For fans of Alfa Romeo in Western Pennsylvania, there’s good news. The brand venerated for its supercar levels of technology and performance is returning to Pittsburgh this year, offering the all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe. While a fraction of the cost of most supercars, it will only be sold at 86 dealers in the U.S. Fortunately, Baierl Alfa Romeo of Wexford is one of those 86 dealers, and the only Alfa Romeo dealer located in Pennsylvania, at least initially.
“This group of dealers represents the first phase in the Alfa Romeo dealer network selection process,” said Peter Grady, vice president of Network Development, Chrysler Group LLC. “Each Alfa Romeo dealer will have a unique staff dedicated to the brand’s premium market clientele. We require each Alfa Romeo dealer to have their sales and technical staff go through an intensive curriculum to ensure the highest levels of customer care and proficiency of the Alfa Romeo 4C. We anticipate that the Alfa Romeo dealer network ultimately will exceed 300 franchises in North America.”
The re-entrance of the Alfa-Romeo brand to Pennsylvania and the U.S. is worthy of note. And its new 4C Coupe, as expected, is a technological marvel.
“The all-new 4C marks the return of ‘the great Alfa Romeos' and represents the purest formation of the brand’s DNA with its supercar-levels of performance and innovation, all while focusing on making the driver an integral part and completion of the machine,” said Harald Wester, CEO of Alfa Romeo. “With its technological solutions derived directly from Formula 1, the Alfa Romeo 4C creates an infusion of body and machine, an extension of its driver’s soul that is ready, capable and willing to respond and deliver.”
Carrying a sticker of $68,400, the Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition and its less-expensive sibling the standard 4C Coupe arriving this fall at $53,900 excluding destination, will offer many of the traits that have made Alfa Romeo synonymous with technological advancement and sports car performance.
The inspiration for the all-new 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C dates back to the 1967 33 Stradale, a version of the racing Type 33, which is considered one of the most beautiful cars of all time. Like the 33 Stradale, the 4C Coupe shares its body forms and follows a performance tradition with an Italian-styled composite body over a state-of-the-art carbon fiber and aluminum structure.
To create the ultra-lightweight architecture needed for maximum performance and dynamic efficiency, Alfa Romeo 4C engineers looked to Formula 1 racecars and only the most advanced supercars for state-of-the-art materials. The result is a shell made of carbon fiber that delivers extraordinary stiffness and strength.
Attached to the Alfa Romeo 4C’s shell are front and rear cell structures, roof reinforcements and an engine-mounting frame made from lightweight aluminum.
Alfa Romeo engineers continued the use of state-of-the-art materials by creating bodywork of sheet molding compound, a low-density, high-strength composite material that is 20 percent lighter and dimensionally more rigid than steel. Providing the ability to create complex shapes while saving weight by 20 percent compared to steel are injected polyurethane fascias and a rear spoiler. Engineers even optimized the Alfa Romeo 4C’s windshield and side windows by using 10 percent thinner glass to reduce weight by up to 15 percent.
Finally, two sport seats feature a carbon fiber and fiberglass reinforced-composite structure to deliver the strength and seating position needed for performance driving.
Under the hood, the 4C has a direct injection all aluminum powerplant making 237 horsepower. The engine also features technological innovations such as an intercooler, dual continuous variable valve timing and intake and exhaust systems optimized for the 4C’s mid-engine layout.
A new generation turbocharger features a pulse-converter exhaust manifold to exploit pressure waves and boost torque at low-engine speeds. A waste gate valve adjusts turbo pressure and improves the engine’s efficiency.
Advanced scavenging technology enables the Alfa Romeo 4C to maximize torque at low engine speeds and deliver more response to driver input by increasing combustion efficiency and turbine speed, all while eliminating turbo lag. As a result, torque delivery is instantaneous, with a peak of 258 ft.-lb., 80 percent of which is available at only 1,700 rpm.
Teamed to the all-aluminum engine is a paddle-shifting Alfa TCT twin-clutch transmission, which has been specifically tuned for the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C. The Alfa TCT system also integrates a “launch control” mode – delivering the utmost acceleration possible as soon as the driver releases the brake.
With its technological innovations, the new Alfa Romeo 4C will compete nicely in the sports car segment. It also offers a very affordable alternative to those seeking supercar-like performance. Best of all, the new Alfa Romeo will be available just up the road in Wexford.