The Italian carmaker returns to the American Market.
by Nathaniel Stillman
Eighteen years have gone by since Alfa Romeo decided to leave the American automotive market in 1995. One of the most passionate European brands seemed to have lost the love of the Americans. However, some unforgettable memories remained, like Dustin Hoffman driving one of their models in the 1967 film The Graduate. But the Italian brand is not satisfied with just reminiscing about good old memories, and has decided to make a come back. It plans to unleash the seductive appeal that made them a favorite in the old continent: elegant and original Italian design with a sporty vibe.
Alfa Romeo returns to the United States with the 4C, a two-seater with rear-wheel drive, to be produced in the Maserati factory located in Modena. One of its main features is its compact design, which aims to give the car greater agility. It measures less than 13 ft. in length, 79 inches wide and 46 inches high, and has a wheelbase of 8 ft. It only weighs less than 2,000 lbs. thanks to a chassis made entirely of carbon.
The Alfa Romeo 4C boasts a new four-cylinder gasoline turbo engine of 1,750 cubic centimeters, which offers an output of 240 horsepower. This propeller is connected to a dual-clutch automatic transmission, which allows the driver to sequentially engage the speed he wants through the cams on the side of the steering wheel, just like in competition cars. The performance that results from the combination of this motor and its reduced weight is not found in other cars in the market. It can go from 0 to 60 mph (100 kph) in just 4.5 seconds and reaches a top speed of 155 mph (250 km/h).
Alfa Romeo strives to unify in a single model the traits that have made it a cult brand for many Europeans. Their style is completely different and original. Their models have always tried to transmit the Italian passion for bodywork design, offering at the same time continuity in the interior of the vehicle, in the driving style and even in the character of the engine.
Although currently their popularity in the United States is very low, Alfa Romeo is one of the automotive companies with more history of Europe. They recently celebrated 100 years of existence, having been founded in 1910 in Milan. Their good reputation was forged in major automotive sporting competitions during the middle of the last century. In fact, the history of the Alfa Romeo team is one of the most extensive in the Formula 1 World Championships, where it achieved important victories competing with other historic car manufacturers such as Ferrari and Maserati.
With the new 4C, the Italian company wants to clearly underline its historical character. This acronym is inspired and refers to their former 8C and 6C, two models that enjoyed a great reputation in Europe during the 30s and 40s.
The Alfa Romeo 4C will be available for purchase in Europe with a limited edition that will have an approximate price of $78,000. It is not yet known how much it will cost stateside, where it will arrive at the end of the year.
Will Americans remember Alfa Romeo when it returns to their streets and highways? It is very likely. The sporty 4C has enough strength and beauty as to rekindle old passions and conquer new hearts. ■
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