The Alfa 4C: Light and Rare

Gary S. Vasilash

The last time an Alfa Romeo was sold in the U.S. was in 1995, the year that Bill Clinton was in the White House, Val Kilmer was Batman, and O.J. went on trial. A long time ago.

It is scheduled to return to the U.S. in 2014, with the Alfa Romeo 4C.

But don’t plan to see a whole lot of them in the U.S. or anywhere else, for that matter, because production of the two-seater sports car is going to be limited to 3,500 units. The reason for this number, Mauro Pierallini, Fiat European product development head, told Automotive News Europe, is because, “The carbon fiber chassis is our production bottleneck. This is the maximum our supplier, Adler Plastic, can build. Otherwise, we would need to double the investment.”

Alfa tub

For the European version of the 4C (the U.S. model needs modification to handle things like crash regulations), the one-piece monocoque weighs 65 kg. The bodywork is made with sheet molding compound because it was determined to be a lighter approach than using either steel or aluminum. While many OEMs note that they’ve increased the thickness of their glass in order to reduce noise, the glass used for the 4C is 15% thinner than the norm.

All this in pursuit of lightness.

The Euro 4C weighs 895 kg, or 1,973 lb. It measures 3,989 mm long, 1,864 mm wide, 1,183 mm high, and has a 2,380 mm wheelbase (or 157, 73, 46.5, and 93.7 in., respectively).

Perhaps of greater interest: it has a 0 to 62 mph time (a.k.a., 0 to 100 kmph) of 4.5 seconds and a top speed of 160 mph.

Alfa 4C