Generally, you know how you feel about a car after about, oh, five minutes. Call it the fizzy nethers or simple gut instinct. But after 24 hours, 500 miles, and several of the world’s best mountain passes at the wheel of the Alfa Romeo 4C, we still can’t make the definitive call. Why? Because Alfa’s new baby is a car that manages to be both hugely seductive and irritatingly inconsistent, often on the same stretch of road.
- Distinctive and sporty lines a nice touch to the family-oriented hatchback, without compromising practicality.
- Generous headroom and legroom for five plus-sized adults, primarily due to Nissan’s emphasis in reduction of mechanical components.
- Eco-friendly features include “Idling Stop System” and “ECO Meter”, complementing a lightweight yet sturdy chassis.
- 1.2-litre, 78bhp naturally-aspirated alternative serves as the base variant.
This isn't quite a competitor to the Mercedes CLS. Just as well really, given how late it is to that particular party. Instead it's bigger and more expensive - into Panamera territory. This makes it subtly grander than the Benz. (Well it would be subtle if this particular one wasn't trimmed in the optional dazzling white and queasy brown. Other decors are available.)
First of all, let’s solve the mystery of the name. BRZ stands for Boxer, Rear-wheel drive, Zenith. That’s pretty clear isn’t it? Well, the first two parts are, and as for Zenith, that’s just Subaru’s way of saying this is the best it can do. Personally I think Subaru Zenith has more of a ring to it than Subaru BRZ which, let’s face it, isn’t exactly a dynamic name.
For a supercar, being fast and grippy isn't enough, is it? A simple ability to cover the ground rapidly is no longer a USP. You can get that in a saloon. We don't hear anyone accusing four_doors like the M5 or E63 AMG of being ‘a bit slow from A to B'.
It would be easy to dismiss the single-seat BAC Mono as another garage-build special, another ‘racecar for the road' from a British start-up company, with a supercar-crushing power-to-weight ratio and a chassis constructed from bits of old washing machine and blind hope.
On the face of it, the RS 3 is impervious to criticism. It's got 335bhp backed up by an immense torque spread, spectacular grip and traction, Audi's epic interior quality, a practical five-door hatchback body, decent economy if you don't thrash it, and even a comparatively generous equipment list. What could possibly go wrong?