It's been a long time coming, but the highly anticipated, mid-engined Alfa Romeo 4C sports car will finally be shown in production-ready guise at this year's Geneva Motor Show.
First hinted by the 4C Concept from two years ago, the finished car appears to have – bar the special red paint that adorned the show car – appears to be almost identical to the design study that spawned it.
Whether or not that's a good thing or not depends on your perception of beauty – some will undoubtedly find the 4C to be ravishing, whilst other will decree it to be a bit 'meh'. What can't be subject to debate, though, is how impressive it is under the voluptuous bodywork.
The main technological highlight is the adoption of a carbon-fibre shell for the passenger compartment, which is something that's only been adopted so far by far more extreme performance cars. Alfa Romeo is so proud of this feat, it's left part of the carbon shell exposed to form part of the interior trim.
The use of carbon fibre means that, on paper, the 4C should be incredibly light: whilst Alfa Romeo hasn't quoted any official figures, it claims every horsepower the car has on tap will have to lug about a mere 4kg of the car's overall bulk.
Actually, that should be perhaps more accurately rephrased as "lack of bulk": Alfa Romeo promised us when it unveiled the 4C Concept that the production car wouldn't weigh more than 1,000kg.
So, do some quick mental arithmetic, and the 4C's engine – a 1.75 turbocharged four-cylinder petrol unit – should produce up to 250bhp, with that output being transferred to the rear wheels via Alfa Romeo's TCT dry-clutch paddleshift transmission.
And, whilst no performance figures have been revealed so far, with a prospective power-to-weight ratio of 250bhp per tonne – the same as the current BMW M3 saloon – it should be fairly brisk.
As for how much the car will retail for, we simply don't know – all Alfa Romeo has stated so far is that it'll definitely be in showrooms before the year is out. However, several motoring publications have been dishing out figures in the £50,000 ballpark, so don't be too surprised if Alfa Romeo states something similar during the car's official launch ceremony at the Geneva Show in March.
Not like that will put us off the 4C, though. With an introductory spec sheet like that, the compact Alfa Romeo has all the hallmarks of being one of the star cars of 2013.