Alfa Romeo 4C sports car revealed

* Alfa Romeo 4C shown in production form * Turbo engine with up to 300bhp * UK sales confirmed for 2013...

Alfa Romeo 4C sports car revealed

This is the Alfa Romeo 4C, which has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show.

The Alfa 4C is a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive, two-seat sports car with a turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. It is likely to be a rival for everything from the Toyota GT86 up to the Nissan 370Z, although its closest challenger will depend on its final price. It's smaller than most mass-market sports cars, at less than four metres long.

The production car has retained almost all the looks of the concept car that made its debut at the Geneva motor show nearly two years ago. It takes several styling cues from Alfa's ultra-exclusive 8C Competizione, including the treatment of the tail-lights and oversized front grille.

Power comes from a retuned version of Alfa's 1750 Turbo engine. No figures have been issued, but the all-aluminium, direct-injection unit produces 235bhp in the Giulietta and should improve on that figure in the 4C. The engine is said to be capable of more than 300bhp.

Whatever the final output, the engine will be connected to Alfa's TCT dual-clutch gearbox. The 4C will also offer the same 'DNA' configurable vehicle systems modes as the Giulietta and Mito; however, the sports car's version will offer a 'Race' setting alongside the regular 'Dynamic', 'Natural' and 'All-weather' modes.

The car's construction is based on a mixture of aluminium and carbonfibre, which is an expensive solution for a model that will sell in relatively modest numbers. However, Alfa's parent company, Fiat, is likely to use the parts in a number of other vehicles, including a small Maserati sports car. In a move that points to this tie-up, the 4C will be built at Maserati's factory in Modena, Italy.

The Alfa Romeo 4C started 2013 by winning the What Car? Reader Award for being voted the car that users of were most excited about this year. Alfa UK says the car will be available in right-hand drive and sales will begin 'during the course of 2013'.

By John McIlroy