What would any car related blog be without any road trip experiences? Yeah, not really a proper petrolhead's blog. A good friend of mine and I planned a road trip, rather a mountain pass tour where we wanted to drive as many mountain roads as possible within a short amount of time. Our goal was to drive up every pass in the area of Engadin. A part of the Graubünden county located in eastern Switzerland. I'd like to mention in advance, that we nearly reached our intention by only missing the Julierpass. However, I hope you get inspired by reading about our route.
Thanks to a special deal we were able to rent an Alfa Romeo 4C for not that much money in the area of Zürich on Monday noon. I knew my friend Marco likes coffee. So I decided to head over to the Rare Street Cafe in Rapperswil for a short coffee & cake break. Our stop was intended to have a look at the Porsche 935 which was on display, too. So if you don't know the Rare Street Cafe. It is a location inspired by vintage motoring, casual chilling and enjoying great coffee. Anybody who drinks coffee loves their "caffeine drinks". It is probably one of the ultimate coffee shops beside the La Stanza in Zürich, where you can have the best coffee around lake Zürich. In addition to my orange juice I had a very delicious piece of freshly made and still slightly warm cherry pie. I was in heaven, honestly! Highly recommend their cakes and pies.
We probably spent around one hour in Rapperswil. Further on we drove up to Davos to take a few photos of the still pretty clean 4C before heading up the Flüelapass, one of my favorite mountain pass road I've ever driven so far. There wasn't any traffic on this late afternoon so we could enjoy the Flüelapass how we hoped to do. Greeted by some fog on top we continued to St. Moritz. Our final destination on day one.
Cresta Bob-Run Horse-Shoe in St. Moritz
Day number two was intended to be the crazy and tough one. Kicked off by having a private pool & spa area only for us before having breakfast. I really enjoyed the hot steam bath before heading off. The included breakfast at the Hotel Steffani (where we stayed) was very good. Actually a bit special because they don't have a buffet for self service. You're actually getting a menu paper to choose whatever you prefer. Noticeable is that the portions are pretty small. So you should order a few different ones to try several things. Which is a great idea and aimed to avoid food waste. And it actually works. You just need to wait quite some time for your beloved breakfast to be served. At least we had to, and the restaurant wasn't even half occupied. Something to improve. Otherwise we can recommend the Hotel Steffani in St. Moritz. It's actually not cheap, but expensive either. We paid 260 Swiss Francs for one night.
Back on the road we drove back to Zernez to conquer the Ofenpass (Passo Ova) and subsequently the Umbrailpass. The Umbrailpass is very narrow, tight and corners are unclear. We had to be very careful and concentrated because there were a lot of cyclists. Although there wasn't a lot of traffic, luckily. Sometimes it isn't even possible to cross another car in the woods on Umbrail. The road further on top was awesome. No-one around, clear and visible corners and enough space to have a proper go in the 4C. The single-clutch sequential gearbox shifted hard. Felt like a very raw racer. Honestly, it's very addictive.
We took a short break to have a proper breath fresh air before crossing the border to Italy and arriving on top of the Stelvio Pass for lunch. Our Schnitzel was delicious and surprisingly, not even that expensive as feared.
We took our obligatory Stelvio Pass memory shot and went down to the bottom to "Prad am Stilfserjoch" to hoon uphill, again to the top. The 4C performed flawlessly and without any issues. Temperatures stayed where they needed to be. The car didn't overheat. Only the brakes smelled a tiny bit down on the bottom. Once again we had perfect weather at the Stelvio. The view is breathtaking every time when I'm up there.
Back on top, we drove down to Bormio, then Livigno and straight to the Berninapass (Passo Bernina). A very scenic drive with so many unforgettable views. Back in St. Moritz we went to the olympic ski jumping hill where's a small restaurant located, called "Peppito's". After that we continued to La-Punt-Chamues where we took a left turn up the Albulapass (Via d'Alvra). The sun was about to set when we arrived on top. It was an amazing scenery. I personally loved the road on the Albulapass. Loads of different corners, twists, straights and views. Probably my favourite part of our tour. Even the drive down to Bergün and Thusis, our final destination on day two had a lot offer. I added a few photos to convince yourself:
From Thusis we took the backroad through the Viamalaschlucht (Viamala Valley). A sight to behold. Mighty mountains all over and a small river deep down in the valley. We continued our route after a short brake to head up the Splügenpass (Passo Spluga). Yet again a very twisty, narrow and tight mountain pass road. Classic Switzerland. We've seen more cows than humans up there.
We crossed the Italian border again down to Chiavenna. We made a turn to Bondo, back to Switzerland to enjoy the Malojapass (Passo Maloja). Straight back to St. Moritz, Zernez, Susch and up the Flüelapass again for our final stop to eat a late lunch during afternoon before heading back home.
About the Alfa Romeo 4C:
First impression probably was the small luggage space in the back behind the engine. It barely fits two not very big backpacks. Space behind the seats is very very limited, too. Only the driver's seat is adjustable. So if you aren't that tall, you might get some extra space for some bottles and a jacket. I already noticed the carbon monocoque while getting into the car. By the way it isn't that easy to get in and out. Needs a bit of practice. Although it's slightly better manageable than with a Lotus Elise or Exige. Otherwise the interior is packed with a lot of plastic. It looks very cheap. Maybe there's an option to bring the car to an upholstery to get rid of that. The steering wheel has great grip, feels familiar and looks good in my opinion. The back view is awful. I'm sure every 4C owner appreciates the park distance control. Keeping the theme by ranking around the car. It isn't equipped with power steering to safe some weight. Which actually makes sense because the empty weigh is less than one ton.
So the 4C is a true lightweight. And it definitely feels like a feather while driving. Thanks to the direct steering, less weight and 1.75 liter Turbo engine the car performs very well and accelerates fast as hell. Something i didn't expect at all. I knew it isn't slow but it totally blew my mind. The power is way enough. And there is the sound. Never heard anything louder equipped with a four cylinder engine and is actually street legal. The air suction and Turbo whistling is very entertaining as well. Close to be embarrassing sometimes. But it does make a lot of fun. Something different mentionable is the fuel consumption: As you can read we drove a lot of mountain roads and rarely on motorways. In advantage to the small engine we had an average consumption of 7-8 liter on 100km of driving distance. Which is awesome! I guess we used it like it was intended to be. I'm still unsure what I'd rather pick: Lotus or 4C. Probably go for the Lotus because the Alfa 4C wasn't available as a manual version.