‘Tis the season for automakers to squeal tires on Germany’s vaunted Nurburgring Nordschleife. For a production car with performance intent, a great lap time on the 14.2-mile circuit provides equals instant global street cred. And the new Alfa Romeo 4C has delivered.

The mid-engined two-seater, makes use of a carbon fibre composite chassis (unheard of in a mainstream car) and a turbocharged, 1,750cc four-cylinder engine that produces 237 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is matched to a quick-witted six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Alfa claims its bug-eyed brawler will blast from 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, and press on to 160mph. On its hot lap of the ‘Ring, reports Alfa’s UK press office, the 4C clocked a very impressive 8 minutes and 4 seconds with Nordschleife veteran Horst von Saurma at the wheel. The time is a precious few seconds shy of the 325hp Porsche Cayman S’s 7min 55sec – though in truth, the 4C competes more directly with the base, 275hp Cayman, which has not logged an official ‘Ring time yet. The 4C’s time is sufficient to land it the record for cars producing less than 250hp.

The 4C is now rolling into Alfa Romeo showrooms in Europe; pricing in its homeland starts at 53,000 euros. The car arrives in the US – via Maserati dealerships – roundabout the middle of 2014, likely priced close to $55,000.