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Safer Australian Alfa 4C gains 130kg

Healthy weight: Greater impact strength has added bulk to the carbon-fibre structure of Alfa Romeo's much anticipated 4C sportscar, but not as much as American versions.

Extra safety features for Australia push Alfa Romeo 4C over 1000kg

19 Jan 2015

AUSTRALIAN versions of Alfa Romeo's lightweight road-racer will arrive Down Under carrying more than 10 per cent extra baggage over Euro spec cars, with extra safety features adding a whopping 130kg to its weightBeefier side impact protection and a tougher passenger cell are responsible for the weight gain over the 895kg European model but despite its 1025kg unladen weight, Alfa Romeo says acceleration is unaffected, matching the 4.5 second dash to 100km/h of the lighter car.

The Australian safety-boosting structural modifications are similar to those required by more stringent standards in the United States, but with even more crash protection, the American-spec Alfa 4C balloons out to about 1120kg.

A Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia spokesperson told GoAuto the official acceleration time of 4.5 seconds “is a conservative number” and a figure that the heaviest US-spec cars have repeatedly achieved in testing.

With a significantly lighter kerb weight, Euro and Australian vehicles could therefore better American cars in the the zero to 100km/h dash, clocking times closer to 4.0 seconds.

Output from the 1.7-litre four-cylinder is the same worldwide with 179kW and 350Nm produced by the 1742cc turbocharged engine, but the seven-speed double-clutch automatic transmission is also modified for the American market.

US versions of the 4C have gained an extra cooling vent ahead of the rear wheel on the nearside to provide more cooling air to its transmission – possibly as a result of the heavier vehicle putting strain on the driveline.

The small exterior duct takes air through the carbon-fibre bodywork to the mid-mounted transmission providing more efficient cooling than standard airflow and ambient underbody air.

Despite the little Alfa needing more breath in the hottest American climates, FCA told GoAuto the vent would not be required for the 4C to keep its cool here, with the pretty exterior unchanged from European-spec cars.

The US is the only global region requiring the extra vent, with even the most blistering climates such as the United Arab Emirates satisfied by standard gearbox cooling.

The first examples of the baby racer will arrive on Australian soil next month priced at $89,000 before on-road costs for the entry-level 4C or $109,000 for a special Launch Edition, which will be limited to just 75 units.

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