4C: The Alfa Romeo that’s built like a Maserati (w/VIDEO)

If there’s one message to take away from this video it’s that Alfa Romeo’s 4C is made in Modena by Maserati. In fact it was designed by Alfa Romeo engineers and produced in the Maserati plant, but Alfa really don’t seem to mind letting its sister brand do all the heavy lifting.

It’s an important distinction though – at £52,000 for the Launch Edition model, the 4C is either a very expensive Alfa Romeo or a temptingly cheap Maserati. Perhaps it’s a bit of both.

The video provides a fascinating insight into the 4C’s production process, which sees the carbon fibre monocoque being constructed by a dedicated team of workers. Weighing just 65kg it contributes towards the 4C’s total dry weight of just 895kg, which combined with a 237bhp 1750 Turbo Petrol engine delivers a power-to-weight ratio of 264 bhp per tonne – mid-way between that of a Porsche Cayman S and 911 Carrera S.

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The 4C uses 10% carbon fibre, representing 25% of the car’s overall volume, with aluminium used for the roof reinforcement cage and the front and rear frameworks. The body is constructed from low-density Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC), which weighs 20% less than traditional sheet steel as well as being more malleable in terms of design. It also reduces the number of pieces required, leading to shorter assembly times and lower production costs.

The bumpers and wings are made from injected polyurethane (PUR-RIM), which weighs 20% less than steel and suits the complex shapes found on the 4C.

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Production of the 4C takes place in dedicated ‘body fitting’ and ‘assembly’ workshops within the Modena plant, while ‘testing’ and ‘finishing’ areas are shared with the rest of the Maserati production. Annual production is limited to 3,500 cars, with deliveries expected in Europe from September 2013.

It’s an important car for the brand – as the video clearly shows. The 4C marks the return of the Italian marque to the United States and acts as a flag-bearer for the brand, so Alfa’s hopes are pinned on its ability to attract customers and define the experience which future models will seek to emulate.

Designed by Alfa Romeo, built by Maserati, sounds like a winning combination.