Alfa Romeo 4C on the Nürburgring

A few weeks ago we brought you a report that Alfa Romeo had hustled its new 4C around the Nürburgring in 8 minutes and 4 seconds. Which we found pretty impressive at the time, but now Alfa has both confirmed the time and released video footage of the attempt.

To put the time in context, that makes the 4C not only as quick around the Green Hell as an Audi R8 – a considerably more powerful and expensive car with at least twice the cylinder count – and the quickest four-cylinder lap this side of a Caterham R500, but also the fastest car ever to lap the legendary German circuit with less than 250 horsepower. (To be specific, the 4C packs a 1.7-liter turbo four with 240 horsepower, translating to a 4.5-second 0-62 time.) The 8C that preceded it never clocked an official Nürburgring lap time (that we know of) but we have to assume the 4C would still stand as the fastest roadgoing Alfa ever to lap the circuit even if it had.

The time was set by expert Nordschleife test driver Horst von Saurma in a stock 4C equipped with the optional tire upgrade and more black electrical tape than a Kiss concert tour. You can check out the footage (along with the official announcement) below, but if you're anything like us, you'll be wondering how long it will take the Italians to learn that dramatic background music drowning out the engine note and screeching tires does not make for a more exciting video.

UPDATE: Ford points out that its Formula Ford EcoBoost ran a faster time at the Nürburgring with less power, clocking a 7:22 lap time with a 205-horsepower 1.0-liter three-cylinder engine. Alfa's claim, then, would be for the fastest production car under 250 hp.

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18 October 2013
Alfa Romeo 4C completes "the Green Hell" of the Nürburgring in just 8'04''

- The supercar completed the fastest lap on the Nordschleife in just 8'04'': a record-breaking time amongst all cars with engines under 250 HP and in line with times set by sports cars with much higher prices and more powerful engines

- Less than 4 kg/HP, 4.5 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h, 137 HP/litre and 1.2g of deceleration: Alfa Romeo 4C guarantees even the most expert driver extraordinary performance and sensations

- The supercar used the special Pirelli Zero Trofeo tyres, the most sporty version in the Pirelli P Zero line, also type-approved for road use on the German track

The new Alfa Romeo 4C on the Nordschleife, the historic Nürburgring circuit. On 12 September it stopped chronometers at 8'04", the top time of cars with engines under 250 HP and in line with times set by sports cars with much higher prices and more powerful engines. Driver, journalist and expert on the German track Horst von Saurma was behind the wheel.

The test conducted at the 'Green Hell' of the German complex is one of the countless tests that the Alfa Romeo supercar had to face in every part of the world, from the -35° in Sweden to the +40° of Abu Dhabi, from the Arizona (USA) deserts to the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily, and from the Balocco (VC), Italy track - where all Alfa Romeos have been developed, perfected and tested since 1962 - to the one at the Nürburgring.

Used by car manufacturers the world over as a test track over the past few years, the Nordschleife is marked by a particular configuration that alternates slow and fast curves, straight stretches and ups and downs to make it an outstanding testing ground for determining the soundness of a project.

In short, the 'Green Hell' proved to be the ideal place to put the performance features of the Alfa Romeo 4C to the test. This true driving machine without compromise delivers its best precisely on the track, where speed, short braking distances and transverse acceleration are essential to get first-rate lap times: from 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds flat, 258 km/h of top speed, deceleration peaks in the range of 1.2 g and lateral acceleration peaks over 1.1 g. All this is achieved also owing to an optimum weight distribution - 40% on the front axle and 60% of the rear axle - and to a weight to power ratio under 4 kg/HP, values worthy of a true supercar.

Its performance was first-rate also due to the combination of the new 240 HP 1750 Turbo Petrol engine with the latest-generation 'Alfa TCT' dry twin clutch gearbox and the advanced Alfa DNA selector with the brand-new Race mode. More specifically, the new '4 cylinder' 1750 Turbo Petrol with direct injection at 200 bar and aluminium block achieves amazing performance. Torque and specific power set new records for this size of engine at over 200 Nm/l and 137 HP/l, respectively, while maximum power of 240 HP (176 kW) is reached at 6000 rpm. The maximum torque of 350 Nm ensures its extraordinary elasticity and sportiness since it is maintained constant between 2100 and 4000 rpm, but 80% of the torque is already available at just 1800 rpm.

Also contributing to the Alfa Romeo 4C's performance at the Nürburgring were the special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres, the most sporty version in the Pirelli P Zero line. A record was set not only on the track, but also in the development of the tyres. Less than one year of collaboration between Pirelli and Alfa Romeo engineers went into the development of the best solution for guaranteeing grip and precision driving of the car, just like in the days of the 159 that Fangio drove to victory in F1. This is how the 'AR' P Zero tyres came into being. Available in two sizes, 17" front - 18" rear and 18" front - 19" rear, they ensure grip, performance, sportiness and precision driving. The 'AR Racing' version, offered in the sizes 18" front - 19" rear, emphasises these features and is ideal not only on the road, but also for use on the track.

Turin, 18 October 2013