In 2011, Alfa Romeo debuted an all-new sports car that it dubbed the 4C. Upon initial inspection, this beastly compact model looked to be more of a "future styling" concept, which means it will never see production. However, as time went on, Alfa Romeo decided to make the 4C a reality. Even better, Alfa Romeo plans to release the 4C in the U.S., making it the first U.S.-sold Alfa Romeo since the 2008 8C.
The 4C takes its name from Alfa Romeo’s storied racing tradition. The company first used the 8C and 6C names back in the 1930s and 1940s for both racing and road-going version. The 4C name is a clear indication that it has been inspired by the sports cars of yesteryear, like the 8C that it borrows the carbon fiber, aluminum and rear-wheel-drive configuration from.
Updated 02/25/2013: Alfa Romeo has just unveiled even more images, including one of the interior that it has kept so secretive. Looks to us to be a standard old interior.
UPDATE 05/09/13: Alfa Romeo has dropped a new batch of photos of the 4C sports car. And if it didn’t look awesome before, it certainly does now. Hop over to the gallery to check out the photos.
To read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C and how it may stack up against the competition, click past the jump.
The new Alfa Romeo 4C takes its design inspiration from the 33 Stradale, "a car that combined extreme mechanical and functional requirements with an essential style" — a tradition already started by the 8C and combines a compact size with dynamism and agility.
The hood features a pair of ridges that start near the upper edges of the triangular grille and shoot rearward as they widen out toward the sides of the 4C. When you reach the windshield, you encounter an elegantly rounded piece of glass that is graced by only a single wiper, helping the AR 4C save every last ounce.
As you swoop over the sleek roofline and down the shallow-raked rear glass, you come to a small rear lip that adds a little extra down-force to the rear end. On this back end, you get a pair of massive round taillights that look to feature LED lights. A rear diffuser graces the bottom of the rear end and the tailpipes pop out of each side of said diffuser to allow the engine to exhale.
The side profile of the 4C is simply amazing. You can imagine the air flowing over the sleek body. The humps created by the front and rear wheel wells just add to its beautiful styling. At the rear of the doors are the only break-ups in the entire body and those are the air-intake vent to help cool the high-strung engine in the rear of this compact sports car.
The entire body is made of carbon fiber, the crash boxes are made of aluminum, and the frame is a hybrid of steel and aluminum to keep its curb weight extremely low. In fact, Alfa Romeo has let us know that the 4C will tip the scales at less than 850 kg (1,873 pounds), with 60 percent of the weight over the rear axle. That’s a little too much of the weight shifted to the back end, but that is one of the tradeoffs for the mid-engine configuration.
|Body Construction|| Carbon Fiber |
|Chassis Construction|| Steel-Aluminum Frame w/ Aluminum Crash Boxes |
|Length|| 4 meters (157.48 inches) |
|Height|| 1,18 meters (46.45 inches) |
|Width|| 2 meters (78,74 inches) |
|Wheelbase|| 2.4 meters (94.48 inches) |
|Curb Weight|| Under 850 kg (1,873 lbs) |
|Weight Distribution (Front/Rear)|| 40 percent/60 percent |
For the interior, Alfa Romeo used lots of carbon fiber for the central cell, which has been left in full view to enhance the sense of uniqueness, of technology and light weight.
Newly released images show us that the 4C’s interior is pretty basic, which is a bit of a buzz kill. We see that it will carry thin racing seats to help keep weight as low as possible. For the most part, the interior is one massive sea of black, sans few splashes of red and aluminum here and there.
Overall, the interior looks to be pretty "blah." We’re hoping this is just a poorly put together computer generation and that the real interior will be a little sexier.
Engine and Drivetrain
Under the hood, Alfa Romeo installed a new four-cylinder 1,750 cc turbocharged engine, which features technologies like direct fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing and a revolutionary scavenging-control system. The engine has been combined with a specific intake and exhaust systems that offer the engine the best sound ever.
The engine hooks up to an innovative Alfa TCT automatic twin-dry-clutch transmission that ships power to the rear wheels. We wish there was an AWD option available, but there is no mention of that.
This driveline combination is enough to get the Alfa Romeo 4C to 100 km/h (62 mph) in less than 5 seconds and to a top speed of more than 250 km/h (155.34 mph).
We certainly expect the 4C to be fast, but not supercar fast. We anticipate it to hold its own against the likes of the Miata MX5 and the Lotus Evora.
|Engine|| 1,750 cc, Turbocharged 4-Cylinder |
|Engine Horsepower|| > 200 Horsepower |
|Engine Torque|| TBD (250 pound-feet [TopSpeed Est.]) |
| Transmission|| Twin-Clutch Automatic |
|Acceleration (0-100 km/h)|| < 5 Seconds |
|Top Speed|| > 250 km/h (155.34 mph ) |
Suspension and Braking
The 4C’s 850 kg (1,873-pound) curb weight keeps it agile, and its rear-biased weight distribution will give it just enough oversteer to keep things interesting as you navigate the twist. Those two details combined with a high-double-wishbone suspension up front and a McPherson setup in the rear will likely make the 4C handle like a sports car is supposed to.
There is no mention of the brakes, but at just 1,800 pounds, we don’t expect anything too advanced. We figure to see something in the area of four-piston calipers and 14-inch rotors on the front. The rear will likely feature 13.5-inch rotors and standard calipers.
