharged 6-cylinder engine has plenty of torque and offers exceptional value for money vs. far more expensive M cars. At a rather portly 1,455kgs kerb weight though, the M235i needs that power when going against featherweight sportscars.
The automatic box doesn’t give you the connectivity of the Honda, but shifts are slick and clutches do get tiresome in traffic. Steering feedback is also muted compared to the Honda, but good luck finding a modern sportscar that doesn’t have that issue.
The Alfa. It doesn’t even have power steering.
This 4C is brand new, so there aren’t any number plates yet to get in the way of the view. Alfa South Africa recently cleared out old stock of 4Cs at a price so good you’ll feel nauseous if we tell you. Let’s just say that you got severely hurt financially if you bought one at full asking price a year ago.
People refer to the 4C as a baby Ferrari, but they are being far too kind to the latest designs coming out of Maranello. Ferraris look like Corvettes these days, with muscle car lines and huge proportions. They are special, but they have lost their brand identity in our view.
No. The 4C is a baby Lamborghini. It’s pure motoring theater. Watching a black 4C in your rear-view mirror is enough to give you shivers. Trying to keep up with one as it hurls fire and brimstone out the optional Akrapovic exhaust is even more thrilling.
It should not be possible for a 1.75l engine to sound this ridiculously sexy.
The true magic of the 4C isn’t in the power-to-weight ratio, but rather in the torque-to-weight ratio. With 350 N.m of torque and a kerb weight of just 920kgs (far less than even the S2000), the force of acceleration has giggle-factor in abundance.
This particular 4C is used as a daily by the owner. That comes with serious compromises, not least of all because the car is too wide for a normal single garage. Well, you can drive it into one, but then you have to live in your car forever because the doors won’t open (possibly not the worst outcome).
A Veyron is 2m wide. A LaFerrari is 1,99m wide. The 4C fully embraces the world’s love of curvy girls with a 2,09m width. Good luck trying to park in a normal shopping centre, assuming you survived the speed bumps.
That’s why the 4C is the Dreamer. With a carbon monocoque chassis and a purchase price that is a fraction of Italian supercars, it’s a dream you just might be able to realistically achieve.
We took three completely different sportscars into the mountains and we loved all of them. The Screamer is the purest, the Beemer is the most sensible and the Dreamer is the most deliciously daft car you can buy at anything shy of a few million Rand.
Sportscar Together? Don’t mind if we do…