The Alfa Romeo 4C had a lot of media coverage in recent months and rightfully so, as it is the most anticipated model from the Milanese firm in decades. As the mid-engined lightweight sports car goes on sale this month in Europe and in the United States a few months later, Fiat is describing it as a “masterpiece” for the Alfa Romeo brand.
In an interview with Autonews Europe, Fiat’s European product development head, Mauro Pierallini, said the 4C it’s better than the Lotus Elise.
“I cannot deny they have something in common, but the 4C is better than the Elise in many aspects: from a comfort point of view, for the handling characteristics, for performance,” Pierallini answered when asked if the 4C is an Italian Lotus Elise.
He added that the Elise was not Alfa Romeo’s target with the 4C. “We built this car because it's in the Alfa Romeo DNA to create very small and light performance cars. I'm proud to say we made another masterpiece that will remain in Alfa's history,” he said.
Pierallini also said the engine of the 4C, a 236hp (240PS) 1.75-liter turbocharged direct injection gasoline engine sourced from the Giulietta hatchback, is the first of a new family of performance engines dedicated to the Alfa Romeo brand.
There is some bad news for American Alfa Romeo fans, as the U.S.-spec 4C will be about 100kg (220lbs) heavier. “We had to add some aluminum inserts in the carbon fiber chassis. The U.S. crash test requires a different structure to absorb different impact forces. We also had to comply with rules covering the gasoline tank, the fuel lines and emissions,” Alfa’s product boss detailed.
In Europe, the 4C will weigh 895kg (1,973lbs), which means the U.S. version of the car will tip the scales at just under 1,000kg (2,204lbs). Pierallini didn’t say how added weight would impact on performance, but common sense says the U.S.-spec 4C will be slower to 100 km/h (62mph) than the 4.5 seconds declared by the automaker for the EU-spec car.
By Dan Mihalascu