Alfa Romeo are the undisputed kings of building pretty automobiles, well except the 1983 Arna, it was absolutely horrendous. Google it if you don’t believe me. Anyway with the exception of the aforementioned car Alfa Romeo’s look very good indeed. And it looks as if we will shortly be blessed with yet another, the Alfa Romeo 4C.
The car appeared as a concept at the Geneva show at the start of the year in red, it looked good then and now it has appeared at Frankfurt in silver looking even better. To accompany the change of colour Alfa also announced it is going to put the 4C into production next year to the delight of image conscious motorist everywhere. So let’s take a first look at it, and I actually mean look at it…. pretty little thing isn’t it, makes Jessica Alba look like a fishwife. The car clearly borrows from the bigger 8C’s design language but manages to look lower and more purposeful thanks to its mix of angled edges and creases which run the length of the car. The forward raking wide rear stance is created by the air intakes essential to the mid-engine layout. A layout which also means the car gets a suitably curvy rear end, upon which, the simple circular light clusters and twin exhausts, placed as far apart as possible, continue to create that wide low appearance. The windscreen and side windows are almost dwarfed by the creases, however manage to combine to wrap around the car like the visor on a rather purposeful motorcycle helmet.
I mentioned briefly the mid-engine layout, but don’t get any pretence that this is going to be a fire breathing Ferrari rival, there’s no word on there being a V6 in there. Instead the concept features a more modest 1.7 litre turbo four pot with 200bhp mated to a twin clutch gearbox. The 4C will also benefit from Alfa’s DNA system switch, which sets the car up differently depending on what mood you happen to be in, comfort, sporty, or blow your brains out, you choose. All this combined with an extremely low weight of 850kg equates to 0-62 of around five seconds and a 150mph plus top speed. Time will tell if Alfa will put a larger engine in the 4C, however with increasing Euro emissions regulations it looks quite unlikely. More likely we will see the 1.7 litre engine in various states of tune, or maybe even smaller turbo petrol’s.
Alfa Romeo’s 4C when it reaches production in 2012 will bring a much needed boost to the rather sparse small mid-engine coupe sector of the market (you will be able to look beyond a used mercedes SLK). It could also prove to be quite worrying competition for Peugeot’s RCZ and Audi’s now rather bland in comparison TT. I also have a sneaky suspicion that a rather good looking convertible might be on the cards too, should this be a hit with the public, somehow I think it will be.