2011 Alfa Romeo 4C Concept live photos
According to a report from Top Gear, the body will not be carbon-based, but will instead by made of SMC, or sheet molding composite, a glass-fiber reinforced polyester sheet material. Like carbon fiber, however, SMC's strengths are its lightness and its rigidity, so the weight differential in the production car versus the featherweight 1,875-pound concept may not be huge.
Fortunately, Alfa says the car will look almost identical to the show car, which is a very, very good thing. Power output is now shooting for 230 hp, all from a turbo 1.75-liter four-pot, which, when combined with the still 900-kg (1,880-lb) target weight, should make for some excellent fun--especially given its mid-engine platform and rear-wheel drive.
A dual-clutch gearbox with paddle shifters handles cog-swapping duty, and it's all supposed to clock about 4.5 seconds to 60 mph and about 45,000 GBP. That would translate to about $69,800 at current exchange rates if the calculus were run straight-up, but that's rarely the case with cars that make the journey from Europe, meaning we could potentially see the Alfa 4C squeak in right around the $60,000 mark, perhaps lower.
If trading a carbon fiber body for an SMC body is what it takes to keep the price low and the style and performance high, we're all for it. Now about that wait...