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Alfa Romeo 4C concept (photos)

Cutting its 8C Competizione model in half, so to speak, Alfa Romeo launches the 4C as a concept in Geneva. Similar to the 8C, the 4C is a lightweight sports car. But the 4C is much smaller, and can achieve similar performance with a lower-displacement engine.

Wayne Cunningham
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive 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.
Wayne Cunningham
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The compact 4C shows typical Alfa Romeo styling, with beautiful curves rising up from the hood of the car and continuing all the way to the rear. The 4C is Alfa Romeo's attempt at an efficient sports car, the model designation half that of the 8C Competizione.

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In concept form, the 4C shows very few body panel gaps, the whole front of the car seemingly molded as a single, solid piece. Alfa Romeo constructed the body out of carbon fiber, which helps keep overall weight down to 1,874 pounds.

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At a little over 13 feet, the 4C is longer by about 8 inches than the Lotus Elise. Both cars employ lightweight materials and use a mid-engine layout. With 60 percent of its weight over the rear wheels, the 4C should handle well.

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Although a concept, these headlights are not inconceivable for a production car. The main light is a typical HID, while surrounding LEDs projected through translucent plastics are not far off from current LED running lights in cars.

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Alfa Romeo hides the door latches in the air intakes, minimizing body disruption. The intakes feed air to the engine's turbocharger.

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The side mirrors show carbon-fiber trim and a strip with the colors of the Italian flag. The 150 is a little mysterious. Alfa Romeo did not say what it represents, but fans of the company probably have a good idea.

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Side blinkers on the front fenders feature the words "Centro Stile Alfa Romeo," the name of Alfa Romeo's design studio.

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The front of the 4C features a quadrilateral suspension, while the rear uses MacPherson struts.

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LED tail lights puncture the carbon-fiber body form in the rear.

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Supercar-style, the engine, a turbocharged 1.75-liter direct-injection four-cylinder, is visible under the rear glass. The engine box does not look well insulated from the cabin, so the engine will produce some audible clatter.

Back to 2011 Geneva auto show.

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