October 3rd 2013, thursday night, Balocco, Italy. I had the privilege of attending the Alfa Romeo 4C press conference, thanks to an invitation of the head of the brand, Louis-Carl Vignon. As it was a really exciting night and I was quite shocked by the car and the presentation itself, I brought you some pictures and a short description of the event. It took place at Fiat’s proving ground in Balocco or the Centro Sperimentale, somewhere between Turin and Milan. It is a 5,5 Km2 area with 80 Km of roads, where Fiat Group tests its cars in different tracks. The tracks were initially built by Alfa Romeo, in 1962, and from 1987 it became part of Fiat’s empire. Since that moment, 6 new tracks were added (till 2010), in order to receive other kind of cars (SUVs and LCVs). Alfa Romeo’s is a F1 track with 5,6 Km length*, full of amazing curves that make the ride even more exciting. This was the scenario chosen by Alfa Romeo for the official presentation of the 4C. As a supercar it had to be tested in extreme conditions and at the same time it deserved the best of the best in terms of presentations. The brand built a special structure scenario that was literally in the middle of the track. While Mr. Vignon talked, the car passed and let the guests see its sexy lines, and hear the terrific sound of its engine, every time the driver accelerated.
“A new Alfa for the new Alfa Romeo”
Louis-Carl Vignon, head of the brand, began talking about the process that started with the idea of building a supercar to the reality. He described the 4C as the new Alfa for the new Alfa Romeo, pointing at the future of the brand, which according to him, will be full of new premium products. He talked about the glorious history of the brand, its present, and its challenges. Then he showed the launch calendar for the whole world, which includes Europe + Russia (end of 2013), Middle East and Africa (2014-Q1), and Asia-Pacific and North America in 2014-Q2. A very emotional video was presented telling the story of the brand and the passion behind it “Alfa Romeo… it has to do more with the heart than with the brain”. After Vignon, it was the time for Alessandro Maccolini, Alfa Romeo’s Chief Designer Exterior. He showed the background of the project, the inspiration for the 4C and the challenge they had when they were told to create a new Alfa supercar. The brand took 28 months to make the 4C, starting in September 2010 as a concept and finally conceived as a production car. He explained the lines of the car, and its connection with the 33 Stradale. Technical features were explained by Guglielmo Caviasso, Alfa development boss, through a X-Ray feature that let us see the components of the car inside its beautiful body.
Right after this fantastic presentation, we had the opportunity to get inside of the car for a fun test-drive. 9 beautiful Rosso Alfa 4Cs were ready to take the guests to a hot ride in Balocco circuits. Of course, they were driven by professional pilots. And my turn came. I got inside this wonderful car, which was driven by Giancarlo. I fasten my seatbelt and fun started. It is quite small but very comfortable. But my interior aesthetics attention was rapidly replaced by Giancarlo’s first acceleration. Wow! the car is a bomb! this guy drove the 4C with an incredible precision, no matter how fast we went. The first curves were somehow normal, but soon they became really aggressive and I must say that I was a bit scared. However the car is extremely stable, despite the fact of taking some curves at 180 km/h. The incredible stability of the car and the skilled driver (with more than 20 years of experience), were enough reasons to leave my fears away and ask for more speed. The noise of the engine added even more adrenalin. After 10 minutes or less, Giancarlo took me back. I must say that it has been my wildest and most emotional ride ever. The car is simply fantastic from all points of view: its design, shapes, details, engine, technology. For those complaining about its headlights, mirrors and its interior design, I must say that you don’t even notice them when you drive it. Actually, its headlights look great at night, while its interior is perfectly balanced thanks to its nice dashboard. If the car transmitted me these feelings as a copilot, I can’t imagine how it would be driving it.
Alfa Romeo did a great job with the 4C. It demonstrated that it is alive, no matter the problems it may encounter. And the most important: the Alfa Romeo 4C is the living proof of all what Fiat Group can achieve, when it works hard for it.
*Source: Balocco Proving Ground