The key to performance in a car like the new Alfa Romeo 4C is its low curb weight. That's why Alfa made its chassis out of carbon fiber, the subframes and engine from aluminum and the bodywork out of composites, helping to keep the whole package down below the 2,000-pound mark. But that magic number will only hold true overseas. In the US, it'll be a good 220 lbs heavier.

That's because US safety regulations, according to reports, will add an extra 100 kilograms to the car's curb weight, now expected to come in at 2,204 lbs. In order to comply with those regulations and earn its certification for use on the Great American Road, Alfa's engineers had to add some aluminum reinforcement to the carbon monocoque, modify the substructures for impact absorption and fit a new fuel system as well.

Those kinds of additions add up to the point that the US-spec 4C will likely be a bit slower to 62 than the 4.5 seconds quoted for the European model. Here's hoping that the lag won't be too significant.


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  • 89 Comments
      Jim1961
      • 1 Year Ago
      This car is beautiful except for one thing. You can't see it in this picture but from a different angle those are the ugliest headlights I've ever seen and I drive a Nissan Leaf.
      icemilkcoffee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like a huge engineering fail. Looks like they added in the reinforcements purely as an afterthought.
      MistyGreen
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hm. Sure seems like the North American version was not high on the priority list. I bet they just added stuff instead of reworking/designing parts and strengthening them a bit.
      Bill Burke
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm sure the difference will be undetectable to the average driver. Once Alfa Romeo gets a few models here in Fiat dealerships it will wake up that whole dealer network and give even cousin Chrysler a boost. Over time I expect the lingering doubts about Fiat to morph into an semi exotic Italian image that will bring the smart set to these brands because they ARE Italian and Italian is sooooooooooo HOT. Chrysler will then tout it's Fiat connection even more and bring more Alfa Romeo and Maserati platforms to it's domestically engineered vehicles. I believe that it will be the Chrysler brand that will benefit most, as I just have to believe that a luxury sports car and a whole host of other niche models will be spawned off these platforms using Chrysler mechanics and less expensive interiors to fit in neatly without diminishing either brand. Chrysler platforms will also be heading to Alfa Romeo, Lancia and Maserati as the synergy between the divisions plays out in a non stop cascade of exciting vehicles all sharing DNA. Now, how would this 4C look dressed out in Chrysler garb? I bet will find out in due time.
      hocus_focus
      • 1 Year Ago
      2200 pounds isn't bad. Will still be a hoot to drive.
      rmt_1
      • 1 Year Ago
      While it would be easy to criticize the added weight, without knowing precisely why these changes were made and whether or not the final product is significantly improved, complaining about these changes and their weight is clearly premature. Fiat's reintroduction of the Alfa Romeo brand to the US is an extremely delicate matter for them and I imagine that they are proceeding with extra caution with the 4C. I find the fact that Fiat felt that they had to use a different fuel system to be a quite telling clue about how well the non-US 4C survived the US rear impact test and is the most likely reason for design modifications; it would not be hard to imagine that engineers had fearful visions of critics comparing the car to a Ford Pinto if the test caused a measurable fuel leak, thus jeopardizing the brand's future here. However, this type of situation is not without precedent for Fiat; the US version of the Fiat 500 had to have practically its entire rear end re-engineered for the rear impact test and I believe this new design is now the world standard now for the 500 and I wouldn't be surprised to see whatever changes made to the US version on the 4C will be eventually adopted as the world standard as well. Unfortunately, we will just have to wait a while for a direct comparison between the US and the non-US versions of the 4C to know if the changes hurt the car's dynamics enough to be detectable by the driver.
      Jeremy Pennini
      • 1 Year Ago
      Any word on the US front/rear weight split?
      Naturenut99
      • 1 Year Ago
      Would you rather be alive and the car 200lbs heavier or be dead and the car 200lbs lighter. Maybe that's a stark contrast but the point is very valid.
        Nick Allain
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Naturenut99
        Your logic sucks. Would you rather be dead or not eat another cupcake? Cupcakes contribute to obesity in the same way that lack of aluminum reinforcement contributes to crash injury.
        JayH
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Naturenut99
        because european roads are SO unsafe!
      mitytitywhitey
      • 1 Year Ago
      Beating a dead horse here, but why can't consumers pick their own safety level in 4-wheeled vehicles? We allow 2-wheeled vehicles with no safety equipment. Quite obviously, if someone is choosing to buy a 2000 lb car, they aren't expecting a minivan. So why does the NHTSA force Alpha to cross every 4-wheeled vehicle with a minivan? Let me guess, fuel economy will suffer from the extra weight as well? Yeah, thought so.
        Vlad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        a) people killing and (especially) injuring themselves is a cost to the society b) most drivers will have someone other than them in their car at least sometimes
