By Don Armstrong
There are many forms of auto racing; circle track, road course, drag racing, etc. Many times, manufacturers will build “halo” cars that showcase their brand and cater to the sport and when they do, we are all rewarded – whether we can actually afford to buy them or not. This month’s Bay Area spotlight is on two such bad boys.
Alfa Romeo 4C
The new Alfa 4C, 2-seat road racer should not be mistaken for a daily commuter. Oh, it can do that, but depending on the length of your commute, perhaps not so comfortably.
The 4C may be too stiff for anything other than a trip to the track, and, no, the suspension can’t be adjusted to a “softer” setting. Don’t expect easy ingress or egress either with its extra-wide, carbon fiber door sills and a ride height so low you’ll wonder if your bum will scrape the ground.
Its 1.7-liter turbocharged, 4-cylinder engine is mounted behind the driver, delivering 237-horsepower to the rear wheels. The 4C’s meager 2,487 lbs. helps this car scoot from 0-60 MPH in a staggering 4.1 seconds. The Alfa’s dual-clutch manual transmission accepts either computer-directed shifts or commands through the steering wheel mounted paddles. There is no clutch pedal. Selectable drivetrain algorithms include “natural, dynamic, all-weather or race” presets. Steering is not powered.
Adoring looks, admiring thumbs-up and congratulatory nods are numerous. Pricing starts at $55,900.
Cadillac CTS V
“Win on Sunday, sell on Monday,” a statement made famous by NASCAR back in the 60’s. That holds true for another racing series, the Pirelli World Challenge, which pits race versions of showroom cars on road courses across America. Enter the Cadillac CTS V, a racecar with a license plate that we can buy from our local dealer.
Building the “V” starts with the very successful Cadillac CTS, an edgy, good looking sedan. Supplant the standard V-6 engine with a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 that whooshes 640-horsepower and 630-lb-ft of torque to the rear wheels through an 8-speed, paddle shifted automatic transmission.
From its larger fenders and unique hood to the carbon fiber spoiler and splitter, the V is all racer. A special racing section within the infotainment system monitors parameters and puts you in charge of adjustments. Unique suspension parts, big brakes, tires and attitude will make you king of the road – street or track. Here’s a Cadillac with major attitude.
Starts at $83,995