The £50,000 Alfa Romeo 4C has been conceived as a supercar-beating sports car whose combination of light weight, modest power and agile handling might be expected to see off heavier, more powerful and pricier exotics.
“We could see a situation where a 4C driver might easily be quicker on tight, twisting roads, like a mountain pass, than a supercar like the Bugatti Veyron because of its agility and compact size,” says European sales boss Louis-Carl Vignon.
Last week Alfa lifted the lid on some of the technical highlights that might deliver this giant-killing performance, including the first look at its carbonfibre tub, alloy subframes, running gear, composite panels and lightweight glass.
Although the carbonfibre tub makes up just 10 per cent of the 4C’s kerb weight, it accounts for a quarter of the material volume. Aluminium (subframes, suspension and engine block/transmission casing) accounts for 38 per cent of the kerb weight and steel (engine/gears, suspension, rollover protection) 23 per cent. The composite body is seven per cent.
The main figures are a 65kg carbonfibre tub and an 895kg dry weight, which is expected to nudge towards 1100kg as a final ‘in-service’ figure when liquids and a fuel load are added, together with the legally required 75kg driver with luggage.
Alfa Romeo has targeted a weight-to-power ratio of below 4kg/bhp. At the quoted dry weight, Alfa says it has achieved 3.85kg/bhp, sufficient for 0-62mph in 5.0sec. Top speed is 155mph.
Trying to avoid the obvious comparison with the steel-bodied Porsche Cayman/Boxster, Alfa is proud of the 4C’s performance. “We are faster than other similar cars,” says Vignon. “The performance is quite something. This is a real pure-bred Alfa.”