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30-Jul-2017 10:00

The remaining controls are grouped together on the tunnel console. The seats aren't so heavily bolstered that you can't move around, but are extremely supportive during hard cornering.

There's not much else to comment on, although the leather grab handles, clamped by beautifully machined alloy clasps, are worth a mention.

But when any system is this accurate and communicative, who cares?

The rest of the structure is aluminium, while the engine also plays its part.

There's "only" 240bhp from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine but thanks to only 895kg to haul it accelerates briskly and cleanly, already the smooth spread of torque indicating that this is going to be one quick car.

Peak torque of 258lb ft is available between 2,100 and 4,000rpm, and 80 per cent of that from only 1,800rpm, meaning that gear-changing is something you can do for fun much of the time.

I opted for the default setting for the initial road drive, saving the Dynamic mode for when we reached the hills.

Despite its compact dimensions (less than 4m long, with a wheelbase of 2.38m) the 4C feels wide at first, but as the speed rises it shrinks around you and never feels less than agile.

The rest of the structure is aluminium, while the engine also plays its part.

There's "only" 240bhp from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine but thanks to only 895kg to haul it accelerates briskly and cleanly, already the smooth spread of torque indicating that this is going to be one quick car.

Peak torque of 258lb ft is available between 2,100 and 4,000rpm, and 80 per cent of that from only 1,800rpm, meaning that gear-changing is something you can do for fun much of the time.

I opted for the default setting for the initial road drive, saving the Dynamic mode for when we reached the hills.

Despite its compact dimensions (less than 4m long, with a wheelbase of 2.38m) the 4C feels wide at first, but as the speed rises it shrinks around you and never feels less than agile.

Turn the conventional key – no pointless separate starter buttons here – and the engine burbles to life behind your head with a volume of mechanical chatter you rarely get in modern cars.