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Alfa Romeo 4C sets Ring record

Alfa Romeo's 4C sports car has broken the Nurburgring record for the fastest lap by a production car with less than 250hp (187kW), completing the circuit in 8 minutes and 4 seconds

Powered by a mid-mounted, highly-tuned turbocharged new-generation 1.75-litre engine -- developing 176kW and 350Nm -- the 4C undertook the challenge with Nurburgring veteran Horst von Saurma at the helm and jockeying the six-speed dual-clutch gearbox.

Helping with the job was the two-seater's bantam 950kg weight, the result of liberal use of carbon fibre -- including a McLaren 12C-like passenger cell made from the material -- but with no modifications except being fitted with a set of high-performance Pirelli Zero Trofeo tyres.

The rear-wheel drive hero is scheduled to arrive in Australia mid-2014, with prices likely to start around $80,000 -- depending on exchange rates. However there are still concerns it could be delayed as demand in overseas markets is putting pressure on supply.

This reporter is on Twitter: @KarlaPincott