Alfa Romeo 149 test car
Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione
Alfa Romeo Kamal 4x4 Concept Car
Alfa 149 Design sketch
Alfa Romeo 149
Are these spy shots of the new Alfa Romeo Milano
Alfa Romeo's Giulietta is now well into its production run and I still think it is a fantastic car, its dynamic ability is stunning and I always enjoy the driving experience. The choice of engines is not as large as it could be and I do feel that the chassis could handle some more power easily and not get itself tied up in knots like the 147 GTA did (much as I love my 147 it is a bit mad). The multi air engines are extremely efficient and the 2.0l JTDm engine is an absolute joy as four-cylinder diesels go. Ride quality is good but firm aided by Alfa Romeo's impressive chassis technology and the amount of grip available in the cloverleaf form is prodigious compared with older models produced by the Marque.
The handling is very good and the Giulieta does not seem to get flustered over uneven road surfaces, even when you get to the extremely low profile tyres fitted on the cloverleaf the ride does not suffer like some of its rivals do. When pushing on the chassis keeps the front end from understeering and the level of grip that it can ultimately give is far above what you expect from the humble Macpherson strut. The steering is a step ahead of its electrically assisted counterparts thanks to Alfa Romeo's clever assistance system which does not work on the drivers steering column but works on a stub shaft which is fitted where a left-hand drive steering column would normally connect to the rack.
The Giulietta also has an extremely good braking system the brakes are powerful and very progressive. The car has all the usual acronyms ABS, VDC, ASR! which in order are Anti-lock brakes, vehicle dynamic control and Traction control and also has a hill holder. Fitting the Multiair petrol engine also means the brakes are assisted not by vacuum from the manifold but by a vacuum pump on the end of the camshaft.
The choice purchase in the range is probably the 1.4 170 bhp multi air with its impressive low down power and frugal fuel consumption it does make an extremely good case for itself and is well worth a try but it is a hard decision given how close a run the 2.0l Diesel gives it.
Alfa Romeo's replacement for the 147 is rumoured to be launched much later than expected (possibly at the Paris show in 2010, with production starting in Q1 2011), to give space to the Alfa Junior/Furiosa/Racer/Mito, the new Mini challenger.
It is likely to take styling cues from the 8C Competizione that was shown at the 2003 Frankfurt motor show and the Kamal which was shown at Geneva.
Despite being a hatchback the 149, as it may be known (though Giulietta and Milano apparently remain popular options), will retain the coupe's profile much as the present Alfa GT looks like a coupe, the frontal treatment will be very similar to the 8C Competizione while the rear will have a steeply raked rear screen and round lights like a Ferrari.
Expect it to have the revised JTS petrol and JTD Mjet Diesel engines including the 3.2 V6 JTS. Four-wheel drive and front-wheel drive platforms will be available and instead of using the Bravo/Delta platform Fiat's CEO Antonio Baravalle has said that an Alfa specific chassis with double wishbones is being developed for that distinct Alfa identity.
The entry-level engine is expected to be a 1.4TB (variable turbine geometry) turbo in 120 and 150bhp variants. The latter has been tested in a 147, doing 0-100mph in 9 seconds (less than the 2.0l twin spark) with less CO2 than the 1.9 Mjet. In fact, we should see this engine in the production 147 in the summer of 2007.
Other petrol engine variants are likely to be 1.8JTB in 184hp and 230hp guises.
For diesel: 1.6JTDm in 120hp and 150hp guises, 2.0JTDm with 184hp and a twin-turbo with 230hp.
It will come in either 3 or 5 door versions and will hopefully be on the market in Summer 2009.
It is expected that Alfa Romeo may use a new engine in the 149, this engine uses a system known as Multiair, This system controls the amount of air going into the engine by controlling when air is allowed into the engine and how much the inlet valve opens. The system works by inserting a "tappet" between the camshaft and the valve and the engine management system can control the amount of oil that is allowed into the "tappet" thus changing the effective opening profile of the inlet valve. The system can also change the overlap of the inlet and exhaust valves as well as changing the amount of lift and this allows the engine to maintain a steady pressure in the inlet manifold which is used to increase the amount of torque the engine produces while maintaining the efficiency of the engine. The system is said to increase torque by 20% while reducing emissions by a similar amount. All this technology is supposed to increase the fun factor for all us Alfisti giving better and more positive throttle response.
It has been announced by the CEO of Alfa Romeo, Antonio Baravalle That the 149 is indeed to be released in the first quarter of 2009, sometime after its stablemate the Alfa Junior. There's also rumours going around that it might be called the Alfa Romeo Milano or Milan.
The car will be slightly longer than the Junior and the outgoing 147 and will only be available as a 5 door hatchback. The suspension will be by double wishbones at the front with multi-link rear suspension and active roll control.
The engines will also be slightly more powerful than the Junior with power outputs starting at 120 bhp and going up to a GTA with the 265 bhp V6 engine in it. The car will have a higher spec than the Junior and may well be available with blue tooth and a 3D navigation system being rumoured as options.
Styling has been changed considerably during the development of the car in order to differentiate this model from the Junior, it will take some cues from the Lancia Delta HPE and the side has some influences from the BMW CS concept although it appears to still have some family resemblance to the old 147.