By Christopher A. Sawyer
This week’s announcement that Fiat would sell the Alfa 4C in the U.S. later this year comes as no surprise. This, after all, is the car on which company CEO Sergio Marchionne is pinning the global relaunch of the Alfa Romeo marque; one that recently has been seen running around southeastern Michigan in various stages of disguise. And while many have compared Alfa’s new sports car to the Lotus Elise and Evora, saying the car fits very neatly between the two in size, it is probably closer to the latest V6-powered Exige in terms of size and performance.
However, the middleweight Lotus only wishes it had a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and bodywork. KTM’s aggressively ugly X-Bow track day car has one, as does McLaren’s stunning MP4-12C, but currently there aren’t many examples of this technology in production, and very few are affordable. Nevertheless, the Maserati-built Alfa 4C (which will be produced in Maserati’s Modena factory) is to be manufactured at a rate of 2,500 per year, with 1,000 cars going to North America, 1,000 to Europe and the rest parceled out to Alfa Romeo dealers around the world.
- Power comes from an all-aluminum version of the Giulietta’s 1750 turbocharged inline four, producing 237 hp.
- It has unique intake and exhaust systems, as well as an exhaust scavenging control system Alfa claims eliminates turbo lag.
- This MultiAir, direct-injection engine mates to the same six-speed dual-clutch transmission found on the Giulietta and its American cousin, the Dodge Dart.
- There are four drive modes: Dynamic, Natural, All Weather and Race, and the transmission can be used as an automatic or shifted sequentially via steering wheel-mounted paddles.
- Front and rear aluminum subframes attach to the carbon fiber central tub and carry the double wishbone/coil spring front and MacPherson strut independent rear suspensions.
- Parts of the central tub have been left naked and used as interior design highlights.
- Weight is estimated at 950 kg (2,094 lb), giving the 4C a weight to power ratio of 4 kg (8.8 lb) per horsepower.
- 0-60 mph should take a tick over 4.0 seconds.
- The 4C is approximately 157.5 in. long, 78.7 in. wide and 46.5 in. tall on a relatively long 94.5-in. wheelbase.
- Upper body surfacing and use of a flat bottom with rear diffuser give the car a negative coefficient of lift.