Gorgeous Alfa Romeo 4C to to enter U.S. market

Alfa Romeo announced it would begin production of its 4C sports car this year, and will make it available in the U.S.

Alfa Romeo 4C
Alfa Romeo will show the production version of the 4C in Geneva ahead of its launch in the U.S. Alfa Romeo

It was love at first sight when Alfa Romeo debuted the 4C concept car at the 2011 Geneva auto show. At that time, Alfa Romeo said it would put the car into production, but it has been an excruciating two years waiting for any news of the car.

Now the wait is over, as Alfa Romeo announced it would not only show the production car at the 2013 Geneva auto show, but will also sell this beautiful little two-seater in the United States.

The 4C is a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive car, a perfect formula for excellent handling. The production vehicle will be just over 13 feet long, 6.5 feet wide, and under 4 feet high. Alfa Romeo kept the weight low by building the car on a carbon fiber chassis.

The 4C name refers to the four-cylinder engine, a direct injection turbocharged 1.75-liter power plant with variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust. Alfa Romeo did not release total power output numbers, but did say the car will have a power-to-weight ratio of 8.8 pounds per horsepower. Given its technologies, the engine should also turn in good fuel economy.

A dual-clutch transmission will lend to fast gear changes for performance driving, and the 4C will sport Alfa Romeo's DNA feature, which lets the driver switch between Dynamic, Natural, and All Weather driving modes. In addition, Alfa Romeo adds a Race mode.

No U.S. pricing nor on-sale date has been announced.

Alfa Romeo parent company Fiat made its first foray back into the U.S. when it bought Chrysler and began selling the Fiat 500 here. Bringing Alfa Romeo back to the U.S. would give Fiat a premium brand, with likely bigger profit margins. However, because of the 4C's small size and limited passenger room, it will remain a niche car.

CNET's coverage of the 2013 Geneva auto show begins on March 5.

Alfa Romeo 4C
The 4C uses a mid-engine architecture, which should make for good weight balance. Alfa Romeo

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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