Alfisti take heart. The Milan-based automaker is still planning to come back to America and the centerpiece of this return promises to be something truly special, judging by the looks of the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
While it was rumored that Alfa was planning to build a rear-drive coupe and spider with the U.S. in mind, the show car that was unveiled had a few surprises—not only is it rear-drive, but the engine is transversely mounted amidships. The sleek 2-seater has Alfa's signature V-shaped grille flanked by huge headlamps, a look not dissimilar from the 8C supercar. From the side and the rear, however, the car takes on the proportions of the Lotus Evora.
The rear of the new Alfa features round taillamps, and the engine is clearly visible beneath the car's rear window. Power comes from a turbocharged 1.75 liter 4-cylinder engine, the 1750-cc displacement having a storied history with the brand. Output is expected to top 200 bhp, and the engine is mated to a twin-clutch sequential-shift gearbox.
Video window may take a few moments to load...
The Alfa's dimensions are very compact, the 4C having an overall length of just 157.5 in. and a wheelbase of only 94.5 in.
Light Weight Aids Performance
The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept features lightweight carbon-fiber construction, which is expected to keep the weight down to 1870 lb. In addition to the carbon-fiber skin and tub, the 4C also uses aluminum structure to aid its crashworthiness.
The low mass will enable the car to have good performance despite having such a small engine displacing less than 2.0 liters. Alfa estimates that the car will hit 62 mph in 5.0 sec. and have a top speed of 155 mph.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept employs a sophisticated suspension layout, which features high quadrilateral links on the front and struts in the rear. The handling is further enhanced by the weight distribution, which has 40 percent of the car's mass on the front axle and 60 percent on the rear. The 4C also employs Alfa's DNA dynamic handling system that allows the driver to select stiffer damping, quicker throttle response and more steering feedback.
It's clear that this concept car maintains Alfa's sporting tradition, in which agility and a great weight/power ratio were the keys to a successful racing vehicle. The concept embodies these principles, in a car that can be driven on the road every day. While Alfa promises that the 4C will go on sale worldwide next year, look for it in the U.S. later that year, possibly as a 2013 model.