The Alfa Romeo 4C still hasn’t arrived in the U.S. and yet, company executives are already thinking of building more performance-oriented versions of the low-volume sports car. Company CEO Harald Wester made the proclamation, telling Automotive News that while the 4C already has the makings of an impressive sports car , there’s still plenty of room for improvement, especially if it wants to be as big of a hit in the U.S. market as it is in Europe.
This rationale looks to confirm Alfa’s previous announcement that it plans to make annual updates of the 4C in the next four or five years, including the possibility of even building a more performance-oriented version that could appeal to a U.S. market that prefers sports cars that also have the added luxury appeal.
One of the first things Wester brought up was the potential for the 4C’s chassis to handle more power while also tinkering with the car’s turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. "We are only at 134 horsepower per liter, so there is space," Wester told Automotive News.
As for the U.S.-spec 4Cs, Alfa remains cognizant in its belief that offering a European-spec 4C to a U.S. market is a bad business move. That’s why it’s building a different spec 4C that has better equipment to go along with its own share of technical changes. That includes putting in place a different monocoque, reinforcing the suspension, and adding new and improved headlights that we all first saw on the 4C Spider .
Or in the words of Wester, "a significant overhaul."
With all these changes expected for the U.S.-spec Alfa Romeo 4C, you can be sure that the cars are going to command a steep price. Alfa has yet to announce the price, but reportedly the base 4C will retail for about $55,000 with a top-of-the-line, fully-loaded model fetching close to $70,000.
Click past the jump to read more about the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Why It Matters
Alfa Romeo has big plans for the 4C in the U.S. market, even for a low-volume car that has a surprisingly low target sales number. See, the Italian automaker expects to sell less than 1,000 models this year, so it’s important for them to make the 4C a more appealing sports car than what the U.S. market already has.
It’s a difficult challenge given the vast number of options available to U.S. customers. That’s why Alfa Romeo is treading carefully to equip U.S.-bound 4C models with more equipment and refinement than its European counterparts. It’s all about making sure that American buyers get the best of what Alfa Romeo has to offer with its sexy new sports car.
Alfa Romeo unveiled the production version 4C at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, after a first concept version was unveiled the previous year.
The 4C is powered by a new turbocharged, 1.8-liter, four-cylinder engine that delivers a total of 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 258 pound-feet of torque between 2,100 and 4,000 rpm, with 80 percent of the torque available from 1,800 rpm. The engine is mated to an innovative Alfa TCT twin-dry-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission. This combo sprints the car from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds and up to a top speed of 160 mph.
For the U.S. market the 4C is rumored to be priced at a little over $50,000.