Lightweight, exotic, and rare. These are characteristics that describe two strikingly similar, yet very different cars. The Alfa Romeo 4C and Lotus Elise have long been accepted as direct competitors for one another, after all, these cars have little in common with almost any other car on the street. But how similar is the 4C and the Elise?
Styling and Design
Side by side, these two cars are equivalent in size, which may not sound like a big deal, but these cars are both about the size of a luxurious go-kart. In fact, each car is only about 47 inches tall, making them just slightly taller than an average American 4th grader.
One of the biggest difference between the cars is their styling. The Lotus, on one hand, has cool, sleek lines that follow the body back from a front bumper that always looks like it’s happy to see you. The Elise’s friendly demeanor pairs with aerodynamic lines and a sporty, futuristic rear bumper.
The 4C, on the other hand, has a less aggressive, almost bug-like styling. To some, the oversized and bulbous features of the car are striking and disturbing. The iconic Alfa Romeo front end seems to be exaggerated and stretched awkwardly to cover the small face of the car, while the taillights are humorously large in proportion. The 4C has a look entirely unique, and an average person may not even recognize one if they saw it driving down the interstate.
Power and Handling
These lightweight cars were designed with power and handling in mind. The Lotus Elise models, weighing around 2,041lbs, master corners and take turns unlike any other car. While the 1.8L 4-cylinder motor only boasts up to 217hp, the car’s power to weight ratio makes it handle like a true autocross champion. We may not recommend daily driving a Lotus Elise because it’s stiff suspension and lack of comfort, but it is still a fantastic addition to any garage.
The Alfa Romeo 4C has a similar 1.7L 4-cylinder motor but offers 237hp. Although the car has slightly more horsepower, it also weighs slightly more. Weighing in at 2,487lbs, this almost all-carbon-fiber tub and body is almost as light as the Elise. There is one major difference with the 4C that is seen as a downside by many drivers of cars in this class: the 4C is only offered with an automatic transmission. Regardless of the lack of manual options, the car’s snappy steering and shifting still make this little Alfa Romeo feel like a true driver’s car