Alfa Romeo sees 4C as ideal model for its re-launch in North America

Article by Anita Panait, on March 8, 2013

Alfa Romeo chief executive Harald Wester, speaking during the unveiling of the two-seat 4C at the Geneva Auto Show, sees the rear-drive small sports coupe as the ideal model for the carmaker’s re-launch in North America. Alfa Romeo expects the 4C to provide it with a much-needed image boost and to signal its return to the U.S. market, which it left in 1995.

According to the carmaker, 4C could provide up to 240 hp from its 1.75-liter turbocharged direct-injection gasoline engine. Enthusiasts have been waiting for Alfa Romeo to roll out an affordable rear-drive model since the Duetto Spider, which was discontinued in 1994. Alfa Romeo said that the EUR60,000 ($78,200) price of the 4C in Europe is for a special "launch edition." According to the carmaker, it will sell the 4C in dealerships at a lower price. Alfa Romeo will commence selling the 4C in Europe in September.

Wester said that Alfa Romeo will launch the 4C in the United States after the Los Angeles auto show. Alfa initially planned to price the 4C below EUR50,000. There are speculations that the 4C would be priced between $60,000 and $80,000 in the U.S., where German two-door premium models are all cheaper. Rival models like the Audi A5, BMW 329i, Mercedes-Benz C350 and Porsche Cayman all have starting prices of between $39,000 and $44,000. If you buy this car you will definitely need a new garage door, so head over to Garaga.

The Alfa Romeo 4C retains the styling of the concept vehicle that received acclaim at the Geneva auto show in 2011. The 4C is a very compact coupe featuring an extremely low ground clearance and a weight of just 895kg. It will be available with a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission. The 4C is the first model to be rolled out under the plan of Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne to turn around the unprofitable Alfa brand. In October 2012, Marchionne disclosed targets to triple Alfa Romeo’s sales to 300,000 units annually by 2016, boosted through eight new product launches and by U.S. sales.

Due to the compact dimensions of the 4C, it results in this model being distinct especially when compared to its rivals. Specifically, this 2-bucket seat model has overall length measuring 400 cm with total width of 200 cm and a height at 118 cm. Wheelbase on the other hand does not exceed 240 cm. These dimensions not only highlight the “supercar proportions” of this model but also put focus on the agility it offers.

Regarding the exterior, it was designed by Alfa Romeo Centro Stile with the goal of making sure that even from the beginning, it was important to improve how the car was styled and that of the technical qualities. Further, it has to be done not only from the point of view of aerodynamics but for dynamism as well. Because of this, all of the style solutions used have been optimized to make sure that it meets the final goal which is performance. In order to make this happen, it was important that surfaces needed to be handled as sculptures.

Further, the engineering team worked with the design team to come out with all the possible advanced aerodynamic solutions from it. This collaboration also made sure that the new model would be able to show a pure sports style made possible by having technology mixed in with beauty. Not surprising as this is what Alfa Romeo expects from its sports car, that is, form will always be first before function. Meanwhile, the brand made sure that each structural component was developed to allow for maximum dynamic efficiency.

This also results in having the necessary downforce in order to have maximum grip needed when cornering. In addition, the rear volume is enveloping and sinuous and is able to embrace and enclose what matters most for this model. This is the engine and the mechanics, both can be seen when looking at the rear window. Also, helping make it possible is the marked musculature that is positioned on top of the wheels and helps the rear section get that power and strength.

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