By Jennifer Geiger on April 16, 2014
Competes with: Porsche 911, Jaguar F-Type
Looks like: It's stunning and resembles a smaller, sleeker version of Alfa's limited-production 8C Competizione
Drivetrain: All-aluminum, 237-horsepower, turbocharged 1.75-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine and a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission
Hits dealerships: The limited-production Launch Edition model goes on sale first in June, followed by the regular 4C
After many, many delays, the Alfa Romeo 4C is finally here. We've been hearing about the impending arrival of the compact, lightweight sports coupe, which marks the return of the Alfa Romeo brand to the U.S., since 2010 when parent Fiat announced a 2012 on-sale date. We got a glimpse at a would-be production version last year, but it never went on sale.
Better late than never; the actual production model was just unveiled at the 2014 New York International Auto Show, and the automaker promised a June on-sale date. Two versions will be offered, the 4C and a limited-edition 4C Launch Edition; only 500 of the latter will be available and it will go on sale first.
The two-seater's arched profile, curvy bodyside lines and large triangular shield grille are sure to turn heads. With a low, wide stance and gaping nose air intakes close to the ground, the overall look is elegant but aggressive and unlike anything on the road today. Round LED taillights and a carbon fiber spoiler also help convey a powerful stance from the back.
Although complete specs aren't in yet, Alfa says it put an emphasis on weight savings and that the 4C is much lighter than competitors thanks to a liberal use of carbon fiber and aluminum in its structure and body.
The initial Launch Edition model will be available in three special exterior colors: Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione and Madreperla White. It will ride on staggered 18-inch (front) and 19-inch (rear) forged wheels painted in Dark Gray and accented by red-lacquered brake calipers.
Inside, Alfa says the emphasis is on the driver with cockpit-like controls within easy reach. Highlights include a leather-wrapped dash, sport seats, a flat-bottom performance steering wheel with paddle-shift controls, aluminum pedals and a 7-inch full-color thin-film transistor instrument cluster.
The Launch Edition model adds black microfiber sport seats, more leather trim, red or white interior accent stitching and a unique "Launch Edition" plaque.
The mid-engine rear-wheel-drive coupe gets power from an all-aluminum, 237-horsepower, turbocharged 1.75-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Alfa estimates a 24/34/28 mpg city/highway/combined rating.
Four driving modes are available: All-weather, Natural, Dynamic and Race. The modes alter throttle and transmission responses as well as stability control settings. According to the automaker, the special edition version's Launch Control mode delivers an extra boost of acceleration as soon as the driver releases the brake. Alpha pegs the 4C's zero-to-60-mph time in the mid-4-second range in Race mode with launch control; the coupe has a top speed of 160 mph.
The Launch Edition model adds a race-tuned suspension and performance-tuned shocks, Alfa says, along with specific exhaust.
No word yet on pricing; the 2015 4C will be made in Italy at Maserati's Modena facility.
Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer