Matthew Jones18 October 2013

Alfa Romeo 4C sets ‘Ring record

New Italian lightweight gets round the Nordschleife in 8 mins 4 secs

We did have a few small reservations about the long-awaited 4C from Alfa Romeo, but you can't fault these numbers - the small, lightweight 160mph supercar has just managed to get round James' favourite holiday destination in 8 minutes and 4 seconds.

That makes it the new Nurburgring lap record holder for production cars with less than 247bhp. It's also exactly the same time set by the Porsche Cayman S, a second quicker than the E92 BMW M3 and a full four seconds faster than a Renaultsport Megane 265 Trophy.

To help it around the "green hell", the Alfa did get a set of specially developed Pirelli P Zero Trofeo AR Racing tyres. But don't panic, you too will be able to spec your 4C with a set in either 17in (front)/18in (rear) or 18in (front)/19in (rear).

And it wasn't just the tyres. The 4C's new record (and, indeed, the car itself) is an attempt to demonstrate that small's the new big - remember, it's an exercise in downsizing lightweightery and packs a 1,750cc turbocharged four-pot petrol engine, which produces 240 bhp.

That's 268bhp per tonne, but has the pleasing side effect of emitting just 159g/km and returning a combined fuel economy average of 41.5mpg. By comparison, the Porsche Cayman chucks out 192g/km and averages 34.4mpg. So more record-breaking laps for your pound, too.

Want even more 4C - including Hammond's glowing first impressions? Then grab yourself a copy of the new Top Gear magazine, out now...

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