Alfa Romeo may already be plotting a hotter 4C variant

Alfa Romeo has just finished unpacking the brochures at its newly-minted U.S. dealerships, but there’s already speculation regarding what the iconic Italian brand’s next move will be.

After all, ending a 19-year hiatus with a lightweight carbon fiber sports car will only keep enthusiasts occupied for so long.

A potential point of criticism for the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C is its 1.75-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which produces a sports-car worthy 237 horsepower, but probably not enough for bar boasts.

Alfa owner Fiat apparently agrees. Harald Wester, the company’s R&D chief, told Car and Driver that there’s room for improvement.

Both the engine and the chassis can handle extra power, Wester said. Engineers apparently left some room for tuning the engine, while the 4C’s carbon fiber monocoque is quite stiff.

While the 4C has just arrived, it wouldn’t be unusual for Alfa to add new variants as time goes on, to keep things fresh.

Porsche has done this pretty successfully, spicing up the previous-generation Boxster and Cayman with the Spyder and R models, respectively, and adding GTS versions to current lineup. Perhaps Alfa will take a page from the 4C’s most likely rivals and do the same.

Power would likely be more important to a more hardcore 4C, though. Porsche builds sportier models by stripping away luxuries, but the stock 4C doesn’t have many to begin with.

Speaking of possible 4C variants, it would also be great to see a production version of the 4C Spider concept from the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Dustin Hoffman would certainly approve.