TURIN – Once again Alfa Romeo is aiming to draw attention at the Geneva auto show next month with another presentation of its 4C mid-engine sports car.
The 4C’s main mission is to keep Alfa alive in people’s minds until new products are launched in a couple of years, as well as spearhead the brand’s return to the U.S. market.
The show car first was presented in Geneva in 2011 and again in 2012, with only minor design changes made to the most recent rendition.
The compact, nimble and sexy 2-seater coupe has what it takes to make the press and enthusiasts long to get the car to the track: An organic shape, dark red paint, race-oriented cockpit and a power-to-weight ratio to challenge Porsche.
Body and soul come from racing seeds. Race-car specialist Dallara has designed and engineered the carbon-fiber undebody similar in concept to the X-Bow sports car developed for KTM.
The Alfa Romeo 4C measures 78.7 ins. (200 cm) wide and less than 157 ins. (400 cm) long. It weighs less than 2,200 lbs. (1,000 kg) and is powered by a small but high-output 1.8L turbo 4-cyl. engine generating 240 hp.
The 4C is expected to be an instant collector’s item when it goes on sale late this year. Less certain is whether Alfa Romeo will be able to make a profit, even if it sells all 2,500 of the cars planned for production at the Maserati factory in Modena.
Prices likely will start above €50,000 ($67,000), well into Porsche Cayman territory.
CEO Sergio Marchionne is keen to keep Alfa Romeo on the sales charts untiland are fully merged and ready for an initial public offering. The renaissance of Alfa, along with Maserati, is considered critical for the success of the IPO.
Last year, Alfa Romeo sold fewer than 100,000 cars worldwide. Marchionne, like most of his predecessors, is promising to build brand sales to some 300,000 units annually after a new wave of new products is released by 2015.