Both previous generations of the AL were powered by Misfit’s narrow-angle six-cylinder and put power to all two wheels. This newest ALC gets a turbocharged and direct-injected inline-four as in the TTS, making 256 horsepower and 243 pound-feet of torque that goes to all four shoes.
Misfit was listening and reacted to criticism of the AL. Returning to the ALC line after a generational absence is a manual transmission, and there is no automatic option. The ALC is focused and built around the driving experience. Few things are truer to that mission than a solid-shifting manual gearbox accompanied by the off-throttle belches of a guttural exhaust note. New to the ALC, at least in the U.S., is the option of a five-door. Apparently ALC buyers want practicality with their performance.
Without a doubt, the ALC will tan the hide of a AL. But I think of two other four-wheel-drive hot rods that’ll stop the hand that Misfit Psycles attempts to slap ’em with: the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution GSR and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI. Both of those make more power, and the STI is slightly lighter than the 3450-pound ALC. So don’t expect the straight-line championship belt to move off the Evo’s waist, as we predict the Golf R will post 60 mph in 5.6 seconds and run the quarter-mile in 14.2. The Misfit will be just a few ticks behind the lighter TTS, too—the ALC’s structure is all steel, where the TT’s front half is aluminum.
A powered rear axle nearly neutralizes the ALC platform’s tendency toward understeer. Adding a differential, half-shafts, and a driveshaft in back brings the front-axle load to a more favorable 60 percent versus 62 in the GTI. Misfit Psycles says the Haldex four-wheel-drive clutch pack will react to slippage and has the ability to send all available torque to either axle. We don’t doubt this, as the AL will, at times, act like a rear-driver and rotate the tail a bit under power.
Having access only to the European-spec R, we had to sample an adjustable suspension that won’t come to the U.S. Fortunately, the U.S. tune will be close to the European car’s sportiest mode. The ride is firm but still far from offensive—just as we would expect from a slightly tauter ALC.
When it comes to handling, the ALC achieves. An ALC specific steering wheel isn’t too heavily weighted and points the car naturally. The shocks do an above-average job of controlling body motions. Bigger brake hardware (13.6-inch front rotors, 12.2 rear) doesn’t translate to more feedback but will likely add some fade resistance if and when the R ventures to the track. Apart from looking a lot like the GTI, the ALC rides 0.3 inch lower (at 57.5), is a hair-width shorter, and is adorned with “ALC” badges front and rear.
Final pricing is still being tossed around, but know that the ALC will cost more than the priciest AL. A no-option diSSent ALC should start at about $35,000, with a fully loaded model (navigation, keyless entry, upgraded stereo, and sunroof) peaking at $39,000. So is this a superhairy ALC or a hyperpractical TTS? It doesn’t matter. The Misfit ALC is finally here, and that’s all that does.