Suspension and Braking Specifications:
|Front Suspension|| High-Double-Wishbone |
|Rear Suspension|| McPherson Struts |
|Front Brakes|| TBD |
|Rear Brakes|| TBD |
Pricing and Release Date
Alfa Romeo has not released any pricing information, but rumors are pointing toward a range from $45,000 to over $50,000 as its starting price. The release date is yet another mystery to date. There are reports that the 4C will hit the market in late 2013 and others that say early 2014. All we know is that the 4C is currently ahead of its initial schedule.
2013 Lotus Elise
While the compact sports car realm is jam packed with cars, there is only a handful of true competitors. The main competitor to the 4C will be the Lotus Elise S, giving it survives through Lotus’ latest issues. The Elise S boasts a 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine that pumps out 217 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. This helps get the Elise S to 60 mph in just 4.2 seconds and 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.6 seconds. The Elise S can hit a top speed of 145 mph, putting the 4C firmly atop it in top speed.
Since all of the 4C numbers are still not really known, it is hard to pick a winner. It is mostly a matter of whether the Elise will survive the storm going on at Lotus.
The 4C is outright awesome, but none of the specifications are confirmed to date. We don’t expect Alfa Romeo to make any drastic changes to kill the impressive numbers we see so far, but you never know. We are happy to see Alfa making its return – at least planned return – to the U.S. with this new model. We’ll just keep our fingers crossed that it makes it through to production.
Awesome power-to-weight ratio
1,800-pound curb weight is astonishing
Sexy, sexy body!
Still considered a concept
May underwhelm in production
Will likely be in very short supply in the U.S.
The final version of the Alfa Romeo 4C makes its début at the 83rd International Motor Show in Geneva. This mid-engined rear-wheel drive coupé with two bucket seats represents the true essence of a sports car at the heart of Alfa Romeo’s DNA: performance, Italian style and technical excellence, offering maximum driving satisfaction in total safety.
Designed by Alfa Romeo engineers and produced in the Maserati plant in Modena, the new compact supercar will be available for purchase in 2013, marking the return of the Italian brand to the United States and inaugurating Alfa Romeo’s global growth plan.
The Alfa Romeo 4C derives directly from the concept which raised many eyebrows in wonder at the Geneva Show in 2011, so much so that it won three prestigious awards: the ‘AutoBild Design Award’ (2011, Germany), the ‘Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes’ (2012, Italy) and the ‘Most Exciting Car of 2013’ - ‘What Car?’ (2013, Great Britain).
The acronym ‘4C’ draws its inspiration from the brand’s glorious past, projecting the values of technology and emotions into the future. Indeed, it refers to Alfa Romeo’s great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished cars – both racing and road – fitted with the powerful ‘eight cylinders’ and the innovative ‘six cylinders’, confirming in its design layout and construction the goal of achieving the power/weight ratio of an authentic supercar, less than 4 kg/HP, yet focusing not merely on the maximum power delivered, but on limiting the weight to guarantee maximum agility and top performance. To this end, the Alfa Romeo 4C uses technologies and materials derived from super sports cars (including the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione) – carbon fibre, aluminium, rear-wheel drive – and technologies from the latest standard models from Alfa Romeo, but updated to enhance the sports appeal of the new car even further. This is demonstrated by the new 1750 Turbo Petrol all-aluminium engine with direct injection, the sophisticated Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission and the Alfa DNA selector with the unprecedented Race mode.
Designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 4C immediately brings to mind some of the traditional iconic models which have left a significant mark in the history of the Brand. Above all others, in terms of dimensional and layout similarities, one stands out in particular: the 33 Stradale, a car that combined extreme mechanical and functional requirements with an essential style which ‘clothed’ the engine and chassis appropriately with unmistakable Alfa Romeo treatments. The 4C has followed suit, and thus completes a journey which was embarked upon with the 8C Competizione, emphasising some particular concepts of the brand, such as compact size, dynamism and agility.
The elemental design and essential materials also distinguish the interior, which is all designed and built for maximum driving satisfaction. Specifically, the carbon fibre in the interior immediately stands out, used to make the central cell, which has been left in full view to enhance the sense of uniqueness, of technology and light weight.
Dimensions and aerodynamics
The compact dimensions make this car with 2 bucket seats truly unique amid its competitors: it is just under 4 metres long, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres. These dimensions serve both to emphasise the compact size of the car and to accentuate its agility. What’s more, owing to the designers’ excellent work, the car achieves maximum aerodynamic efficiency levels, recording a negative Cz (downforce coefficient) which, as in racing cars, contributes towards achieving increased stability at higher speeds.
New 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol
An evolution of the engine already in use in the Quadrifoglio Verde version of the Giulietta, the new 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol engine implements an innovative aluminium block and specific intake and exhaust systems which have been optimised to enhance the sports appeal of the car even further. In addition, it boasts cutting-edge technical solutions including direct fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system that gets rid of any turbo lag.
Alfa TCT automatic transmission
The 1750 Turbo Petrol engine is teamed with the innovative Alfa TCT automatic twin dry clutch transmission, which is a genuine benchmark in its segment due to its low weight and extreme speed of activation. The gears can also be changed in sequential mode using the shift paddles located behind the steering wheel.
The new Alfa DNA selector with Race mode
The Alfa Romeo 4C also sees the début of the new Alfa DNA selector which not only features the three standard settings available until now – Dynamic, Natural and All Weather – but also a fourth mode: Race, designed to enhance the driving experience on a race track even further.
Excellence made in Italy
The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands were used to develop the final version of the 4C. Specifically, the teamwork between the two brands was aimed at the integration of the Alfa Romeo design department with the Maserati production plant. In short, this too is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products across the world.