Drawing steady crowds when it debuted at the Geneva International Motor Show last week, Alfa Romeo's new 4C concept was on the tip of nearly every editor's tongue as a show favorite. While the allure of the two-door's matte red finish and seductively crisp design flourishes turned heads, the marriage of supercar inspiration with a compact body will go into production in 2012 and suggests a bold future—perhaps even a hotly-anticipated return to the U.S. market—for the brand.
Based on the success of their flagship, limited-edition 8C Competizione, introduced in 2007, as well as the 8C Spider, the rear wheel-drive 4C shares a look "shaped by the wind." Designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Center, the body doesn't just borrow lines from vintage Alfa Romeo's, like the famed 6C 1500 and 6C 2500, but uses the same weight and power distribution ratio that made those cars so fast.
What the 4C lacks in power (four-cylinders compared to the brawny eight of its forerunners), it makes up with clever suspension layout and a lighter-weight frame, comprised mostly of carbon and an aluminum rear, to ensure maximum agility—which isn't to say that the engine doesn't pack a punch. At 200+ horsepower with a top speed of 250 km/hr, a new "twin dry clutch" transmission, going from zero to 100km in under five seconds) and a system that eliminates turbo lag, you can already find this gasoline engine in current production models like the Giulietta, a compact Alfa that has fans salivating for it to come stateside.
If parent brand Fiat coming to the U.S. is any indication, the company will likely use its Chrysler platform for the 4C, which would make it the first model to hit these shores since Alfa Spiders ceased production in the mid-'90s. While there's no word on price yet, (though it will hit somewhere below the Competizione's $100,000 tag), here's hoping a suitable repair network comes with it.