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Geneva show: Alfa 4C lets it all hang out

Inside job: Alfa Romeo’s 4C shows off its carbon-fibre frame inside the cabin.

Naked carbon-fibre cell goes on show in new Alfa Romeo 4C sports coupe

26 Feb 2013

ALFA Romeo’s new 4C baby supercar will show off its carbon-fibre bones in a no-nonsense interior that is trimmed in other areas with black plastic designed to look like asphalt.

The cabin of the rear-drive sports coupe has been revealed in an image released by the Italian company ahead of next week’s unveiling of the Turin-built car at the Geneva motor show.

The polished carbon-fibre construction of the 4C’s high-tech “central cell” can be seen along the side sills and central transmission tunnel, reinforcing the impression of hard-edged racing technology in the super-light coupe.

Alfa says this was deliberate “to enhance the sense of light weight, technology and uniqueness”.

The four-metre-long 4C is said to weigh less than 1000kg, potentially endowing it with sub-five-second 0-100km/h acceleration, propelled by a new 1.75-litre turbocharged direct-injection petrol engine – which will belt out 176kW – and dual-clutch transmission.

26 center imageLeft: Alfa Romeo 4C

The image shows paddle shifters on the steering wheel, but no gear selector on the console, presumably because it uses button gear selection like other cars in the Fiat family, including the Fiat 500 and Ferraris.

Like the body, the frames for the sports seats are made of composite materials and cloaked in what appears to be black leather with red contrast stitching, with the Alfa logo stitched into the headrests.

The chunky flat-bottomed sports steering wheel is wrapped in leather, matching the leather-strap grab handles on the doors.

The hard-looking black plastic on the dash and doors has what Alfa describes as “an ‘asphalt’ treatment to recall the vocation of the Alfa Romeo 4C, conceived to convey maximum driving sensation from the road”.

Digital instruments are said to “contribute to the concept of extreme driver-orientation”.

Although the instrument binnacle cannot be clearly seen, Alfa has hinted at a motorcycle influence in the cockpit.

Pedals are made from aluminium, as is a garnish along the lower edge of the dash.

Alfa says the 4C’s body shape is that of a scaled-down supercar – short, low and wide for a squat stance on the road.

It stands just 1180mm tall and 4000mm long, but some 2000mm wide – broader than many large cars.

The company claims the design achieves “maximum aerodynamic levels” and yet generates sufficient downforce for high-speed stability.

Because of the complexity of the composite construction, the 4C will be built at Maserati’s Modena plant and is scheduled for release across Europe this year.

The little coupe will also spearhead Alfa’s return to the United States late this year.

Australian sales are expected to begin in early 2014.

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