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Canada: This is your Alfa Romeo 4C

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2014 Alfa Romeo 4C

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This is it: the first Alfa Romeo to be sold in North America since the mid-1990s: the mid-engine, two-seat, rear-wheel-drive 4C.

The head of Alfa's parent, Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne, has promised it will arrive in North America before the end of this year. The Porsche Cayman-fighting Alfa will make its debut at next month's Geneva auto show and then go on sale in Europe, where it's expected to be priced under $80,000.

The 4C will be longer than a Lotus Elise, but wider than a Porsche Cayman. No official power figures are available yet, but a 1.7-litre turbo-four is expected to make around 270 hp and be mated exclusively to a twin-clutch automatic transmission.

The Alfa Romeo 4C replicates the concept first seen at the Geneva Show in 2011. The acronym '4C' draws its inspiration from the brand's sporting past: the acronyms 8C and 6C in the 1930s and 1940s distinguished both racing and road cars that were fitted with powerful and innovative eight- six-cylinder engines.

The 4C uses technologies and materials derived from super sports cars (including the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione), such as carbon fibre, aluminum, direct injection and a twin dry clutch transmissions with selectable 'Race' mode.

The two-seater is just under four metres long, 200 cm wide, 118 cm high and with a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres.

-- Postmedia News

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