2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Episode 3507
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

You may have thought the all-business 4C sports car was an odd choice for Alfa Romeo to spearhead its return to the U.S.  But, it clearly makes the point that performance will be paramount as Alfa goes forward here. And before the sedans and crossovers start trickling in, they’ve given us one more treat to sample, the 4C Spider. 

As we’ve already noted, the minimalist Alfa Romeo 4C is not for everyone. And chances are this 2015 4C Spider will also have limited appeal. But, those willing to take a chance on either, will be slipping into something special indeed.

In mid-engine drop-top roadster fashion, the Spider in the name refers to the removable roof panel. When you take it off, the resulting open air space above you may be minimal, but it only adds to the purely exhilarating experience of the 4C. 

Actually, the standard cloth top is the definition of minimal and rather flimsy. While removal is step intensive, it’s not difficult. Best option, just keep it off and the car parked in the garage on rainy days.Or go for the optional carbon fiber hardtop.

Top on or off, once underway, the Spider feels plenty solid and secure. It’s also surprisingly quiet with the top on. 

And no matter what is or isn’t keeping the rays off your dome, this car is still the only new car that delivers the “road rushing at you sensation” of 60’s era exotics.

It feels fast, but not struggling to keep it under control fast. Like most lightweight roadsters, it’s all about getting through corners quickly not necessarily making it to the next one in a hurry.

Keeping with the theme, the interior is equally unembellished, even resorting to a non-intuitive aftermarket Alpine which had no satellite radio, but did include Pandora. 

Seats offer just enough comfort and there’s plenty adequate room inside to operate. Our taller drivers had a hard time seeing all of the gauges; which is a shame as they are pretty darn cool. 

Oh yeah, there are things to nitpick, but barely, and in doing so you’re mostly missing the point of the car. There’s limited luggage space, though, unlike many convertibles, the top takes up very little of it.

While at just 1.7-liters of displacement, you might think the turbo power plant diminutive as well, but it has surprisingly more guts than the 237-horsepower number would indicate. And you’ll absolutely enjoy wringing all 258 lb-ft. of torque out of it. 

Same as the Coupe of course, as are the 6-speed twin-clutch transmission and DNA dynamics selector, which allows you to choose between All-Weather, Natural, Dynamic, and Race settings. There’s no doubt it gets up to speed in a hurry, not exactly in a high dollar exotic car kind of way; more of a snarly tiny terror as it hits 60 in 4.3-seconds, just as in the only 22 lbs. lighter Coupe. 

The gearbox shifts impeccably whether in manual or auto mode, and gear spacing is right on; with 3rd gear being the real workhorse. Despite an identical start, we managed to clear the ¼-mile a 10th quicker than the hard top at 12.9-seconds and 107 miles per hour.

When you keep the throttle pinned in this car, all of your senses are fully engaged; the noises that it makes are truly magnificent. Steering is still fully manual, and the car stays flat as the proverbial pancake. 

But that’s just the start of the overused clichés we’ll apply here… turns on a dime… handles like it’s on rails… feels like a go-kart… …pick your favorite. 

Brakes are perfect as well. Stops from 60 averaged just 90-feet, with super short pedal travel, good feel, and hardly any nose dive. 

Outside of the roof, nothing changes to the exterior design. It still has the ¾-scale “exotic Italian by way of Lotus” look that makes it a visual winner.

Standard staggered 17/18-inch wheels can be upgraded to 18/19’s; but keep in mind the performance tires can be a handful on wet roads, they also find every groove in the pavement. And since there’s a direct connection to the steering wheel, you’ll be clued in immediately. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are the same as in the hardtop, 24-City, 34-Highway, and 28-Combined. We managed a very good 32.7 miles-per-gallon of Premium. So the Energy Impact Score is better than average, with 11.8-barrels of annual oil consumption with 5.2-tons of CO2 emissions. 

If we didn’t already love the 4C enough, the Spider’s base pricing of $65,495 had us seriously contemplating refinancing our debt, finding a dealer, and putting some serious money down. 

Back to essence, not necessarily back to basics, is what the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Spider is all about. It is not minimalism for the sake of it. But, it is maximizing driving pleasure by encapsulating the spirit of the 60’s exotics in modern hardware. A winning formula that more people need to take advantage of.


