Alfa Romeo is preparing to present a showcar
at in Geneva that offers a radically
different solution in terms of size,
packaging, weight and power. Set to be based
around KTM's Dallara-engineered X-Bow
two-seater extreme sports car.
Alfa Romeo is
preparing to present a showcar at the Geneva motor show
that offers a radically different solution in terms of
size, packaging, weight and power. Set to be based
around the Dallara-engineered KTM X-Bow two-seater
sports car, it will present a potential glimpse of where
Alfa Romeo’s management perceives the future being with
smaller, more efficient cars that slot into the wider
brand strategy, as opposed to its most recent
headline-grabbing ‘halo’ project, the 8C Competizione.
While the 8C Competizione undoubtedly provided a strong
‘halo’ effect for the brand, the project was far from
profitable, and pitched itself well outside Alfa Romeo’s
usual cost territory. As such the Geneva-bound project
will use a mildly uprated version of the highly-regarded
Fiat Powertrain 1750 TBi turbocharged four-cylinder
engine. To be dubbed the 4C GTA, it revives one of the
brand’s most famous designations, which was last used to
denote high-performance versions of the 147 and 156. The
concept thus pays clear homage to history, as well as
retaining a recognisable association with the 8C
Competizione. However, the 4C GTA is not believed to be
destined for production – although the concept will be
fully functional, it is intended more as a technological
and styling showcase, and pointer to the future.
With a basic X-Bow
already costing more than 52,000 euros from the factory
(excluding taxes), trying to re-engineer the car to a
point where it could be economically viable is an
unlikely proposition, so essentially the Dallara-engineered
carbonfibre and aluminum monocoque remains unchanged.
Instead, with project costs not having to closely
reflect production viability, Dallara has developed new
carbonfibre bodywork with reported input from Alfa Romeo
Centro Stile, fully enclosing the cockpit and bringing a
more traditional sports car design language to the
X-Bow, which dispenses with all non-essential bodywork
in the pursuit of maximum weight saving.
which developed the X-Bow for Austrian motorcycle
manufacturer KTM, has re-engineered the distinctive
machine under the new skin to incorporate the 1750 TBi
turbo engine which, currently in its highest power
specification (in the Giulietta QV), produces 235 HP.
The production X-Bow – ironically, in light of VW’s
pursuit of the brand – uses Audi’s turbocharged
direct-injection 1,984cc TFSI engine, a unit that would
form the mainstay of any Alfa Romeo range if VW Group is
successful in prising the 100-year-old brand out of
Fiat’s grasp. The TFSI unit produces 240 HP and 310 Nm
of torque with a 0-100 km/h time of 3.9 seconds. In the
guise of the 4C GTA, power will rise only slightly to
250 HP. However exhilarating performance is guaranteed
by the light weight of the X-Bow, although reports
suggest it would swell by around 60 kg, thanks mainly to
the new enclosed bodywork.
between Fiat Group and VW Group currently stalling, the
4C GTA showcar offers an interesting pointer to a future
that Alfa Romeo could still enjoy under the ownership of
the Fiat Group despite the absence of planning for new
models and a slimmed-down range that now comprises just
three models, one of which – the Giulietta – is thus far
hitting all its sales targets, with almost 40,000 units
delivered during 2010, but the others of which – the
MiTo and 159 – are fading quickly. Fiat’s announcement
that it plans to build a future SUV to be branded
jointly by Alfa Romeo and Jeep at the Mirafiori plant in
Turin lent some substance to the belief that Alfa Romeo
may be handed a lifeline by CEO Sergio Marchionne.
However, the wild targets mooted at the same time
subsequently shot away some of that credibility.
Generating some much needed publicity from the 4C GTA
for Alfa Romeo at the Geneva Motor Show, the world’s
most important annual automotive showcase, could help
shore up the value of the brand in negotiations,
although Fiat has hinted in recent days that the 4C’s
debut at this event is by no means certain.