Would You Buy It? The 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa romeo 4c concept
It looks like Chrysler and parent Fiat are resurrecting another European marque in the U.S. After reviving the Fiat brand in 2011 with the 500, it's Alfa Romeo's turn to woo U.S. consumers. The question isn't if, but when, and what will the brand's inaugural U.S. model be?

The first Alfa to hit U.S. dealerships will most likely be the svelte, sporty 4C coupe. It's not something for the average luxury-car shopper. The 4C met the public in concept form at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, turning heads with its curvaceous silhouette and carbon fiber body. There, Alfa CEO Harald Wester confirmed that it'd be the first U.S.-market Alfa; production should begin in 2013.

If done right, it could be an eye-catching way of attracting newcomers to the brand. But it may not be the smartest move. Shouldn’t Alfa make its first U.S. production car a more mainstream vehicle, like the brand’s own Guiletta four-door hatchback that shares components with the Dodge Dart? Instead, the 4C will be a pricey, limited-production luxury coupe.

Alfa romeo 4c concept-3
Wester called the 4C "our bridge between the Alfas of today and Alfas of tomorrow." Translation: Alfa's current lineup is aging and there's no reason to bring the outdated vehicles to the U.S. now and disappoint consumers. He said the 4C will be a global car, "bringing the brand to countries where we are absent, starting with the United States." Translation: Its current cars are too European for U.S. tastes, and the U.S. is important because financial woes for Fiat and Europe's lingering economic difficulties have hurt the brand and continue to cast a shadow on the U.S. rollout's timeline. The U.S. is a bigger market and one that is booming in terms of luxury sales, which could help lift a European brand.

Rumors of Alfa's return to the U.S. after an almost-20-year hiatus have been floating around for years. Early last month, the Italian automaker trademarked the 4C nameplate, registering it with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, making its plans a little more concrete. Sergio Marchionne — who runs all of Chrysler and Fiat — also confirmed both the Alfa brand's return to the U.S. and the 4C going on sale in North America by the end of 2013 during a "60 Minutes" interview.

Alfa romeo 4c concept-2
Fiat's Maserati division recently announced it will start building the 4C next May at its plant in Modena, Italy. It expects to produce up to 2,500 4Cs a year there, the automaker said in a statement. If even half of those make it to the U.S., you're looking at very small numbers. Will there be enough 4Cs on the streets for the brand to gain traction?

The 4C is a rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger coupe. With a wheelbase of less than 96 inches and an overall length around 156 inches, it's compact in size and lightweight. The concept’s carbon fiber and aluminum body helps keep it to a slim 1,874 pounds.

It should be agile and quick on its feet, too. Powering the concept is a mid-mounted 200-plus-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder. Alfa Romeo says it'll do zero to 62 mph in less than five seconds, and its weight distribution is 40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear axle. Fiat and Chrysler spokespeople couldn't confirm the production version's powertrain, however.

Alfa romeo 4c concept-1
What is more certain is that when it gets here, it's likely to be pricey. Fiat Engineering Chief Mauro Pierallini has told several European publications that the 4C should cost around 45,000 euros, which translates into $59,013 at today's exchange rates. At that price, it will be pitted against the Porsche Cayman, which starts at $51,900. The strategy is reminiscent of Lotus, the European carmaker who joined the U.S. market with similarly priced, limited-production lightweight sports coupes. The brand never really gained traction here, however.

Alfa's limited production plans and the 4C's higher price seem like a risky strategy for a brand looking to enter such an important market. At the very least, if the production version looks only half as good as the concept, it should be a big auto show draw. Tell us, would you buy it?

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Comments 

AlfaAndy

I currently own an Alfa spider and love the car. 60 large for a new one seems too high for a successful return to the US. The new car looks great and I am sure it is fast and nimble like most Alfa's, but I don't think this is the right car to start with. The guiletta or mito makes more sense and then build from there. Either way, I can't wait for Alfa to return to the US!!!

Vulpine

Personally? Something more along the lines of a Guiletta coupe would be A) More attractive and B) Different enough to draw the eye. As Fiat has already shown, you've got to be different to draw attention and presenting a "mainstream" sedan just isn't going to do it.

I will grant that the 4C will catch the eye, but with a price range approaching that of the Corvette, it's going to immediately say, "You can't afford me, so why try?"

This car is awesome. Well, buying this expensive car is not that regretful knowing its quality and durability it really awesome dude. Thank you for introducing this car.

