The wait is over. You’re looking at the production version of the Alfa Romeo 4C. And the good news is that Alfa seems to have succeeded in delivering on almost all the promises of the original concept car.
That 4C concept was one of the stand-out stars of the 2011 Geneva motor show. The mid-engined sports coupe came as a massive surprise -Alfa hadn’t dropped any hints about it prior to the show – but it seemed to promise a brave new direction for the company. Two years on, the technical spec of the finished version, which will be formally unveiled at this year’s Geneva show in March, sticks commendably close to the concept in terms of both styling and mechanical layout.
To save you the time, we’ve already strained our eyes comparing these pictures to those of the concept. The only significant external change is to the front lights, with the production car getting different one-piece mouldings with ‘projector’-style xenon lamps and five LED running lights per unit.
The rear lights have also been redesigned slightly and there are now fog and reversing lights too, plus discreet US-style marker lights on the wheelarches. Those tweaks aside, it’s the same car.
The mechanical package is also as previously reported, with a transverse four-cylinder turbocharged engine. The 1.7-litre motor is based on the ‘1750 TBi’ engine in the Giulietta Cloverleaf hatchback, but with an aluminium block in place of the Giulietta’s thin-wall cast-iron block, saving a claimed 25kg.
The engine also gets direct injection and a clever ‘scavenging’ system to eliminate turbo lag, and it drives the rear wheels through a version of Alfa’s ‘TCT’ six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Although an exact power figure hasn’t been released yet, internet leaks have suggested the motor will produce 237bhp. Applying that to Alfa’s promise of a car weighing ‘less than 4kg for every 1bhp’, that suggests that the 4C will tip the scales at 950kg – just 100kg more than the 850kg originally claimed for the concept.
The key to hitting such a low kerb weight has been lightweight construction around a carbonfibre monocoque – a first for a car in this segment – with the engine and front suspension mounted to this on aluminium subframes. There are double wishbones at the front and MacPherson struts at the rear. Alfa’s trademark ‘DNA’ driving mode selector has also been fitted, with an additional ‘Race’ mode added specially for this car.
Production of the 4C will start this summer, with the car set to be built in the Maserati factory in Modena. Pricing has yet to be confirmed, but we’ve heard that the price tag is going to be over GBP 50,000, making the 4C more expensive than the new Porsche Cayman S (which you can read about on page 90).
You can also be confident that both a roadster model and a more hardcore ‘Stradale’ version will follow further down the line.