  • Engine: 1.7 liter
  • Horsepower: 237
  • Torque: 258 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 4.3 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 12.9 seconds @ 107 mph
  • EPA: 24 mpg city/ 34 mpg highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr
2023 BMW X7 Driving

2023 BMW X7

Should Keep The BMW Faithful Coming Back For More

Episode 4238
Lucas Oil "Keep That Engine Alive"Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

While BMW got serious about their SUV game around the same time as most other luxury brands, it took them until just a few years ago to deliver a 3-row example. This year, that X7 is updated with new style and new tech. So, let’s see if that makes it the ultimate premium 3-row family machine.

When it comes to utility vehicles, bigger seems to be better for a lot of people. So, for BMW, there’s none bigger or better than the X7 3-row utility, which for 2023 gets a comprehensive update after just 4-years on the market. That includes a facelift to bring it more in line with the new 7-series carline, which is to say joins the more vertical, aggressive grille party. Also, the actual headlights have been moved lower in the front fascia, with squinty DRLs above for the first time on a BMW. In back, taillights take on a 3D posture, with a new chrome bar connecting them.

There are also multiple new M Sport packages to choose from to spice up the exterior, with larger air intakes up front, high-gloss black trim, upgraded exhaust, cascade grille lighting, and 22-inch wheels, as well as M Sport brakes…

…and the interior too, with aluminum trim and exclusive steering wheel. But, by far the biggest change inside for ‘23 is a new dashtop curved display that eliminates the typical BMW well-hooded gauge pod and blends 12-inch Live Cockpit Pro into the 15-inch infotainment touchscreen, which now features iDrive8. Both a Head-Up Display and a large panoramic sunroof are standard.

2023 BMW X7 Interior Dashboard

Whether set up for 2 or 3 passengers, 2nd row seat room remains plentiful, and though the X7 doesn’t look ungainly large like many of its competitors, access to the 3rd row is quite good. Cargo space is reached through a fairly unique, Range Rover-style, split tailgate, which is quite oddly satisfying to watch unfold. There’s room for 48.6 cubic-ft. of goods behind the 2nd row, with a max of 90.4 cu.-ft.

The base xDrive40i has always been the sensible choice, even more so now with a new inline-6 turbo getting a significant bump in horsepower from 335 to 375, and a 48-volt mild-hybrid system that results in a total of 398 lb-ft. of torque.

At our Mason Dixon test track, there was enough to blast this big beast to 60 in just 5.4-seconds. That’s only about half a second slower than the V8 did the deed back in 2019. Making that optional 523-horsepower V8 simply overkill at this point. Our best ¼-mile pass was 13.9-seconds at 100 miles-per-hour. All X7s get a quick shifting sport-tuned 8-speed automatic transmission, which adds a new Sprint Function that finds the lowest usable gear instantly and maxes electric boost with a hold of the left shift paddle. What fun!

New looks and updated tech are cool, but BMW has also addressed dynamics as well, with a retuning of all chassis systems, including the optional Dynamic Handling Package which adds adaptive suspension with roll stabilization and uses GPS and camera data to prepare for what’s coming. We’re not sure if our slalom course was anticipated, but the X7 sure felt well-equipped to handle it. All-wheel drive is standard on all X7s, along with comprehensive drive modes.

In our braking runs, the pads bit down hard quickly, stopping us from 60 in just 115-feet with very little nosedive.

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Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the 6-cylinder are 21-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged just 21.0 miles-per-gallon on Premium.

There’s an average Energy Impact Score; 13.5-barrels of oil yearly, with CO2 emissions of 6.5-tons.

Pricing starts at $78,845, and it’s a significant step up from there to $104,095 if you want the V8. Even more reason to stick with the 6-cylinder as far as we’re concerned.

It took the ultimate driving machine folks quite a bit of time to enter the 3-row family crossover segment, but when they did, they were able to create their largest utility ever and keep it consistent with their values. For 2023, the BMW X7 gets even more dynamic, embraces new tech, and looks better too. All things that should keep the BMW faithful coming back for more.


  • Engine: I-6
  • Horsepower: 375
  • 0-60 mph: 5.4 seconds
  • 60-0 Braking: 115 feet (avg)
  • MW Fuel Economy: 21.0 MPG
  • Transmission: 8-speed automatic
  • Torque: 398 lb-ft.
  • 1/4 Mile: 13.9-seconds at 100 mph
  • EPA: 21 City / 25 Highway / 22 Combined