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Because people are too stupid to choose by themselves. And in the United States it would end up with lawsuit because people would not 'understand' why the lighter cheaper version is not as safe. It's a no-win situation.
        carnut0913
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        its for your own good. trust us.
          Dave D
          • 1 Year Ago
          @carnut0913
          LMAO Thanks for the laugh :)
        John
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Motorcycles will soon be regulated into having ABS brakes as well as traction control. Catalytic converters are already standard and soon they'll be mandated on even small engines with the way the government & greenies are pushing.
          SteveG
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          Good, you should not be allowed to pollute just because you ride on two wheels. How about we mandate some damn mufflers on the things too.
          Kuro Houou
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          I am all for safety, especially on motorcycles. ABS is one of the best things to come to motorcycles in a long time, so thank the government for mandating that. Now they just need to force helmet laws in all the states. If they can force seat belt laws you think helmet laws would be just as wise!
          Actionable Mango
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John
          @methos1999, I don't agree with that argument because we allow skydiving, bungee jumping, dirt biking, skateboarding, motorcycling, scuba diving, and a whole bunch of other things that are more dangerous than say, sitting peacefully on a bench.
        Sorten Borten
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        One reason consumers can't pick their own safety level is because if they picked the less safe option, then everyone else pays when they get into a life threatening accident and their medical bills exceed their coverage. Motorcycle regulation is increasing. The only option that fixes the motorcycle risks is to ban them completely, and there's no chance of that happening.
        thatitaliankid321
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        Well I would want a light car to fare well if a Suburban decided to rear end me so i wound end up lodged in the Suburban's engine bay
        icemilkcoffee
        • 1 Year Ago
        @mitytitywhitey
        The real reasons for regulations is fairness and economy of scale. If manufacturers are allowed to sell unsafe cars, then the chinese manufacturers would swoop in and start selling their unsafe cars for $10000 and undercut all the other car makers. Eventually you will see a downward spiral, and everyone will start cutting back on safety. Pretty soon, you would have to pay a big premium for safety and nobody would be able to afford a safe car.
      Mark Schaffer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Where are the mature adult writers at? Certainly not here. If writers want cars that can break the speed limit this quickly let them rent a vehicle at a racetrack and kill themselves there. I have no interest in in juvenile fantasies anymore.
        EZen
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mark Schaffer
        Are you really upset that AutoBlog is talking about the performance specs of a car? It's kind of the point of this site...
          Sorten Borten
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZen
          I'm just speculating, but he's probably referring to the fact that Noah is bemoaning the increase of a couple of tenths of a second to 60 mph in exchange for a significant increase in safety. Every vehicle manufacturer has to meet the same safety regulations. It's a level playing field. Why wouldn't these rules apply to Alfa?
          Mark Schaffer
          • 1 Year Ago
          @EZen
          No...just tired of idiots with obsessions about acceleration on public roads...and then braking hard for the next red light.
        Andrew Berardinelli
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mark Schaffer
        No need to end a question on a preposition either.
        Stirling Matheson
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mark Schaffer
        You realize that the whole point of this car is speed right? The 4C isn't going to be terribly useful at the hardware store. It's basically a track day car that can be driven on the road so you don't need to tow it.
      David MacGillis
      • 1 Year Ago
      This should answer everyone\'s question about why the heck American cars are so damn heavy.
        thequebecerinfrance
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David MacGillis
        Because they are big? The Cruze is heavy yet it's competition is much lighter, who are you going to blame?
        Hello, Brian
        • 1 Year Ago
        @David MacGillis
        However, not all cars sold in the US are heavier than their European counterparts.
      Colin
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm surprised they didn't engineer it for all markets from the outset.
        gtv4rudy
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Colin
        Maybe because Alfa thought there is only one way to engineer a light weight sports car. (Like a chef preparing a special dish, you don't mess with the ingredients)
          The Wasp
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          If you're a chef and you want to sell your food in multiple countries and your food doesn't meet code in all of those countries, then yes, you would 'mess with the ingredients'.
          Hello, Brian
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          Isn't that akin to making a fish dish for someone who is allergic to fish and then complaining that it is ruined when another protein is used?
          gtv4rudy
          • 1 Year Ago
          @gtv4rudy
          keep driving your pickups.
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