Available with three or five doors, the car retains basic shape of the 147, but with big changes to the front end. Changes to the rear are minor.
The car features a new grille that is now bigger and enhanced by new design headlights.
It looks more aggressive because the grille has been lowered in relation to the bonnet, and this impression is reinforced by the elongated appearance of the headlights - a lip of glass enclosing three round chrome elements on a black background - and the air intake that is divided by three vertical elements, one in the middle and two at the sides.
The overhang is also longer while the bumpers and wing are new.
Minor rear changes
At the rear, the designers reworked the tailgate and made slight changes to the tail-lights to make them more stylish: the light clusters have now been lengthened into a more triangular shape emphasised by a chrome moulding.
Inside the new Alfa 147 retains the same driving position, but there's a modified instrument panel and console, and the dashboard comes in two colour combinations, grey/grey, matching the door panels.
The range offers three petrol and three turbodiesel units.
Beginning with two 1.6 Twin Spark 16 units developing power outputs of 78 kW and 90 kW and a 2.0 16v unit developing 112 kW.
There are two 1.9 JTD turbodiesel developing power outputs of 75 kW and 86 kW and a mighty 1.9 JTD 16v M-Jet that develops a power of 112 kW at 4 000 r/min and a torque 305 Nm at 2 000 r/min.
Changes have been made to the electronics in the Selespeed gearbox to make it more user friendly.
As on the current Selespeed, this system is designed to automate the clutch controls and gear lever of a manual gearbox through an electrohydraulic servo device.
Unlike the Selespeed, the lever is multistable, i.e. it allows the customer to check the gear position at any time (N Neutral - R Reverse - D Drive).
Two operating modes are available: in Manual mode, the driver engages the gears by means of a lever positioned on the tunnel.
Another major new feature on the new Alfa 147 is the introduction of a Comfort suspension system.
This comes as standard on versions equipped with the 112 kW 1.9 JTD 16v M-Jet and is an option on the others.
The new configuration combines a double wishbone front suspension with an advanced MacPherson layout at the rear.
These particular suspension layouts achieve greater levels of comfort without affecting handling.
The front shock absorbers have therefore been improved and even more changes have been made to the rear suspension system.
Differences compared to a conventional MacPherson configuration include the lengths of the differential transverse arms, the position of the points where the arms are attached to the body and the specific bushing stiffness settings.
As far as the front wishbone configuration is concerned, the improvement was achieved by introducing a new spring type and setting and by the adoption of a new hollow anti-roll bar.
Altogether these changes allow a weight reduction of 1.7 kg for the same stiffness and roll qualities.
The new model gets the latest ABS BOSCH 5.7 antilock brake system as standard over the range complete with an EBD (Electronic Brake Distributor).
No news yet when these vehicles will be available in South Africa.
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