Alfa says 4C's 'supercar numbers' make it ideal car for U.S. relaunch
Photo credit: Georgia Chapman
GENEVA -- Alfa Romeo CEO Harald Wester said the 4C small sports coupe is the ideal model for the brand's relaunch in North America later this year.
The 4C will deliver 240 hp from its 1.75-liter, turbocharged, direct-injection gasoline engine and top out at 155 mph after speeding from zero to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds.
"These numbers underline the supercar status of the 4C," Wester said at a mobbed Alfa Romeo stand at the Geneva auto show today.
Wester was speaking at the introduction of the rear-drive, two-seat 4C, designed to give the struggling marque an image boost and also lead Alfa's return to the U.S. market it quit in 1995.
Alfa enthusiasts have been waiting for the brand to launch an affordable rear-drive model since the Duetto Spider that was discontinued in 1994.
Alfa today said the price of 60,000 euros ($78,200) for the 4C in Europe is for a special "launch edition." Alfa said the car will be sold in dealerships at a lower price, without providing details.
The 4C goes on sale in Europe in September. The automaker did not reveal the car's starting price for the United States, where it will debut in Fiat-Alfa dealerships after November's Los Angeles auto show, Wester said.
Alfa initially planned to price the 4C below 50,000 euros. Some commentators have speculated that the car could be priced at $60,000-$80,000 in the United States, where premium German two-door models are all cheaper. The Porsche Cayman, Audi A5, BMW 329i and Mercedes-Benz C350 all start in the $39,000-$44,000 range.
The 4C retains the styling of the concept vehicle that won acclaim at the Geneva show two years ago. The car is rakish, very compact with extremely low ground clearance and a weight of just under 2,000 pounds. The 4C will come with a dual-clutch, six-speed automatic transmission.
The 4C is the first model to be launched under Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan to turn around the unprofitable Alfa brand. Marchionne said in October he aims to triple Alfa sales to 300,000 units annually by 2016, helped by new product introductions and by U.S sales.
Alfa Romeo will produce 3,500 of the limited-edition cars, Wester said, of which 370 have already been ordered. A total of 1,500 of the cars will be earmarked for Europe, 1,200 for North America and 800 for the rest of the world.
The 4C will make extensive use of super-light carbon fiber components until now only found in Formula 1 racing cars and exotic cars like the new Ferrari F150, another Tuesday debut at the show.
The 4C's light body means that the smallish four-cylinder engine can deliver speeds normally associated with high-performance cars.
Alfa believes the publicity surrounding the 4C's launch in the United States should serve to generate interest in subsequent models, such as the Giulia sedan due out in 2014.
Reuters contributed to this report