The stunning Alfa Romeo 147 is now even more competitive with the introduction of two five-door derivatives and another three-door model. The Alfa 147 range now consists of five models.
NB: Large images - please be patient.
Click here for photo gallery
There is now two 1.6 Twin Spark models and three 2.0 Twin Spark versions of the 147. The three new five-door models don't downplay the good looks of the three-door version at all. In fact one can easily mistake it for the three-door 147.
Thanks to the integration of the rear door handles into the black window frame surrounds, like the Alfa 156, the five-door retains the sexy coupe looks of the three-door.
Since the local introduction of the 147 in July last year Fiat Auto South Africa sold 934 of these cars.
According to Greg Levine, Director of Commercial and Marketing Operation of Fiat Auto South Africa, the new models will play a key role in the revitalization programme for Alfa Romeo.
Fiat Auto South Africa also expects that the 147 will definitely compliment the huge success of the 156 range and hope that the 147 will give the BMW Compact, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf a run for their money.
"The 147 has emerged not only as the most popular car in the Alfa Romeo stable, accounting for around 60 percent of all sales, but has made a qualitative leap upward from the previous model, firmly establishing itself at the upper end of the all-important sub-C segment where major players include the BMW Compact, Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf.
"Now Alfa Romeo is able to offer a five-door derivative at the premium end of this market sector, which is something neither Audi nor BMW do at present," Levine told us.
The engine of the 1.6 is a perky 1 598 cm3 4-cylinder fuel injected 16-valve engine producing 88 kW at 6 200 rpm and a maximum torque of 146 Nm at 4 200 rpm, allowing the Alfa 147 to reach a top speed of 195 km/h. It accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10,6 seconds and covers a kilometre, from a standing start, in 31,8 seconds.
The Alfa 147 2.0 offers maximum power of 110 kW at 6 300 r/min from its 1970 cm3 unit, and maximum torque of 181 Nm at 3 800 r/min. It reaches a top speed of 208 km/h and takes 9,3 seconds to accelerate from 0-100 km/h.
With the introduction of the five-door derivatives Alfa also took the opportunity to upgrade equipment levels.
Alloy wheels are now standard across the whole range and the 2.0 Twin Spark models now feature leather seats, cruise control, on-board computer and a front-loading CD player.
Other features in air conditioning, power steering, electric windows and mirrors, latest high tech. immobilisers coupled to remote central locking
The 2.0 Twin Spark models are also now available with a five-speed manual gearbox. Previously the 2.0 Twin Spark was only available with Alfa's Selespeed transmission. The current Selespeed version is still the range topper for the 147.
According to Alfa Romeo the Selespeed Transmission is a robotized manual gearbox that combines the two-pedal convenience of an automatic with the option of manual gear selection, either via a sequential lever that moves forward or backwards on the transmission tunnel, or by Grand Prix-style paddle controls behind the steering wheel.
The safety features for the 147 range is quite comprehensive and class-leading. All 147 models have six airbags consisting of steering wheel and facia-mounted driver and passenger airbags, side and window airbags.
ABS brakes with electronic brake distribution (EBD) and anti-slip regulation (ASR) is also standard. The flagship 2.0 Selespeed also has more advanced chassis management in the form of Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC).
Warranties and service
The Alfa 147 will enjoy the full after-sales backing in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory and to trained technicians at Alfa Romeo dealerships countrywide.
Fiat Auto South Africa offers owners of the Alfa 147 a 36-month/100 000 m dealer warranty, three years on paintwork and five years on anti-perforation. The new Alfa 147's will also enjoy a 36month/60 000km maintenance plan.
Services are required at 20 000 km intervals.
The new models are also covered by the Alfa Cares policy in conjunction with the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance.
The service, which is active 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.
We had a very brief drive from Zwartkop to Hartbeespoort but it was enough to realise that the 147 is solid on the road and handles quite good.
The 147, in 1.6 and 2.0 guise, has a sporty feeling and has neutral handling with a slick gear change. Acceleration is smooth and engine noise is also very low.
Both engines are quite willing but for real sport car performance Alfa fans will have to wait for the GTA version, which will probably be introduced next year some time.
The Alfa 147 is a pleasure to drive thanks to its cutting edge technology. The quality of all materials is very good and the design of the car is also unique.
I think that the 147 is one of the most beautiful midsize hatchbacks available. It has a retro design, which is complimented by a muscular sporty look. This car definitely stands out in a crowd.
Together with its good looks and good driving pleasure the 147 is worth considering when buying a hatchback. The introduction of the five-door derivatives makes the 147 even more desirable.
The latest 147 range:
1.6 Twin Spark three-door Manual, R179500
1.6 Twin Spark five-door Manual, R186500
2.0 Twin Spark three-door Manual, R204500
2.0 Twin Spark five-door Manual, R211500
2.0 Twin Spark three-door Selespeed, R214500
Click here for technical specifications
Click here for photo gallery