Alfa Romeo 4C coupe confirmed for the United States market

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 8, 2011

Alfa Romeo is preparing to sell a sporty coupe in the U.S. The model is likely to be offered at dealerships that are co-owned with Fiat. At the Geneva Auto Show, the Fiat Group subsidiary displayed a production-ready version of the 4C Coupe Concept with rear-wheel drive and a rear-mounted engine. To bring down the weight of the 4C to less than 1,800 pounds, it has been built with carbon fiber and aluminum.

Fiat dealerships in the U.S. have slowly started to sell the Fiat 500. The brand is planning to sell more 500 versions in the U.S., starting with a convertible later this year. Chrysler Group said that the Alfa franchise is likely to be paired with many Fiat dealerships.

The Alfa-Fiat partnership is seen to be a more profitable prospect, says Autonews. Chrysler seeks for most of its 130 Fiat dealerships to start operating by this fall. At the Geneva Show, Alfa CEO Harald Wester said that the 4C will be sold in the U.S. He didn’t say when sales in the U.S. will begin but he said that global production starts in late 2012.

This is also when CEO of Fiat and Chrysler Sergio Marchionne expects the Alfa vehicles to arrive in U.S. dealerships in significant volumes. In 2009, Alfa sold 84 Competizione coupes and 35 Spiders at Maserati dealerships in the U.S. These models, which are priced at about $300,000 each, are now out of production.

Alfa is planning to produce only 15,000 to 20,000 units of the 4C coupe in over five years, two sources said. An additional 5,000 to 10,000 units of a 4C roadster will be produced for Fiat's sporty Abarth subbrand.

Even with 2 bucket seats, what makes this car really unique compared to its competitors are the compact dimensions. It has a length of 4 meters, width at 2 meters, and height at 1.18 meters, with the wheelbase measuring barely 2.4 meters. These figures do not just highlight its agility but also underscore its supercar proportions. Designed by none other than Alfa Romeo Centro Stile, the development of the exterior of the 4C was started due to the need to improve not just the style but also the technical characteristics under aerodynamic and dynamic viewpoints.

As such, the style solution implemented was optimized in order to meet the main objective, which was to achieve top performance. To meet this goal, its surfaces were regarded as sculpture with the engineers and the designers working hand in hand in order to get all the possible aerodynamic solutions they can get.

This collaboration gave rise to a car that exhibits a pure sports style by combining beauty and technology, an important requirement that the Alfa Romeo expects from its sports car. For the brand, the form always comes first. Function follows. In addition, all structural elements were created in order to ensure maximum dynamic efficiency as well as to help create the needed downforce to provide maximum grip necessary when fast cornering.

Enveloping and flowing, its rear volume not just embraces but even encloses the heart of this vehicle which is the mechanics. Meanwhile the engine can be seen through its rear window. This is because of the marked musculature that was developed above its wheels, offering the rear portion the needed power and strength. This same rear musculature is what supports the structure of the round rear light clusters.

It supports as well the side air intakes that are needed to cool its intercooler and even has an air inlet for its engine intake. Starting with the energy-charged rear volume and the two air intakes on the side, it impacts the two long muscles in order to help the vehicle get dynamism and speed to its side. It also creates the needed volume for the front end in order to contain the headlights.

For the central part meanwhile, there are two robust ribs that go through the bonnet and outline the unique "V" which then comes to a natural conclusion surrounding the shield. This feature, when combined with the two intakes on the side, result in the well-known 'Trefoil', a distinct trait is observed in Alfa Romeo models.

When looking at the rear part, it is clear that what initially looks to be a feature about form actually has a function. Take for example the two lines along the number plate holder. In terms of aesthetics, they manage to create what appears to be two points of light that bring dynamism and movement to its rear volume. It is not limited to form as it has a function as well. In case of a rear impact, these two lines help protect the light cluster from the pendular weight.

The whole tail section, which is from the rear upper profile and down to the lower profile, is characterized by the large diffuser that comes with air outlets and aerodynamic spoiler. It has been subjected to a number of tests conducted on the wind tunnel in order to give the best aerodynamic performance.

Finally, there is the exterior color which can come in black, grey, white, and red. These color range shows the spirit of this car and the important personality that the Alfa demands. Still, extra attention was given to the technology used by introducing the three-layer colors. The well-known Competizione Red shows the spirit of the Alfa Romeo as it has the iridescence, shine, and depth needed to shape the volume of the car.

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