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Future models - Alfa Romeo - 4C

Alfa Romeo 4C detailed

Bella: The 4C will spearhead Alfa’s return to North America, as the brand re-positions itself as a more dedicated sportscar maker.

Mid-engined Alfa 4C pricier than Porsche Cayman in UK, full details revealed

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Alfa Romeo logo18 Sep 2013

By MIKE COSTELLO



ALFA Romeo’s lightweight and mid-engined 4C coupe will cost more than a Porsche Cayman in Europe, but not in Australia.

The Italian marque this week announced full mechanical details on its sexy mid-engined flagship, as well as a UK market starting price of £45,000 drive-away ($A76,500) – a figure that exceeds the more powerful base Cayman by some £6000 ($A10,200).

But while the Cayman kicks off in better-equipped Australian guise at $107,100, Alfa Romeo’s local arm is projecting the 4C will kick off somewhere between $80k and $90k depending on currency flows when it arrives here by next June.

The Italian car-maker’s new flagship has enormous strategic importance, because it is earmarked to drive the brand’s return to the US market. Because only 3500 units will be made in Modena (alongside Maserati coupes) each year, supply will be limited.

Indeed, the entire Asia Pacific region will get only 500 units of the car a year. Alfa Romeo Australia director of corporate communications Karla Leach tells us the local operation is in “constant contact” with global headquarters to knuckle down the final allocation.

The Australian distributor this week confirmed to GoAuto that it has received 100 expressions of interest, but pre-orders have been put on hold until the local allocation is determined.

Alfa Romeo's Australian management is believed to have asked its dealerships to stop taking cash-down orders for the 4C until it can get a firm idea of the number of cars it will be able to sell here a year.

A company spokesman who did not want to be named told GoAuto that it did not want to disappoint customers, some of which had made a "substantial deposit" for the coupe, if Alfa Romeo could not fill its order books to meet pent-up demand.

The 4C is pitched as a direct descendent of the famous Alfa 33 Stradale. Some basic sportscar ingredients are in place: a lightweight and stiffened monocoque made from carbon-fibre, rear-drive, a mid-mounted turbo engine and a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (no manual!).

The carbon shell weighs just 65kg, keeping kerb weight down to 895kg. Weight distribution is 40:60 front-to-rear weight distribution, and the 4C is capable of generating 1.1g of lateral acceleration and in excess of 1.2g of deceleration force.

Power comes from a version of the Giulietta QV’s 1.75-litre turbo four mounted right behind the two occupants’ heads, punching out 179kW at 6000rpm and 350Nm from 2100rpm. Power falls short of the 202kW Cayman, but the kerb weight gives the 4C a better power-to-weight ratio.

The double-clutch transmission is paired with an updated Alfa DNA driving mode selector, with a Race mode added. Alfa claims the 4C can dispatch the zero to 100km/h sprint in 4.5 seconds.

The double-wishbone front suspension is secured directly to the monocoque while the rear uses a performance-tuned MacPherson arrangement. The brakes, supposedly engineered with track use in mind, employ a patented aluminium/cast iron hybrid construction complete with ventilated, cross-drilled 305mm front and 292mm rear discs clamped by Brembo callipers.

As we know, there will also be a special, limited-production Launch Edition, which getting a carbon-fibre bodykit, darker alloys and front air intakes, a sports exhaust, firmer suspension tune, new cabin stitching and a handful of extra kilowatts.

Production of the special Launch Edition will be capped at a single run of 1000, with a small number locked away for Australia alongside the regular, cheaper car. The LE will command a circa-$20,000 premium, meaning a final sticker price of between $100,000 and $120,000.

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