First Look: 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

The Alfa Romeo 4C concept was one of the biggest stars of the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. Sexy, sporty, and allegedly destined for production, the show car excited us not only because its specifications promised incredible performance, but also because the car would be the first new Alfa Romeo sold in America under the then-nascent Fiat-Chrysler partnership. After waiting nearly two years, we finally have confirmation that the 4C is heading to the real world. Alfa Romeo will introduce the sports coupe at the Geneva Motor Show next month, and plans to start selling the car this year.

The car's styling barely changed from the concept, and that's a good thing. Prominent hood strakes lead into a deep V-shaped nose, while rounded headlights sit atop each of the front fenders. Scalloped air intakes aft of the doors feed the mid-mounted engine, and start the rear fenders that stand like mountain ridges at each side of the car. The two-person cockpit is small, with its rear window diving down toward the rear of the car. The wheels are composed of five connected circles that all surround a small hub. In short, it's a beautiful design that has stayed remarkably true to the show car from two years ago.

The Alfa Romeo 4C will measure about 157.5 inches long, 78.7 inches wide, and 46.5 inches tall. That puts it on par size-wise with the perennial small sports-car benchmark, the Mazda MX-5 Miata, which measures 157.3 inches long, 67.7 wide, and 49.0 tall.

Because the chassis is made from carbon fiber and much of the car is made from aluminum, the 4C will also be extremely light. Although Alfa doesn't quote a specific curb weight or engine output, the car has a claimed power-to-weight ratio of four kg/hp (approximately nine pounds per horsepower). That's the same ratio as a Chevrolet Camaro SS -- implying serious acceleration potential from the petite Alfa. More important, the body is said to produce downforce at speed, effectively pushing the car to the road and improving its handling.

Turbocharged, Dual-Clutch Powertrain

The name 4C was chosen in keeping with Alfa Romeo's historic 6C and 8C racing cars, which had six- and eight-cylinder engines, respectively. So it's only logical that the 4C uses a four-cylinder mill, in this case an all-aluminum 1.8-liter turbo-four with direct injection and dual variable valve timing. A dry dual-clutch transmission, likely with seven forward speeds, will transfer power to the car's rear wheels.

There are few details about the interior so far, although we know it will be home to two bucket seats, paddle shifters on the steering wheel, as well as exposed carbon fiber. The driver has a switch called the Alfa DNA Selector, which toggles between four driving modes: Dynamic, Natural, All Weather, and Race. Each of the options provides a different program for the engine, transmission, and traction control.

Coming To America

The best news of all is that this car heralds the return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the U.S. The 4C will be built at Maserati's factory in Modena, Italy, and Alfa promises the coupe goes on sale this calendar year. That means American drivers may get a chance to buy a new Alfa Romeo before Christmas.

The 4C isn't coming to the US any time soon unless Alfa is prepared to launch several other models simultaneously.....Chairman M says they're working on it but it appears that it may 2014 before we see the brand state-side.
John Kelly
Daniel Karpiak
una bella machina ;)
BMW guy from SMF
I don't know ... it has a bit of the  Koenigsegg look to the windshield, roof and side windows ... I guess it will grow on you?
Jared Hoke
Why are so many cars so "tall" today? They seem so much thicker and bulkier than they used to be, and it's not a trend I favor. Compared to, say, a Mazda MX-5/Miata, this Alfa seems pudgy and clumsy. I predict that the next "big thing" in autos will be re-embracing Colin Chapman's timeless advice to "add lightness". Our cars, like our bodies, have become way too fat. Time to go on a diet, folks!!!
It will be interesting to see how the Chrysler Group's plan to retail Alfas next to the Fiat 500 (along with future Fiats) will play out. Which means that Alfas will only be available [for sale] in large urban markets in the U.S.
Bring it!
As the former owner of two Alfas, one in the USA and one while living in Europe, I'm a fan. I love those high revving engines, and the challenge of driving them hard and being rewarded by thrilling performance.   I love the looks and glad to see the 4C will be built by Maserati.  I wonder what it will cost? 
Chinmaya Pradhan
Gregory Easton
Yes -- America needs Alfa. A convertible version of this would be almost orgasmic.
Just plain gorgeous!  Can't wait to see the mag test it.   
Nicholas Alexander Arntz
What happened to the headlights? It's as though they wanted LEDs but weren't sure where to put them, so they simply scattered a few on there and called it good. The original headlights were much cleaner and more sophisticated, in my opinion. However random these lights may be, they certainly do not change the fact that this is a bite-the-back-of-your-hand beautiful car.
Brian Smith
Marc Hamady
It's better than a Porsche.

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