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Alfa 4C delivers on promise to offer affordable supercar

Powered by a 240-hp 1.75-liter gasoline engine, the Alfa Romeo 4C will accelerate from 0-100 kph in 4.5 seconds.
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Alfa Romeo's 4C coupe delivers the brand's promise to offer a true supercar at a reasonable price. The 4C, which starts at 53,000 euros ($71,000), combines a downsized engine with a very lightweight body to achieve supercar acceleration -- it takes just 4.5 seconds to go from 0 to 100kph.

The vehicle is expected to arrive in the U.S. next year in Maserati dealerships. U.S. pricing has not been announced.

The 4C will give Alfa a halo model as sales of the brand's other two cars, the MiTo subcompact and the Giulietta compact, decline as they get older. Last year, Alfa's global sales fell to about 102,000 from 132,000 in 2011.

FAST FACTS
Why is the 4C a supercar?
It has a supercar-like weight-to-power ratio of less than 4kg/hp. The six-speed dual-clutch transmission, developed by Fiat, has gearshifts made in the same way as in Formula One cars with paddles behind horizontal spokes on the steering wheel.
How powerful is the 4C's engine?
The 4C debuts a new all-aluminum 1.75-liter turbocharged gasoline direct-injection engine capable of 240hp.
How much does the 4C weigh?
The 4C weighs just 895kg thanks to its carbon fiber cockpit with front and rear aluminum frames and a body made from SMC (Sheet Molding Compound), a low-density, high-resistance composite material.
Is the 4C available now?
The 4C is built-to-order; delivery is usually about six months after the customer makes a deposit. A special edition unveiled at the Geneva auto show, that cost 7,000 euros more than the standard 4C, was sold out within 10 days of its unveiling in March.
Will there be 4C variants?
Alfa plans a roadster version, to be called the 4C Spider. It will have an easy-to-remove carbon fiber roof and is expected to debut at the Geneva show in March 2014. Alfa plans to build 26,000 4C coupe and Spider units over seven years.

Alfa has been promised two new vehicles by parent Fiat -- the Giulia mid-sized sedan and wagon, as well as an unnamed large SUV. These projects, however, have been delayed and there is no set launch date for either vehicle. Maserati makes the 4C in its Modena plant alongside the Maserati GranTurismo coupe and GranCabrio convertible.

THE BASICS
Launch date: October (Italy); November (rest of Europe); 2014 Q1 (Asia-Pacific); 2014 Q2 (United States)
Base price: 53,000 euros (Italy)
Main rivals: Lotus Elise, Porsche Cayman
Annual production: 3,500 (1,000 for Europe, 1,200-1,500 for North America, rest for Asia-Pacific).
Where built: Modena, Italy (Maserati plant)
Lowest CO2 emissions: 157g/km

You can reach Luca Ciferri at lciferri@crain.com.


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