Alfa Romeo’s return to the US market has been said to be in the works since 2008. Like some other Fiat subsidiaries, Alfa hasn’t exactly had the strongest lineup in recent years. Therefore, it is understandable that it would want to beef up its lineup some before beginning to sell cars , here in the United States, again for the first time since 1995. A new Spider based on the Mazda MX-5 is generating some excitement, but the brands flagship for their return to the US will be the 4C, first seen in concept form at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The mid-engine little sports car will theoretically be positioned as a Lotus Elise fighter, and Alfa’s own rather ambitious literature describes it as a “compact supercar”.
The engine in the concept was a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder producing 300 horsepower. The car is light, thanks to the carbon fiber body, and there is a theoretical 0-60 time of 4.5 seconds. On top of all this, it is absolutely gorgeous, and beats the Lotus in the looks department without question. As exciting as this all is, it is still just a concept, and there is no guarantee that any of it will make it onto a production version of the car. But we could be seeing a production version as soon as March, as the Geneva Motor Show is once again expected to be the venue of choice for the 4C unveiling.
This is in keeping with the latest time frame we’ve heard from Alfa concerning their plans for a stateside appearance. Though the 4C was originally supposed to make it over this year as a 2013 model, it is currently expected in late 2013 or early 2014 as a 2014 model. The 4C concept actually looked pretty close to production-ready in 2011, and one can’t help but wonder how much needed to be changed considering it will be two years between the debut of the concept and the debut of the production car. Surely, most Alfa fans are hoping that the Italian automaker have changed as little as possible, especially when it comes to those typically beautiful Alfa good looks. Perhaps more important though, the 4C will be responsible for making a positive first impression of the brand to many Americans, and it simply won’t do for it to be met with the same sort of indifference that Fiat encountered upon its return to the US with the 500. For Alfa Romeo’s sake, let’s just hope that’s not the case.