The Alfa Romeo 4C will be delivered to the first customers who placed orders (back in 2012) at the start of 2014. The 4C had really grabbed the headlines, dubbed as the saviour of the Alfa Romeo brand. And even though the concept has been around for several years now, the car still looks stunning and will be a big hit among current and new sports cars owners. The original price of £38,000 has crept up to £45,000 in the UK, but that can be forgiven for the specification of the final product. Alfa are expecting to produce 3,500 cars a year, there is around a 12 month waiting list already.
Most of the details of the concept car have been retained, most importantly that superlight weight figure of 925kg. This figure is truly magnificent, considering it complies with all current safety regulations. This has been achieved largely by the use of building the car around a carbon fibre tub, weighing just 65kg. The body panels are constructed from SMC (Sheet Moulding Composite), a lightweight plastic, while the adoption of 15% thinner glass for the windows also helps to keep weight (and the centre of gravity low). The car has a classic 40:60 weight distribution front:rear.
Performance is startling, 0-60 in around 4.5s, and a top speed of 160mph+. As expected the car is propelled by a aluminium 1.75 litre turbo charged unit which produces 240hp at 6,000rpm and 258 lb ft at 2,100rpm. This car is effortlessly fast, due to 80% of its torque being available from just 1,800 rpm. The engine is remarkable, in this lightweight platform it can deliver all that performance and return a combined fuel consumption of 41.5mpg and emit a low 157g/km of Carbon Dioxide, which will keep the running costs low and boost the residual value of this car.
A 6 speed twin dry clutch auto gearbox is an ideal match for the engine (130ms shift speed at its quickest with the paddles), allowing the driver to really focus on the road and get the most from this mini supercar. Performance on the track is extremely impressive, the weight of the unassisted steering is well judged and the brakes are more than capable of intense track work. The car has been fitted with double wishbone suspension up front, attached directly to the carbon monocoque, while the rear is a slightly compromised McPherson setup. The brakes utilise a aluminium/cast iron hybrid construction complete with ventilated and cross-drilled 305mm front/292mm rear clamped by Brembo callipers.
This car handles like a Lotus Elise, but with the power of a Porsche Cayman, and most importantly the stunning looks of a Alfa Romeo. This makes it a very attractive in the market place.
Words by Raj Hunjan