Preview: Alfa Romeo 4C
By Winding Road Staff
February 13, 2013
This is the Master Landing Page for the Alfa Romeo 4C. From now on, as we further review this car, we will be updating this page with whatever fresh content we create. Future drive reviews, updated specifications, videos, and other relevant information will all be found right here, in one convenient spot.
This is it. This is the vehicle that will lead Alfa Romeo’s long-promised return to the North American market. It’s called the 4C, a name that borrows inspiration from Alfa’s numerous 8C and 6C race and road cars. While the 8C and 6C were powered by eight and six-cylinder engines, respectively, the 4C will utilize a 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder.
While some might lament the lack of a V-6, it’s important to note that said four-cylinder will be mounted amidships, in traditional supercar fashion. There’s also a promise of a weight-to-power ratio below 8.8 pounds per horsepower. For reference, a PDK-equipped Porsche Cayman S delivers 9.15 pounds per horsepower. Channeling power to the rear wheels is Alfa’s TCT dual-clutch automatic. Sadly, there’s no manual option on offer.
Now, you may be asking, “how does the 4C achieve a better weight-to-power ratio than a Porsche Cayman S, while only using a four-cylinder turbo?” The answer comes with the car’s footprint and the materials its made from. The 4C is less than four meters long (roughly 13 feet), 200 centimeters wide (about 6.5 feet), and only 3.8 feet tall. Moreover, its chassis is made exclusively from carbon fiber, while the engine is an all-aluminum unit. Mid-engined, lightweight sports car? It looks like Alfa is taking a serious jab at Porsche.
The Alfa Romeo 4C will make its official debut at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. While we’ve heard this many times before, it’ll spearhead Alfa Romeo’s return to the US market later in 2013.
Please scroll down for the official press release from Alfa Romeo.
WORLD PREMIÈRE: ALFA ROMEO 4C
The new Alfa Romeo compact mid-engined supercar with rear-wheel drive and two bucket seats makes its début in Geneva.
• The new Alfa Romeo 4C is the result of experience built up with the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione model produced in the Maserati plant in Modena and it will be available for purchase in 2013, marking the return of the Italian brand to the United States.
• Less than 4 metres in length, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres.
• New 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol all-aluminium engine.
• Alfa TCT twin clutch automatic transmission.
• New Alfa DNA selector with Race mode.
• Chassis made entirely of carbon with load-bearing and structural function.
• Weight to power ratio less than 4 kg/HP.
The final version of the Alfa Romeo 4C makes its début at the 83rd International Motor Show in Geneva. This mid-engined rear-wheel drive coupé with two bucket seats represents the true essence of a sports car at the heart of Alfa Romeo's DNA: performance, Italian style and technical excellence, offering maximum driving satisfaction in total safety.
Designed by Alfa Romeo engineers and produced in the Maserati plant in Modena, the new compact supercar will be available for purchase in 2013, marking the return of the Italian brand to the United States and inaugurating Alfa Romeo's global growth plan.
The Alfa Romeo 4C derives directly from the concept which raised many eyebrows in wonder at the Geneva Show in 2011, so much so that it won three prestigious awards: the ‘AutoBild Design Award' (2011, Germany), the ‘Design Award for Concept Cars & Prototypes' (2012, Italy) and the ‘Most Exciting Car of 2013' - ‘What Car?' (2013, Great Britain).
The acronym ‘4C' draws its inspiration from the brand's glorious past, projecting the values of technology and emotions into the future. Indeed, it refers to Alfa Romeo's great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished cars - both racing and road - fitted with the powerful ‘eight cylinders' and the innovative ‘six cylinders', confirming in its design layout and construction the goal of achieving the power/weight ratio of an authentic supercar, less than 4 kg/HP, yet focusing not merely on the maximum power delivered, but on limiting the weight to guarantee maximum agility and top performance. To this end, the Alfa Romeo 4C uses technologies and materials derived from super sports cars (including the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione) - carbon fibre, aluminium, rear-wheel drive - and technologies from the latest standard models from Alfa Romeo, but updated to enhance the sports appeal of the new car even further. This is demonstrated by the new 1750 Turbo Petrol all-aluminium engine with direct injection, the sophisticated Alfa TCT twin dry clutch transmission and the Alfa DNA selector with the unprecedented Race mode.
Designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 4C immediately brings to mind some of the traditional iconic models which have left a significant mark in the history of the Brand. Above all others, in terms of dimensional and layout similarities, one stands out in particular: the 33 Stradale, a car that combined extreme mechanical and functional requirements with an essential style which ‘clothed' the engine and chassis appropriately with unmistakable Alfa Romeo treatments. The 4C has followed suit, and thus completes a journey which was embarked upon with the 8C Competizione, emphasising some particular concepts of the brand, such as compact size, dynamism and agility.
The elemental design and essential materials also distinguish the interior, which is all designed and built for maximum driving satisfaction. Specifically, the carbon fibre in the interior immediately stands out, used to make the central cell, which has been left in full view to enhance the sense of uniqueness, of technology and light weight.
Dimensions and aerodynamics
The compact dimensions make this car with 2 bucket seats truly unique amid its competitors: it is just under 4 metres long, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres. These dimensions serve both to emphasise the compact size of the car and to accentuate its agility. What's more, owing to the designers' excellent work, the car achieves maximum aerodynamic efficiency levels, recording a negative Cz (downforce coefficient) which, as in racing cars, contributes towards achieving increased stability at higher speeds.
New 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol
An evolution of the engine already in use in the Quadrifoglio Verde version of the Giulietta, the new 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo Petrol engine implements an innovative aluminium block and specific intake and exhaust systems which have been optimised to enhance the sports appeal of the car even further. In addition, it boasts cutting-edge technical solutions including direct fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system that gets rid of any turbo lag.
Alfa TCT automatic transmission
The 1750 Turbo Petrol engine is teamed with the innovative Alfa TCT automatic twin dry clutch transmission, which is a genuine benchmark in its segment due to its low weight and extreme speed of activation. The gears can also be changed in sequential mode using the shift paddles located behind the steering wheel.
The new Alfa DNA selector with Race mode
The Alfa Romeo 4C also sees the début of the new Alfa DNA selector which not only features the three standard settings available until now - Dynamic, Natural and All Weather - but also a fourth mode: Race, designed to enhance the driving experience on a race track even further.
Excellence made in Italy
The very best technical and industrial expertise of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands were used to develop the final version of the 4C. Specifically, the teamwork between the two brands was aimed at the integration of the Alfa Romeo design department with the Maserati production plant. In short, this too is a distinguishing trait of Alfa Romeo, a brand with a century of history that continues to be one of the most famous and popular ambassadors of Italian products across the world.
With a focus on lightness, the 4C has an excellent power-to-weight ratio—even better than a Porsche Cayman S.
Effortless speed comes from loads of torque, but it takes some getting used to to be able to master.
Harris did find some comfort issues, though, as the thinly padded seats weren’t great to spend time in, and the steering wheel felt clunky in hand.
On track, it felt very neutral and precise, with occasionally slight but surmountable understeer. Brakes are “absolutely stellar.”
The light, mid-engined car feels just right, due to its “perfect layout.”
Nurburgring - 8:04