For too long, Alfa Romeo's U.S. return seemed like a dream. Now, that dream is becoming reality, because not only does the storied Italian brand have a new car to sell, it has a place to sell it.

Alfa announced the establishment of a dealer network in the U.S. and Canada, comprising 86 stores drawn from existing Fiat and Maserati franchisees. In the U.S., there will be 82 Alfa dealers in 33 states, with California, Texas, and Florida having the largest concentration. Canada will have to make do with just four dealerships. The Italian carmaker will award additional franchises later this year.

MUST SEE: Enhanced Ayrton Senna NSX Video Shows The Importance Of Footwork

Of course, the only product those dealers will have to sell for the time being is the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C sports car, which arrives in North America later this year. Deliveries will initially be limited to 500 Launch Edition models, which will start at $69,695, while the regular 4C will start at $55,195 (both prices include destination), Autoblog reports.

That comes pretty close to the approximately $54,000 base price previously suggested. Preliminary reports also suggested that the 4C would gain weight on the way to the U.S. and, sure enough, North American models will reportedly weigh 342 pounds more than their European counterparts. Total curb weight squeaks under 2,500 pounds at 2,495.

The increase is attributed to extra safety equipment and a thicker carbon fiber tub. The lighter European model actually skirts certain safety regulations with a sales cap of 1,000 units per year.

Extra weight doesn't appear to blunt the U.S.-spec 4C's performance, though. Alfa estimates it will do 0 to 60 mph in the mid-4 second range, reach a top speed of 160 mph, pull 1.1 g in corners, and 1.25 g under full braking. Stay tuned, as we've driven the car and will be bringing you our first drive report soon.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.