NEW YORK—After a nearly 20-year absence, Italian car maker Alfa Romeo is returning to the U.S. market.
Alfa CEO Harald Wester says the company plans to ship around 100 4C sports cars to the U.S. this June and a total of 800 cars to the U.S. for the full year. Shipments will grow to 1,200 in 2015.
Daniel Labre, national product communications manager for Chrysler Canada, said no shipping numbers or official launch date for Canada has been announced.
Wester calls the 4C an “affordable supercar.” It’s hand-made in Italy and has a 1.7-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower, and starts at about $54,000.
The “4C” name references Alfa Romeo’s great sporting tradition: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s racing and road cars fitted with powerful eight- and six-cylinder engines.
The styling leans heavily on the 1967 33 Stradale, the street version of its racing Type 33—widely considered one of the most beautiful cars of all time.
Two composite-framed sport seats, thermoformed dashboard and exposed carbon fiber frame highlight the coupe’s uniqueness. Its flat-bottom performance steering wheel with paddle-shift controls and aluminum pedals evoke a racing spirit.
A 7-inch full-color thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster displays simple, high-impact graphics to keep the driver focused on the road or track.
Engineers even optimized the 4C’s windshield and side windows, using 10 per cent thinner glass to reduce weight by up to 15 per cent.
It’s 1.7-litre direct-injection 237 horsepower aluminum engine includes direct-injection, intercooler, dual (intake and exhaust) continuous variable-valve timing (VVT), eight counterweights, and intake and exhaust systems optimized for its mid-engine layout.
A new generation turbocharger features a pulse-converter exhaust manifold exploit pressure waves and boost torque at low-engine speeds. A waste gate valve adjusts turbo pressure and improves the engine’s efficiency. Advanced “scavenging technology” maximize the 4C’s torque at low engine speeds by increasing combustion efficiency and turbine speed, all while eliminating turbo lag.
Torque delivery is instantaneous, with a peak of 258 ft.-lb. (350 N•m); 80 percent of which is available at only 1,700 rpm.
The 4C’s Alfa DNA selector enables the driver to optimize performance through four modes. With a touch of the Alfa DNA selector, the character of the Alfa Romeo 4C can be adjusted to:
All-weather – ensures maximum control under adverse weather conditions and enables gentler accelerator input and special engine and brake control logic to match road speed and prevent skidding
Natural – grand touring comfort and smooth drivability for the Alfa TCT gearbox
Dynamic – more aggressive powertrain calibration and less intrusive electronic stability control (ESC) setting
Race – ESC and anti-slip regulation (ASR) are deactivated to allow the driver to control traction through the accelerator pedal. The Alfa Romeo Electronic Q2 differential control system remains active for fast exits out of corners or bends
Launch control – deliver supercar-level 0-to-60 mph acceleration blasts in the mid-4 second range
For driving convenience in Dynamic, Natural or All-weather modes, the Alfa Romeo TCT gearbox can be set to automatic mode.
Check out this video of the stunning Alfa Romeo 4C:
With files from The Canadian Press