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First Look: Alfa Romeo 4C

Sports car likely bound for U.S. market.

by on Mar.02, 2011

The lightweight Alfa Romeo 4C is expected to help revive the Italian brand's U.S. presence.

With more than 60 new or significantly updated products making their debut at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, it takes a real winner to draw a large crowd, but getting anywhere near the Alfa Romeo stand is a challenge, thanks to reveal of the maker’s striking 4C.

The downsized sibling of the 8C super car sold several years ago, the matte-finished, mid-engine sports car has the sorts of looks that might belong on a car in the six-figure price range, though word has it the Alfa 4C will be priced somewhere around $40,000 when it comes to market.

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And the good news for U.S. buyers is that the two-seater is expected to be one of the first of the Italian marque’s offering to cross the Atlantic as part of the effort to bring Alfa Romeo back to the American market.

Measuring about 158 inches, nose-to-tail, with a 95-inch wheelbase, the Alfa 4C will be powered by a turbocharged, Direct Injection 1.8-liter four making somewhere between 200 and 235 horsepower.  That will drive the rear wheels, fittingly, for a car designed to deliver some serious driving fun.

The mid-engine 2-seater will weigh in at less than 1800 pounds thanks to the use of aluminum and carbon fiber.

The engine might seem a bit on the down size but the new Alfa 4C weighs in at just 1784 pounds due to the use of various lightweight materials.   That includes not only aluminum but also carbon fiber.

Significantly, the latter material has not only wound up on a number of new offerings at this year’s Geneva Motor Show but is beginning to migrate down from supercar territory into the mainstream.  Mini, for example, is using carbon fiber on the Rocketman concept and could begin offering it on production models in the near future.

By holding down mass, that 1750 TBi powertrain is expected to punch the Alfa Romeo 4C from 0 to 100 kmh (62.5 mph) in just 5 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 155 mph.

The Alfa 4C will go on sale in Europe in 2012.