Vijay Pattni19 March 2014

Is a hotter Alfa 4C on the way?

Alfa confirms 4C will get Spider's headlight option, and that a new product offensive is on the way

The Alfa Romeo 4C will get regular, yearly updates throughout its life cycle to keep "enthusiasm alive", the company confirmed yesterday.

Speaking to TopGear.com, Alfa's head of marketing Alberto Cavaggioni said feedback for the gorgeous new mid-engined Italian sports car had exceeded expectation, with some 1,700 orders being placed already in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The 4C has yet to be launched in other territories, too.

"We made a promise, and that was every year we will tell you something new about 4C," Cavaggioni told us. He added that the predicted life cycle of the 4C would be "at least" four to five years, and did not rule out a hardcore ‘RS' type model to sit at the top of the range.

"I cannot tell you too much at the moment, but we're working very hard to make sure the DNA of the brand will continue. We know many people and customers are asking for this kind of thing, and we look into them so we'll see," he said.

A pertinent time, then, to remember the Cayman (and Boxster) have just been upgraded. Not that Alberto sees the Cayman as a natural competitor, despite the price similarities. "We don't have a real competitor for the 4C," he says. "We spent quite a bit of time in understanding which is the right car to compete against, but look at it this way: if you want a carbon fibre chassis, you have to get a McLaren. For the price and technology, the 4C doesn't have any competition."

The plan, says Cavaggioni, is to keep the 4C project "animated" and continually evolving through its life. That's why we've seen the ‘prototype' 4C Spider so soon after the Coupe hit production.

"The first update that you saw was the most important one," Alberto said, "and that's the one you saw at Geneva this year. The Spider. We were very keen to make sure we were in a good position to present this car. We believe the UK and its fondness for convertibles and its culture will provide space for this kind of car."

Interest in that drop-top 4C has been huge, Alfa says, and now the company is figuring out ways to bring it to market as quickly as possible. Early 2015 is the target. Speaking of the Spider, TopGear.com also learned that the newer, better headlights on the convertible 4C will be available as an option for the Coupe. Make of that what you will.

On the subject of convertibles, Alberto remained frustratingly tight-lipped about the planned MX-5-based Alfa Spider. However, we know that at the beginning of May, Fiat Group boss Sergio Marchionne will announce a grand plan mapping out Alfa's future product range. Nothing will be revealed before then.

When pushed on whether Alfa could build volume back into the range with a crossover or SUV, Alberto again pointed to the big company announcement on May 6. However, he didn't rule it out. "We've seen many other brands doing crossovers, even if they were building sporty cars, brands like Porsche and BMW, so frankly speaking, as a Group we will always explore any opportunities there."

"Here at Alfa we are working very hard on all the new products, and let's say things are going in a very positive direction for the brand," he says. "We need to let people know the brand is alive. We need to make sure people who have already bought Alfas in the past, buy again, but we need to find the new Alfisti; the new generation of young people. It's why we work so hard on cars like the 4C."

What about a new version of the 6C, then? "I'm very passionate about vintage cars, so we would love to do something like that," says Cavaggioni. "At the moment there's nothing in the plan, but our heritage is the most important thing we have in our brand, and we need to capitalise on that when we have an opportunity to do so," he says.

For now, though, why not tell us how your harder, faster 4C would look?

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