Production of the all-new Alfa Romeo 4C has been pushed back to 2013 and so far has only been confirmed for left-hand drive markets.
Edward Rowe from Alfa Romeo’s Australian distributor, Ateco Automotive, said it was far too early to speculate on whether Alfa Romeo would develop a right-hand drive version of the 4C. In the best-case scenario, it seems the vehicle would be lucky to arrive in Australia before the middle of the decade.
With the Brera and Spyder models now completely sold out, Alfa Romeo’s Australian line-up includes just three models – MiTo, Giulietta and 159.
Despite this, Mr Rowe said it was “not hugely” concerning that the local range was now without a traditional two-door sports car.
“It’s always good to have the beautiful sports cars, but in volume terms it’s the cream on the cake, and the cake is Giulietta.”
He said real highlight for Australian Alfa Romeo customers at Frankfurt would be the dual-clutch automatic TCT versions of the Giulietta.
From January 2012 in Australia, the TCT transmission will be teamed with the entry-level 125kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine, as well as a new 125kW/350Nm 2.0-litre JTDM diesel engine. The high-performance Giulietta QV will remain manual-only.
The TCT will shave one-tenth of a second off the 1.4’s sprint time (7.7 seconds) and reduce combined cycle fuel consumption to 5.2 litres/100km (the manual achieves 5.9 litres/100km).
The diesel promises even sharper figures. Combined with the dual-clutch gearbox, the 2.0 JTDM uses just 4.5 litres/100km and accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.9 seconds.
The current manual-only two-vehicle range is priced from $36,990 to $41,990, and the new variants are expected to slot in between at a similar price point.
Between January and July this year, 321 Giuliettas were delivered, accounting for 43 per cent of total Alfa Romeo sales in Australia for 2011.
Mr Rowe said the classy hatch was achieving its expected sales for this year under difficult circumstances, and said the introduction of the self-shifting transmission at the beginning of next year would have a dramatic impact on sales.
He said Alfa Romeo expected TCT models to account for 80-85 per cent of Giulietta sales in 2012, while he said the plan was for the manual to maintain its current levels.
Alfa Romeo is on track to sell 550 Giuliettas in Australia this year, and Ateco’s ambitious targets push that beyond 3500 for 2012.
Mr Rowe also confirmed supply of the MiTo was freeing up, meaning reduced waiting times for Australian buyers of the light-sized hatchback.
For the record, Alfa Romeo 4C Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show sports new liquid metal silver paint, giving the coupe a different attitude to the matt red concept displayed earlier this year in Geneva.
The mid-engined rear-wheel drive 4C Concept is powered by a 1.75-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine similar to the Giulietta QV.
Alfa Romeo says the engine will produce more than 147kW of power, and thanks to the car’s low weight (said to be approximately 850kg) it will sprint from 0-100km/h in less than five seconds and reach a top speed in excess of 250km/h.
Fingers crossed the sexy Italian is approved for right-hand drive development in the not-too-distant future. If you’d love to see the Alfa Romeo 4C in Australia, let us know in the comments section below.