Pat

Considering that the body of this car is in carbon fiber justify largely that price... Considering that the other brands selling that kind of technology and level of performance are much(!) more expensive, that makes it pretty attractive, I think. And that concept is really...sexy,not a common word to describe a car :)

Innocent Bystander

The 4C will be produced in such limited numbers to begin with that I'm not even sure that anyone can call this a legitimate relaunch. We got the 8C a couple years ago but nobody can realistically say that Alfa is back...so why assume that they will be back with this if they will only sell a handful of them???

At the same time, the MiTo is too slow, is front-wheel-drive, and based on the Fiat Panda in Europe. If Alfa wants to establish itself as a high-end brand, this is not the car to relaunch the brand with either.

The Giulietta makes more sense to relaunch the brand...but Fiat has chosen to forego that option in favor of releasing the Dodge Dart, a car based on the Alfa Giulietta instead.

I'd like to see Alfa relaunch itself in the USA with a mass-produced, rear-wheel-drive sports car styled by Pininfarina instead of the 4C above. Unfortunately, Fiat has not allowed Alfa to produce a car like this since they bought the company over 20 years ago.

I won't buy a 4C.

Paul

If I had nearly $60,000 and wasn't looking for something practical (say, a Cadillac CTS-V wagon), I would consider this, the closest thing to the old GTV coupes of 1986 and earlier. However, like other posters said, I would wait until the new Giulia and Giulietta arrive here, both of which will start a bit under $30,000, and would be a viable alternative to say, a Focus ST or GTI. When mass market models and a dealer network are established, only then can we say Alfa has returned.

I fell in love with Alfa Romeo when I was 12 years old, and my cousin picked up a used 164. Since I learned that they were coming back to the US, I've been waiting and saving money for another car and who knows, I may end up buying a new Alfa within the next decade.

JH

Innocent Bystander, the MiTo is based on the platform used by the Fiat Punto, not the Panda. Do try and get your facts straight. Both the Punto and MiTo are fantastic B-seg hatches and are originals on their own merits. Saying the MiTo is slow is more gibberish, and any hatch that small is FWD and fun for being so. Even BMW is working on a FWD 1-series because RWD just isn't right for that size car.

Don't but a 4C, no one really cares.. @_@

Erius

would i buy it..? im planning to.. i love the looks and the specs are ok but reason id choose this over the Porsche is the Porsche Cayman is too common and i don't like that as for a first car coming to the us market isn't that bad something new to look at and its better more sport car options to look at.

AlfaRacingAssoc.

Owned street & road raced Giulia 1600GTV & 2000GTV, so definitely know what an Alfa should be. Also saw 147s at Chrysler CTC when I worked there. Alfa engine ia a Fiat FWD! Blah.
Nope, wouldn't consider a 4C as way too expensive.
Yep, would really go for the RWD Spider & Giulia variant. Question is: When will they get to the USA? Even early release of the FWD Giuletta along with the Fiat 500 would have been a better Alfa relaunch. Just needs a 1600 or 1750 engine to differentiate, not the puffed up 1.4.

kevin

car is tight. they need to come back to america asap.

DavidNJ

Depends on the weight and the price. 250hp, 2000lb, and $35k equipped? Yes. 200hp, 2500lb, and $45k equipped? No.

More likely to buy the convertible than the coupe. It would replace a 2750lb, 240hp, $31k Honda S2000.

Light weight is the key. The Dodge Dart is 500lb heavier than the Alfa Giulietta, that would be a deal killer.

James TerakazisGeneraljimt

Anything but BMW...Please, please, please Alfa come back!

Roy

I would spend the money without a second thought. Based on the success and market value of the 8C it will be a solid buy. Just worried it will be difficult to get my hands on one at actual stricken price.

George J. Loder I

A more practical and sensible approach would to promote the Giulia and Giulietta first; however, a means of special ordering the 2014 Alfa Romeo 4C with the Zagato TZ3 Corsa and /or Stradale following. The void of Alfa in the US has gone on too long. For the past 2 generations (in the US), the horse and bull have been the only examples of fine Italian design. I for one would like to see a coupe designed around four full sized passengers (along the line of the Alfetta Gtv/Gtv6 or Lancia Beta/Delta coupes.) “Life is too short to not drive Italian.”

Chuck

It looks like my Lotus Exige.Compare anyone ?

carma

Similar in concept to the lancia stratos. A used toyota MR 2 would be a better cheaper alternative.


Frank

I have had several Alfas over the years and still have a couple in my garage. The daily driver and track car is currently a 2012 BMW M3 comp pack. You can bet I'll be trading that on a 4C. I can't wait!

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