The Alfa Romeo 4C, seen here track testing, will cost from £45,000 when it goes on sale next month.
The 4C, conceived as a supercar-beating sports car with a combination of light weight, modest power and agile handling, is already on sale in the form of the £52,000 Launch Edition.
Alfa has acheived 215bhp/tonne with the 4C's 237bhp 1.7-litre turbocharged engine, meaning a 0-62mph sprint time of 5.0 seconds and a top speed of 160mph. The engine is mated to the latest generation of Alfa's dry twin-clutch transmission. Up to 80 per cent of the car's 258lb/ft of torque is available from 1800rpm, something that Alfa says underlines the flexible nature of the new engine. Rumours still persist that a V6-engined option will also become available in the future. Alfa's DNA driver select system is also incorporated, and now also features a new 'race' mode.
With a dry weight of just 895kg the Alfa Romeo 4C is certainly lightweight. Carbonfibre accounts for just ten per cent of that weight, but makes up over a quarter of its volume including forming the 65kg tub. A special formulation of sheet moulding compound composite is used to form the body, while even the glass for the windows has been pared down by up to 15 per cent to reduce weight.
Alfa Romeo says the 4C can acheive up to 41.5mpg on a combined cycle and emits 157g/km of C02.
The 4C's front suspension uses a double-wishbone configuration, while the rear suspension features a tuned McPherson arrangement. The brakes have been engineered with track use in mind, and sit on 17-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels. Optional 19-inch wheels can also be ordered.
The 4C is built at Maserati's Modena plant in dedicated workshops, occupying space previously used for production of the Maserati Quattroporte. Overall, each 4C takes between 20 and 25 hours to build. The company says it has the capacity to produce up to 1000 units per year. Alfa Romeo says the car is the spiritual descendant of its 33 Stradale, built between 1967 and 1969.