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Exclusive pics: Alfa Romeo 4C sportster
There’s one pretty spectacular number attached to the Alfa Romeo 4C. It’s not the 240bhp 1750TBi direct injection turbo engine. Or that the company’s only drip-feeding 1000 special launch editions to market. Or the £50-odd grand pricetag. Or the 155mph top speed. It’s its 895kg weight.
Because it’s so light, the relatively diminutive output doesn’t really matter - in power-to-weight terms, it has 268bhp per ton. That’s more than the lightest Porsche Cayman S (246bhp per ton), and even a base model 911 Carrera (253bhp per ton), albeit £20,000 cheaper than the latter. Add that to a mid-mounted engine, 4.5-second 0-62mph time and it really promises fireworks.
Designed by Alfa boffins, with Dallara on aerodynamic duties, and bolted together in the Maserati plant in Modena, the Alfa’s a feast of super-tech lightweightery. There’s a hand-made carbon tub underneath, with front and rear frames made from aluminium, skinned in something called SMC, which is a lightweight form of GRP.
Alfa boss, Harald Wester, tells us: “It really is a mini supercar”. Marco Tencone, design chief at Alfa (as well as Maserati and Lancia) also told us that just as the 8C generated excitement through big power, the 4C does the same thing through agility, thanks to its mid-engine and light weight. The aim in styling the 4C was to evolve the recognisable characteristics of the 8C, and to adapt them for the different proportions.
Tencone says, “We wanted it to look technical, like a cloak over the mechanical arts. The unpainted carbon parts - air vents, diffuser and light surrounds - are like the frame coming through the skin.”
And the best news is, this isn’t some limited-numbers halo jobbie. As Paul Horrell reported last year, Alfa did the sums about build method and price on the basis of selling 18,000 of them over the lifetime of the car. That means there won’t be just one version. A cabrio must be included in the list, as it’s an easy conversion when the tub’s carbon.
We’ll be driving it late this summer, but in the meantime brim your eyes with our exclusive pics.