Alfa 4C: Sports car secrets
A SUPERCAR MASTERPIECE: Alfa Romeo and Maserati teamed-up to bring the 4C compact supercar to life. SA fans can expect this model to arrive on our shores later in 2013. Image: Quickpic
There are a few ingredients to creating something as beautiful as Alfa Romeo’s 4: performance and engineering excellence, driving satisfaction and breath-taking style.
The baby supercar will reach South Africa before the end of 2013, just after the European markets, with pricing confirmed at R799 990 - read on for more details.
The Alfa Romeo 4C developers have combined the best technical and manufacturing competencies from Alfa Romeo’s design and Maserati’s manufacturing functions.
Maserati is meticulous when it comes to hand-crafted work and it’s no surprise the plant is situated in the birthplace of one of the world's most famous sports cars. Modena offers tradition, technology and know-how but most of all the driving passion was added by the team who conceived, designed and built the Alfa Romeo 4C.
A CLEAN SLATE
The 4C was created on a clean slate and designed not only to be an exclusive car but also to become an achievable dream for Alfa Romeo fans.
The clean slate, which was initially free of design and constraints, was soon assigned new challenges, the first of which was a supercar weight/power ratio less than 4kg/kW.
To achieve the ratio, Alfa designers decided to reduce vehicle weight by using lightweight materials to a total weight of just 895kg - making the 4C one of the lightest cars in the world.
The vehicle weight is achieved using aluminium, steel, lightened SMC and carbon fibred materials (25%)
Alfa Romeo says the monocoque (65kg) was designed by a specialised team and manufactured by Adler Plastic. Thanks to this approach, the "pre-preg" technology inspired by Formula 1 was also transferred to standard manufacturing, so much so that Alfa Romeo is the only brand capable to assure a production of over 1000 pieces per year.
By the end of the 1930s, all Maserati manufacturing was transferred to a plant located in Viale Ciro Menotti in the city of Modena. Cars such as the Quattroporte, Granturismo and Grancabrio have come off the production lines in the last ten years.
The creation of the Alfa Romeo 8C was the first time the Maserati plant opened its doors for the first time to another brand with similar tradition and ambition.
The 4C is inspired by the century-old tradition of Alfa and its designation refers to the automaker's heritage. In the 1930s and 1940s the names 8C and 6C were used for cars fitted with the powerful eight and six cylinders.
The car uses technologies and materials derived from the 8C Competizione. The latest Alfa tech has been added to the new model - 1750 turbo petrol engine, "Alfa TCT” dry clutch transmission and the DNA selector with a new Race mode.
ALFA OF ALFAS
One of the reference models in terms of dimensional and layout similarities is the 1967 33 Stradale, an elegant vehicle with vertically-opening doors.
This same combination of "lightness and efficiency" was also the basis of unforgettable Alfa Romeos developed in the past, such as the 1938 8C 2900 B Touring and the 1952 1900 C52 "Flying Saucer," a car that could reach 230km/h and only weighed 760kg.
The first 4Cs are scheduled to be delivered towards the end of September 2013 whereas the US version will be launched in November. Only 3500 cars will be available during its first year of which 1 000 are destined for the European markets.
The Alfa Romeo 4C will arrive in SA during late 2013 with limited “Launch Edition” versions while production models will follow in 2014.
The models will differ with the inclusion of various carbon-fibred parts:
Exterior - front air intake, rear spoiler, head light surrounds and side mirrors
Interior – instrument cluster, gear lever and racing steering wheel
Dark alloys, red brake calipers, racing suspension and exhaust system, LEDs as well as a choice of Carrara White or Rosso Red paints that will differentiate the launch model.
The 4C will carry a three-year or 100 000km warranty and maintenance plan. Pricing starts at R799 990.