While almost every teenaged boy wishes for a sports car (or tries to turn the family car into one), the target market for small sports cars with high performance is those who are a touch more affluent. Such vehicles are designed for great performance and handling on the race track or the open roads and are seldom purchased for mere transportation. They are not designed with practicality in mind, but trade on what is possible. Possibility has its cost, but those who buy sports cars feel it is well worth it.
That is what the new Alfa Romeo 4C does - it shows what is possible when you merge creative and engineering.
In considering an Alfa Romeo 4C coupe or the upcoming 4C Spider convertible, small and light are beautiful qualities. Its svelteness is obvious when comparing to a somewhat larger Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
• The car measures 3,990 mm long, 1,868 wide, 1,184 high, with a 2,380 mm wheelbase. In comparison, a Giulietta measures 4,351 mm long, 1,798 mm wide, 1,465 mm high, with a 2,634 mm wheelbase.
• While the small family car has a curb weight of 1,355–1,395 kg, the 4C's curb weight is just 895 - 1.025 kg (dry) in Australia. The 4C chassis alone weighs just 65 kg. The outer body is made of a composite material 20% lighter than steel but just as stable. The engine block is made of aluminium to make it weigh less too.
• The 4C is a two-seater with just 110 litres in the boot, in contrast to the Giulietta's 350 litres. The 4C offers reduced amenities to save weight, so the smaller trunk prevents the driver from overloading it.
• Its low-profile lines include curves in all the right places to make it slim and muscular. Though the Giulietta is rounded and beautiful, it is bulkier than the small sports car.
The purpose for the small size, light weight, and shape in the 4C is to achieve good aerodynamics. All these things influence factors such as drag (wind resistance), wind noise, and lift at high speeds, handling around corners, and road grip. When you add in a little physics that says that what is lighter is usually faster, you more fully understand the reasons for the 4C's compact size and light weight.
The 4C is able to reach speeds of 258 k/hr, with acceleration rates of 0 - 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds.