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Future models - Alfa Romeo - 4C - Spider

Geneva show: Buyers queue for Alfa Romeo 4C

Hot demand: Alfa Romeo's rear-drive 4C sportscar is in danger of becoming a sell-out success in 2014 before if goes on sale in the third quarter.

Third of all Alfa Romeo 4C sportscars sold months ahead of official Australian debut

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Alfa Romeo logo5 Mar 2014

By RON HAMMERTON

MORE than a third of this year's Australian stock allocation of Alfa Romeo's spicy mid-engined, rear-drive 4C sportscar is already spoken for, with 120 orders placed by customers before one of its expected shipment of about 300 4Cs has landed in Australian showrooms.

With another burst of publicity around the Geneva debut of the topless 4C Spider this week, Fiat Chrysler Group Australia is bracing for even more orders ahead of the coupe's formal local launch in the third quarter of this year.

The Spider is expected to follow late in the year or early 2015. Of the 300 units of 4C promised for this market, about two thirds will be coupes and the remainder Spiders.

In coupe form, the 4C is expected to come in two flavours initially – a standard version probably priced somewhere between $80,000 and $100,000, and a deluxe launch variant with a bunch of extras, priced from about $100,000 to $120,000.

The Spider, with its removable targa roof panel, is expect to go for a similar price to the special edition launch coupe, around the $100,000-$120,000 mark.

Officially, the 4C Spider shown at Geneva is a “pre-series car” - something more developed than a concept but not quite production ready – but Alfa insiders say the design will be changed little by the time the production model surfaces.

One feature that definitely will remain is the new headlight design that, unlike the coupe's exposed LED units, has an enclosing transparent cover for a neater, more traditional and less polarising appearance. However, the exposed look will stay on the coupe, they say.

Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester said the “war on weight” that was waged on the 4C coupe in its development continued with the Spider, helping to keep the topless version's mass “well below 1000kg”. The Spider powers from standstill to 100km/h in 4.5 seconds.

The powertrain is mounted behind the two seats, driving the rear wheels.

Powered by Alfa's new aluminium-block 1.75-litre 180kW engine mated with a dual-clutch automatic transmission, the 4C has been charged with leading the revival of the Alfa brand in North America.

In Europe, more than 1700 4C coupes have been sold since its launch in the second half of last year.

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