Alfa Romeo Releases 4C Info Before Geneva Debut, Will Mark Alfa’s True Return to US
Just weeks before the Alfa Romeo 4C’s official debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, Fiat has released new details regarding the mid-engined two seat sports car that will mark Alfa’s full-fledged return to the United States. Although the 8C Competizione supercar was sold here in limited quantities, the 4C represents Alfa’s true commitment to bringing the brand back stateside after the 164 sedan stopped being sold in the US 18 years ago. The gorgeous coupe takes its name from the all-aluminum turbocharged 1.8L 4-cylinder under the hood; it is a name that also hearkens back to the 8C and 6C race and road cars from the 1930s and 40s.
Like the 8C Competizione, the 4C will use carbon fiber extensively, but unlike the Competizione, the entire chassis of the 4C will be constructed of the expensive but lightweight material. In addition to keeping off the pounds, the car is small at less than 13 feet long, or roughly a foot shorter than a Scion FR-S. Power and weight figures are unknown for now, but Alfa has confirmed that the power to weight ratio will be roughly 8.8lbs/hp, slightly more than a Lotus Exige 240.
Paired to the new engine will be a six-speed dual-clutch auto, although a manual with the same number of gears is rumored. Similar to Ferrari’s manettino dial that alters traction control and suspension settings, the 4C will ship with a “DNA selector” that allows drivers to choose between Dynamic, Natural, All Weather, and Race modes. Altering the way the car reacts to the road and driver inputs will be a significant part of the 4C experience, so drivers can choose between varying degrees of relaxed cruising and extralegal motoring.
The exterior has an “8C Competizione lite” feel, which means that it looks very good, although the effect of stuffing all those design elements onto a much smaller car make it look like when somebody tries to make a Ferrari 355 out of a Pontiac Fiero. It’s still a cool little car, it just looks a little…off. The thin A-pillars help offset the very thick B-pillars that will likely hamper rearward visibility. A top-down view shows the 4c’s tear-drop cockpit shape, and the effect, especially around the curved glass, is reminiscent of the Corvette C2.
Pricing has not yet been announced, but look for more details as the 4C nears production later this year.