Official factory zero-to-100 km/h times put the Porsche GT4 and Alfa Romeo 4C Spider neck-and-neck at 4.4 seconds and 4.5 seconds respectively. And indeed, out on our test loop the two felt equally quick. But different. The Alfa powertrain delivers a more modern, high-tech experience with its low-down turbo shove and twin-clutch tranny banging off lighting shifts. In contrast, the Porsche GT4 is wonderfully old-school. The non-turbo flat-six that needs to sing for its supper, and the slick-shifting six-speed manual requires real human interaction. While the Alfa is down by 148 horses, its 212 kg weight advantage plus more low-end torque make up the difference.
But in reality, this rare pair are like chalk and cheese. The Alfa 4C Spider feels like it came out of the oven half-baked (just look at that afterthought radio), but its rawness and unfiltered Italian passione are what make this sexy carbon-fibre pipsqueak so alluring.
But in our hearts and minds the Porsche GT4 gets the decisive win. It is a polished, fully resolved high-performance weapon with a quality interior and a pervading sense it will still run like this when your grandkids inherit it. Natural aspiration and a manual gearbox. What better car to carry the flame?
4 years/80,000 km; 4 years/80,000 km powertrain; 12 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/80,000 km roadside assistance
Pricing: 2016 Porsche Cayman GT4
Base price: $96,500
Optional equipment: full bucket seats $5,400; Porsche Communication Management (PCM) with navigation $3,390
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $1,085
Price as tested: $106,475
4 years/80,000 km; 4 years/80,000 km powertrain; 3 years/unlimited distance corrosion perforation; 4 years/80,000 km roadside assistance
Pricing: 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider
Base price: $78,495
Optional equipment: Giallo Prototypo $1,500; racing leather bucket seats with microfiber inserts $500; Convenience Group (cruise control, park sense, rear park assist) $1,100; carbon-fibre interior trim $2,000; Spider Track Package (carbon-fibre ext. mirrors, race-tuned suspension) $2,300; red car cover $400; bi-xenon headlights $1,000; 19×8.5 & 18×7 alloys $1,800; battery charger $150; yellow brake calipers $300; sport-tuned dual exhaust $500
A/C tax: $100
Destination charge: $2,495
Price as tested: $92,140