Alfa Romeo’s new mid-engined 4C sports car will spawn a convertible version around a year after launch, sources have confirmed. The 4C coupé is expected to be shown around 12 months from now, ahead of going on sale in early 2014.

Fiat’s engineering chief, Mauro Pierallini, has previously outlined a target price of €45,000 (£35,500) for the 4C and a 900kg kerb weight. 

It will be powered by Alfa’s direct-injection 1750 TBi turbo four, and if it meets its weight target the 4C is expected to hit 62mph in 4.5sec.

The 4C will be the halo car for the reinvention of Alfa and is intended to showcase both styling presence and technical excellence. It will feature the new-generation 1750 engine, with an aluminium block rather than cast iron (saving 25kg) as well as upgrades to the high-pressure fuel injection. The engine will drive a dual-clutch automatic transmission equipped with paddle shifters.

Early development of the car was carried out by Italian race-car specialist Dallara, which developed the carbonfibre structures for the Alfa 8C, Bugatti Veyron and the KTM X-Bow. However, Alfa has subsequently taken the development process in-house, handing responsibility to a small specialist team headed by Pierallini.

Aluminium subframes, bolted to the carbonfibre tub, carry the running gear and powertrain, while the 4C’s exterior panels are made from sheet-moulded composites. The 4C’s shape is also said to generate positive downforce, improving the high-speed grip.

Great efforts are being made to translate the 4C’s dramatic interior styling into production, although it won’t be an exact copy of the concept car. Pierallini says Alfa will build 18,000 4Cs over the lifetime of the car, although the factory that will make it has yet to be chosen.