Building a car for one market is tough enough, but building a car for two markets with different regulations is even tougher. Just ask Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo is set to make its second American comeback in a decade with the new Alfa Romeo 4C sports car, but Automotive News Europe reports that due to stringent American safety regulations, the U.S.-spec 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C will weigh 220 pounds more than the European version, pushing its curb weight north of 2000 pounds.
The Alfa Romeo 4C is supposed to be a no-compromise lightweight sports car, built from nothing but aluminum and carbon fiber, but according to Fiat's European product development head Mauro Pierallini in an interview with Automotive News Europe, that wasn't enough to stop the U.S.-spec car from weighing more than the European version. While the 4C that goes on sale in Europe this month weighs in at 1973 pounds, the American version will weigh 2193 pounds when it hits our shores early next year.
According to Pierallini, the weight gain is due to aluminum inserts in the carbon fiber chassis, as well as additional gas tank and fuel line protection, and equipment to meet U.S. emission standards.
Yes, we realize we're complaining about a sports car that's still considered a flyweight at 2193 pounds, but the Alfa Romeo 4C was conceived as a Porsche Cayman and Lotus Elise rival with a power/weight ratio of 8.8 pounds per horsepower; the Euro version has 8.2 pounds per horsepower, while the porkier U.S. Alfa Romeo 4C has 9.1 pounds per horsepower. In a mid-engined sports car with a little 1.8-liter turbocharged I-4 making 240 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque, every little bit matters. Alfa Romeo engineers are acutely aware of this – they were responsible for shedding 53 pounds from the engine (thanks to an aluminum block), and are even responsible for the 4C's odd lens-less headlights, which were designed to minimize both weight and costs.
Will the extra 200 pounds really matter? We won't find out until Alfa Romeo launches the 4C in the U.S. early next year, but nevertheless we think it's about time for U.S. and E.U. regulators to get on the same page and play nice.
Source: Automotive News Europe (Subscription required)