Why new leather seats could be a very good sign from Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4CCourtesy of Alfa RomeoThe 2016 Alfa Romeo Spider

Alfa Romeo just announced a long list of new options available on the Italian make’s 4C and 4C spider models, which may be a good omen for the brand as it returns to the US.

While carbon-fibre trim and new upholstery may not be particularly exciting news, they do signal Alfa’s desire to sink more money into making the its sports car.

Options complicate production, which can lead to spiraling costs. It’s a well-known rule in the car manufacturing business.

Alfa Romeo GiuliaCourtesy of Alfa RomeoAlfa’s new Giulia luxury sedan is a looker.

Ask Henry Ford, who famously said that his costumers “can have a car painted any colour that he wants; so long as it is black.”

Then again, luxury buyers are used to getting what they want. So if you hope to play at this level, you have to satisfy their needs, and that means keeping pace with other cas makers’ options lists.

Alfa’s conservatism was understandable as it took the large risk of reintroducing itself to the American market after a 20-year hiatus.

But now, having sold out the previous year’s allotment of 4Cs and the introduction of the Giulia sedan — a new entry into the extremely competitive luxury sedan market — it may be time for Alfa Romeo get more aggressive.

Alfa’s booth at the Detroit Auto Show last week was spectacularly stylish, and the cars were very pretty. They even brought with them one of their most beautiful classics, an exquisite 1968 33 Stradale, as if to remind us all that the Italians have always been best at making a car lover’s heart go pitter-pat.

The new Giulia, a 505-horsepower stunner that will stab at well-known offerings from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes, will have some convincing to do to obtain a foothold in the States, but the car’s looks certainly work in its favour.

Sadly, there’s one new option the release failed to mention: it remains unlikely that a manual transmission will appear in the 4C anytime soon — a disappointment to many driving purists.

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