Designed, engineered and built as a pure driving machine, the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C is an uncompromised thoroughbred that marks the return to the world of lightweight sports coupés for the Alfa Romeo brand.
Its "natural beauty" is defined by function; the need to wrap the engine and chassis in a compact, aerodynamically-efficient shape, making it a worthy descendent of one of the most beautiful coupés of all time: the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale.
Designed and engineered by Alfa Romeo and built at the Maserati plant in Modena, the mid-engined Alfa Romeo 4C employs the latest technologies of Alfa Romeo's newest models: The new, all-aluminium 1750 Turbo Petrol engine; the latest-generation "Alfa TCT" dry twin clutch transmission and theAlfa DNA drivingmode selector - now with a new “Race” mode.
Carbon-fibre was chosen for the one-piece monocoque due its high levels of structural rigidity and exceptionally low weight –just 65kg – and is built using sophisticated Formula 1-derived technologies, evolved especially for Alfa Romeo for series production of up to 1,000 units per year. SMC (Sheet Moulding Compound), which is lighter than both steel and aluminium, is used for the bodywork while even the thickness of the glass has been slimmed down by 15% to help reduce the Alfa Romeo 4C’s overall weight.
Less than 4m in length and with a wheelbase of 2.38m, the Alfa Romeo 4C’s compact shape accentuates its remarkable agility: With a dry weight of 895kg and a 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution, the 4C is capable of generating 1.1g of lateral acceleration and in excess of 1.2g of deceleration force.
To optimise handling, its double-wishbone front suspension is secured directly to the monocoque while the rear uses a performance-tuned McPherson arrangement. The brakes, engineered with track use in mind, employ a patented aluminium/cast iron hybrid construction complete with ventilated, cross-drilled 305mm/292mm discs (F/R) clamped by Brembo callipers. 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels are standard, while 18/19-inch wheels with Alfa Romeo’s signature, five-hole “telephone dial” design are optional.
Power comes courtesy of a new four-cylinder turbo engine which, thanks to its aluminium block, is 22kg lighter than the engine that powers the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV. Turbo-charged and with direct injection, this new1750 Turbo Petrol unit sets new torque and specific power records for this size of engine, at over 200Nm- and 137hp-per-litre respectively. Its maximum power output is 240hp at 6,000 rpm while its maximum torque output is 350Nm (258 lb ft), available between 2,100 and 4,000 rpm. To underline the flexible nature of this new engine, just 80% of its torque is available from just 1800 rpm.
Accelerating from 0 to 62mph takes just 4.5 seconds in the new Alfa Romeo 4C and top speed is 160mph, but this supercar performance isn’t at the expense of the environment. Due to its light weight and advanced engine and transmission technologies, the emissions of the Alfa Romeo 4C fall well within the strict limits of Euro 6. Its official combined-cycle fuel economy figure is 41.5MPG and its CO2 emissions are just 157g/km.
Being an Alfa Romeo, the driving experience is more than just raw statistics. The exhaust has been tuned to emit a full, rich sound and particular attention paid to the seat design so the movement and reactions of the car can be 'felt' properly. The steering, unassisted, is progressive, direct and engineered to convey as much feedback and feel as possible. The steering ratio (16.2) is such as to allow 90% of bends to be taken without having to take your hands off the steering wheel. Both brake and throttle responsiveness have also been tuned to match with the dynamic nature of the Alfa Romeo 4C.
Inside the Alfa Romeo 4C, the exposed carbon-fibre chassis and driver-oriented controls leave you in no doubt as to the purposeful nature of the car. In place of traditional dials, a multi-function, digital display occupies the instrument binnacle and the steering wheel is a bespoke, flat-bottomed, two-spoke item with integrated paddle gear-shifters. The remaining controls are grouped together on the tunnel console, including the button-operated TCT transmission selector and the DNA system selector, which alters the operational parameters of the engine, transmission, ESC and electronic Q2 differential depending on the driver’s requirements. Composite bucket seats and aluminium pedals complete the minimalistic, drive-focussed cabin.
The all-new Alfa Romeo Romeo 4C goes on sale in the UK in October priced from £45,000 on the road, with first deliveries expected early in 2014. In total, global production for the Alfa Romeo 4C is limited to just 3,500 units.