Alfa Romeo has continued to tease the U.S. with a concept version its 4C sports car, but has so far failed to give an exact date for its release stateside. Alfa’s also had a cone of silence around other details, although cracks are starting to show. We recently learned of some new developments in the 4C’s gestation, and if they’re true, it may be worth the wait.
Alfa’s engineers are getting more confident as each day passes that they will have a prototype version of the 4C ready for testing in the middle of 2012. The two-door coupe would then hit the production line the following year, with a targeted lifespan of 18,000 copies produced. A price tag hovering around $58,670 is expected on the 4C once it’s released into the U.S. market.
Development of the 4C has been put on the fast track courtesy of a special quick-acting team headed by Mauro Pierallini, head of engineering for Fiat in Europe. It all started when group design chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti requested that a concept version of the 4C to be drawn up by Alfa designers. Alfa’s bosses liked it so much they decided to push the 4C out as a concept at the Geneva and Frankfurt Motor Shows, respectively. However, when pressed by the media Alfa wouldn’t announce how they would build it and when it would actually be made available to the public here in the U.S.
We do know that the concept version of the 4C used a carbon-fiber chassis designed by Dallara, a racecar manufacturer responsible for contributing to the KTM X-bow, Alfa 8C, and the Bugatti Veyron. This will help with aerodynamics of the 4C and enhance handling so that it’s much more responsive. The production version’s frame is an in-house design that also utilizes a carbon tub but the front and rear frames are aluminum. This equals a lower cost to make the 4C and only adds a little more weight. The outer panels of the concept version were made of carbon too but this will be switch out for a lightweight form of fiber glass in order to save money during production.
The good news is that while Alfa’s 4C is getting new materials for the production version it will still keep its concept looks. According to Pierallini the interior won’t look much different either, but as always we still expect it to change a little from its concept form. The 4C is expected to tip the scales at around 1984 pounds and will be about 13-feet long. This is closer to a Lotus Elise than the original targeted competitor, the Porsche Cayman.
Under the hood we expect to see an engine similar to the one that powers the Alfa Romeo Giulietta, but will also utilize an aluminum block and fuel-saving direct injection. This engine is rated at 230 horsepower, good news for a vehicle that doesn’t weight much. Alfa also hopes to strengthen its lineup by bringing over a Giulia sedan, the successor to the 159 which was the last Alfa to be sold here in the U.S. The Giulia is slated to re-enter the U.S. market in late 2013, followed by a new crossover in 2014.
Do you think Alfa Romeo’s latest rendition of the 4C is a winner or will it fall flat? Tell us what you think in the comment section below.
Source: Top Gear UK