New York Auto Show: Alfa Romeo Returns to U.S. With 4C

 Courtesy Alfa

NEW YORK -- A generation of Americans has tender memories of Alfa Romeo's Spider, chiefly because of the iconic roadster's supporting role in 1967's The Graduate as the car Dustin Hoffman drives during his summer of discontent. (In an homage, Alfa later produced a subvariant of the model dubbed The Graduate.)

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Now, after a nearly 20-year absence, Alfa Romeo returns to the U.S. market with the 4C, a two-seat sports coupe.

Unveiled this week at the New York International Auto Show, the 4C bears little resemblance to the timeless Spider, designed by Italian coach-builder Pininfarina. But it announced fortissimo that Alfa -- under the aegis of the Chrysler-Fiat partnership, which brought Fiat back to the U.S. in 2011 with the button-cute 500 model -- can still field a seriously suave Italian job.

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The 4C is a mid-engine rear-drive two-seater with a 1.7 liter turbo-charged four-cylinder pumping out 240 horsepower, with a top speed of 165 mph. The body is rendered in carbon fiber with aluminum components to reduce weight. The 4C's presumed competition will be the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster but looks more assertive than both from every angle and attracted overflow traffic at Alfa's humble booth at the show.

The 4C is expected to arrive in the U.S. this summer in a high-performance limited edition, priced at $70,000; the base production model will follow at $54,000.

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