Alfa Romeo’s alluring 4C sports coupe is steadily marching toward production, and should go on sale in 2012. Top Gear reports that Fiat engineers have finalized some details of the 4C’s lightweight construction, as well as output figures for its new turbocharged engine.
Alfa Romeo previously announced a new turbocharged 1.8-liter inline-four engine that would be used in the 4C. Fitted with direct fuel injection and using an aluminum block, TG says the new mill will produce about 230 hp. The only transmission choice will be a seven-speed dual-clutch unit.
While Alfa Romeo had originally planned on blessing this engine with about 300 hp, the new turbo-four should still produce ample acceleration in the 4C. Engineers have pegged the 4C’s target weight at 900 kg (a svelte 1980 pounds), and thus estimate the car will complete the 0-to-62-mph dash in 4.5 seconds. Alfa is also working with race car manufacturer Dallara to develop the 4C’s aerodynamic properties, with the goal of adding plentiful downforce to improve handling.
When the Alfa Romeo 4C first bowed as a concept at the Geneva Motor Show, the car was said to be made extensively from carbon fiber. For cost and other considerations, not all of the production model will be made of the lightweight material. The car’s central tub will be made by Alfa Romeo from carbon, but with aluminum for the front and rear frames. The doors will be made from a type of fiberglass, not carbon fiber as was the case on the concept car. Despite those changes, the production model’s styling should be very close to that of the show car.
Alfa Romeo plans to have prototype versions of the new car on the road in 2012, and plans to sell the car from 2013. That’s the same time that the Alfa brand is expected to re-launch in the U.S.; the debut of an exciting sports car like the 4C could help Alfa Romeo make a positive impression on the American buying public. TG says that Alfa Romeo will build about 18,000 examples of the 4C over the car's life, including a convertible variant and a faster, 300-hp version.
Source: Top Gear