Could the Alfa Romeo 4C Be the Stepping Stone Alfa Needs to Re-enter the U.S. Marketplace?

Sculpted and edgy. Those are unquestionably the two terms that most aptly describe the Alfa Romeo 4C. There is something oddly familiar about its shape, however, something like a Lotus or a Tesla. It is pretty, though, in that way that Alfa Romeos always seem to be. In 2007, Fiat announced that in the 8C would be available through Masarati dealerships beginning in 2009, but there were a number of reasons that the venture never panned out. Were they afraid that the magic captured so elegantly in the late 1960s would never rematerialize? Perhaps. The 8C had a decidedly retro look, particularly in convertible guise. The new 4C, on the other hand, looks more like the way we Americans think our tiny sports cars ought to look.

At the heart of the Alfa Romeo 4C is a 230 horsepower, direct-injected 1.8 liter engine. Mid-mounted, the engine helps provide the 4C with great traction, great cornering and great weight distribution. Motor Trend Magazine estimates that the car should be capable of 0-60 times in the low five seconds. The engine itself is an homage to vintage Alfas, even if the car itself speaks clearly to the future of the Alfa Romeo company on American shores. Its 1,750cc engine uses the same displacement that the Alfas in the 1960s did, though with direct injection and a turbocharger, the 4C produces far more power, a hair above 230, according to reports. The six-speed manual transmission might be just a bit of overkill for a car this size, but in its price range of approximately $71,000, it seems that the six-speed has become practically a necessity. Shifting could be fun at first, but no doubt would get a bit old after a while.

The Alfa Romeo 4C is intended to weigh in at around 2,100 pounds. While that is certainly attainable in European-spec 4Cs with their carbon fiber bodywork, expect significant amounts of that lightweight and expensive material to be replaced with less expensive aluminum in the American-spec car.

Of course, 2013 is a long time to wait. For now, American dealerships who had planned to stock the 4C as the cornerstone of their Alfa Romeo spinoffs are stuck with the Fiat 500 and nothing else. While the 500 is certainly “cute,” it’s still a Fiat and not an Alfa. In addition, Many of these dealers had anticipated the addition of the Lancia brand to their American dealerships, which could have brought cars like the sporty and attractive Lancia Delta to American shores. With Fiat’s balking, however, that prospect yet remains up in the air. Could this be an attempt on Fiat’s part to wait out the problems with America’s auto industry? Probably. One thing’s for certain, though. Enthusiasts will be waiting eagerly for the 4C’s arrival, and the Fiat 500 isn’t going to slake their thirst.

Alfa 4C Concept

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