By Anil Bhoyrul
The loop has a reputation for being terrifying
With Horst von Saurma, driver, journalist and expert on the historic Nürburgring circuit in Germany behind the wheel, Alfa Romeo’s new 4C supercar recently recorded the top time for cars with engines under 250hp, stopping the clock at 8'04", a time comparable to those set by sports cars with more powerful engines and much higher prices.
The Nürburgring test was just one of many that Alfa Romeo’s new supercar had to face in all parts of the world, from freezing -35° temperatures in Sweden to the scorching +40° heat in Abu Dhabi, from the Arizona desert in the USA to the slopes of Mt. Etna in Sicily, and the Balocco (VC) track in Italy where all Alfa Romeos have been developed, perfected and tested since 1962.
Used as a test track by car manufacturers from all over the world, the Nordschleife (“North Loop”) has a reputation as a terrifying and merciless route through the Eifel forests. Formula 1 driver Jackie Stewart - a three-time world champion in 1969, 1971 and 1973 - was so impressed by the circuit that he gave it the name which it will probably always be known by - Green Hell (Grüne Hölle).
The configuration of the 22.81 km Nordschleife track alternates slow and fast curves, straights and ups and downs, making it an outstanding testing ground to determine the capabilities and performance of a sports car - and it proved to be the ideal place to put the performance features of the Alfa Romeo 4C to the test.
This true driving machine delivers its best on the track, where speed, short braking distances and transverse acceleration are essential to achieve outstanding lap times. From 0 to 100 km/h in 4.5 seconds flat, a top speed of 258 km/h, deceleration peaks in the range of 1.2 g and lateral acceleration peaks over 1.1 g. All this is achieved owing to optimum weight distribution - 40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear - and to a weight to power ratio under 4 kg/hp, values worthy of a true supercar.
The Alfa Romeo 4C’s excellent performance was also due to the combination of the new 240hp 1750 turbo petrol engine linked to the latest-generation Alfa TCT dry twin clutch gearbox and the advanced Alfa DNA selector with the brand-new Race mode. The engine, with direct injection at 200 bar and an aluminium block achieves amazing performance, setting new torque and specific power records for this size of engine - over 200 Nm/l and 137 HP/l respectively - while its maximum power of 240hp (176 kW) is reached at 6,000 rpm. Maximum torque of 350 Nm ensures extraordinary performance and is maintained at a constant between 2,100 and 4,000 rpm, but 80% of the torque is already available at just 1,800 rpm.
The special Pirelli P Zero Trofeo tyres fitted to the 4C also contributed to its performance at the Nürburgring, and a record was not only set on the track, but also in the development of the tyres. After less than a year of collaboration, Pirelli and Alfa Romeo engineers developed the best solution to guarantee grip and precision driving for the 4C, just like in the days of the 159 that Fangio drove to victory in F1. Available in two sizes, 17" front - 18" rear and the 'AR Racing' version, 18" front - 19" rear, they ensure grip, performance, sportiness and precision driving. The ‘AR Racing’ version further emphasise these features and are ideal not only on the road, but also on the track.For all the latest car news & reviews from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.