Alfa Romeo will be using the production version of its stunning 4C sports car concept to spearhead its relaunch in the U.S., which as we previously reported has been pushed back to 2013 due to design delays for several crucial models, one of which is the highly anticipated Giulia mid-size sedan.

The 4C will be a low volume model but a halo effect should help lure potential customers to Alfa dealers.

The good news is that anyone already sold on the concept version’s gorgeous styling may be able to scoop one up for $45,000--or even less.

The information was revealed to Inside Line by executives at Alfa Romeo. They also revealed that prototype versions of the mid-engine sports car should start testing around the middle of next year.

To bring the 4C in at that price level, its body is likely to drop the carbon fiber construction seen on the concept version in favor of cheaper fiberglass-based sheet molding composites. Like carbon fiber, however, sheet molding composites’ strengths are lightness and rigidity, so the weight differential in the production car versus the featherweight 1,875-pound concept may not be huge.

Italian firm Pierallini is expected to handle most of the design and production work for the 4C’s chassis. Production volumes are expected to reach around 18,000 units over the lifetime of the car.

Delivering something north of 200 horsepower from a direct-injected and turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder while weighing in at a nearly unbelievable 1,875 pounds (that's more power and less weight than a Lotus Elise), all wrapped in a stunning little mid-engined package, the 4C is sure to win fans not just for its badge or its looks, but for its abilities.

We can’t wait.