Alfa Romeo 4C Concept

Imagine your dream car. What might it include? Lightweight carbon-fiber construction, high-tech engine behind the seats, legendary Italian badge on the nose.... The thing is, that usually means a big fat price tag that runs well into the six figures, if not seven. But while this latest Italian sports car is set to include all those ingredients, its price point is set decidedly lower.

We're talking about the Alfa Romeo 4C, the nimble-looking little number that debuted in delicious matte red at the Geneva show last year, and in liquid-metal finish in Frankfurt just a few months ago. Rumors have been circulating of its imminent production ever since its debut, but now the blokes over at Top Gear say that have the final details on good authority.

According to the report, Fiat has crunched the numbers and figured out how it can produce the 4C while neither breaking the bank nor spoiling the formula. And so the supercar is set to begin testing in the new year and hit the market in the next. And the price? £45,000, according to TG, which equates to about $70K at today's exchange rates. To put that into perspective, consider that is the same starting price in the British market as the Porsche Cayman S – a model which starts here at $62K. UPDATE: Autocar now reports that the 45,000 figure is actually in Euros, not in British Pounds, which would price the 4C below the base Boxster, not the top Cayman.

The Cayman is an ambitious target, but the 4C promises to be both smaller and lighter. A new direct-injection turbo four will drive 230 horsepower to the rear wheels via a dual-clutch gearbox for a 4.5-second sprint to sixty, but is tipped to yield more powerful versions with as much as 300hp on tap and even a roadster version later on.

That last bit promises to be easier to pull off thanks to the carbon-fiber tub – engineered by Dallara – to which aluminum sub-frames will be attached front and rear. The Italian chassis constructor is best known for its racing cars, but also developed the KTM X-Bow, which could in and of itself give us the best idea of what to expect if and when the 4C assumes the place originally reserved for the 8C Competizione in finally heralding Alfa's return to the North American market.