Alfa Quiet About Big News in the Big Apple

No news conference, but Italian maker marks its return to U.S. market.

by on Apr.17, 2014

An Ala Romeo 4C beckons NY Auto Show visitors.

Alfa Romeo is giving New York the silent treatment – which might seem odd considering it’s on display at this year’s New York Auto Show for the first time in years as it prepares its long-awaited return to the American market.

The maker had several products on display at NY’s Jacob Javits Convention Center but decided to forego staging a formal news conference, apparently due to the high cost of such an event, several sources told TheDetroitBureau.com. But they stressed that the Fiat Chrysler subsidiary is firmly on track for its planned mid-year resurrection – which comes more than two decades after it pulled out of the States.

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The Italian maker, long known for its sleek and sexy sports cars and other high-line models, will initially focus on the 4C in its bid for a U.S. rival. That’s a curvaceous little two-seater that will initially be offered at around $70,000, Alfa choosing to emphasize a heavily loaded version likely to appeal to “Alfisti” who have been clamoring for the brand’s return.

It will later add a more basic version of the 4C expected to start at something closer to $54,000. And there’s a good chance that hardtop model will eventually be followed by a production version of the 4C Spider Concept Alfa unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show last month.

(Click Here to check out the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider.)

The interior of the Alfa 4C.

The 4C has been on sale in Europe for awhile but was repeatedly delayed by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne who wanted to be absolutely sure the American version would be in line with the market’s expectations. Among other things, he insisted on developing the right engine – with the right sound.

All versions will be powered by a mid-mounted 1.7-liter 4-cylinder engine churning out 237 horsepower. That might not sound like much in an era when the new Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe is producing more torque than a NASCAR race car, but by making heavy use of lightweight carbon fiber panels and components, the 2-seater weighs in at barely 2,000 pounds, and that pint-sized engine will deliver near-supercar levels of performance.

Alfa is listing a 4.5 second 0 to 60 launch, with a top speed rated at 160 mph.

Among the features added to the initial U.S. version of the 4C:

  • A full leather interior;
  • A track-tuned suspension;
  • Racing seats;
  • 19-inch alloy wheels; and
  • Additional carbon fiber elements.

(To check out all of TheDetroitBureau.com’s NY Auto Show coverage, Click Here.)

The base version is expected to follow by August.

Alfa is working up a number of other models which Fiat Chrysler CEO Marchionne has suggested might also make it to U.S. over the next several years.

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