First Look: Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C

The baby Alfa Romeo 8C has landed in Geneva, and to little surprise it's called the 4C.

Shown in concept guise, the 4C assumes the sportscar ethos with a mid-mounted engine, rear-wheel drive, and compact dimensions suited for maneuverability. Like the most traditional sportscars, it has just two doors and two seats. The 4C is around 157.4 inches long, has a wheelbase less than 94.5 inches, and is pegged to have a weight split of 40/60. Sounds like a recipe for some old-fashioned driving fun.

Sitting amidships is the company's turbocharged and direct-injected 1750 TBi inline-four. Power output for the 4C wasn't specified but the mill develops 235 horsepower in the Giulietta. With dual continuous variable valve timing and exhaust scavenging control, the four-cylinder is expected to rival larger 3.0-liter engines in performance but be significantly more fuel efficient. That efficiency is helped with Alfa's new "TCT" dry, twin-clutch automatic transmission, complete with six forward gears.

Perhaps the most impressive feature is the weight control. The 4C is already small, but careful application of carbon fiber and aluminum manage to keep the curb weight below 850 kilograms (1784 pounds). Parts of the frame are built from aluminum but the body is all carbon fiber. If a past report from Autocar is to be believed, parts of the stressed frame will be carbon fiber too.

Helping the 4C turn are a pair of special double A-arms up front, designated as a "high quadrilateral" design. The rear gets typical MacPherson struts. All in all, the 4C will get to 62 mph in less than 5 seconds and is supposedly capable of reaching 155 mph.

Alfa Romeo says the 4C will help grow the brand globally, and hopefully that includes the United States. If the target price really is indeed 40,000 euros ($54,600), we'll just have to see how this mini 8C sells out of the concept realm.

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