Currently reading: Geneva motor show 2011: Alfa Romeo 4C
Geneva show concept, a 200bhp-plus, mid-engined two-seater, will make it into production in 2012;

Alfa Romeo has unveiled one of the undoubted stars of the Geneva motor show: the 4C Concept. And the firm has already confirmed that a production version of the exciting sports car will be in dealerships next year.

The 200bhp-plus, mid-engined two-seater, which measures around four metres in length with a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres, is likely to be the first of a family of small Fiat group sports cars over the next few years - including a standalone Abarth version.

As such, the Alfa showcases a new lightweight construction that promises a kerb weight of under 850kg. It’s powered by a 1.7-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as used in the Giulietta, and features a twin dry-clutch transmission.

Alfa has declined to specify a precise horsepower figure for the motor but it produces 232bhp in other uses. It’s powerful enough to take the 4C Concept from 0-62mph in “under five seconds” and on to a top speed “of over 250km/h” (155mph).

The 4C has Alfa’s take on double-wishbone suspension at the front and MacPherson struts at the rear; the front/rear weight distribution is 40/60. Alfa says the car will feature its “DNA” technology, which controls throttle response, steering and suspension settings.

The firm says the “chassis supports a body crafted completely from carbon” but stops short of saying that the tub itself is made from the ultra-expensive material. This would appear to point towards a steel spaceframe construction, with aluminium used for sub-frames at either end and carbonfibre (or carbonfibre-reinforced plastic) panels, instead of the much-rumoured use of the KTM X-Bow’s expensive carbonfibre tub.

However, the kerb weight figure is ambitious enough to warrant the extensive use of carbonfibre.

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