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Suzuki’s new Swift hatch and sedan in SA

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Giulietta is Alfa's Golf 6 rival

2009-12-03 08:33
After an industrial relations ruckus, it’s been confirmed Alfa’s Golf 6 rival will be named Giulietta.

Perhaps the most important car Alfa’s launched for nearly a decade, the 147 replacement (originally designated 149, then Milano) not only resurrects a renowned name from Alfa’s past but incorporates a host of contemporary technologies.

Unlike its 147 forebear, Giulietta will be produced in five-door hatchback configuration only - clearly stating Alfa’s intention to go on a conquest sales drive in Golf 6 market territory.

Styling is unsurprisingly outstanding, with coupe-like proportions thanks to the sloping roofline. Alfa's design DNA is clearly evident courtesy of those characteristically disguised rear door handles (drawing inspiration from 156 and 147), which neaten the Giulietta’s surfacing appreciably.

Front styling features a striking three-dimensional version of Alfa’s shield grille, framed by two lower air intakes, yet it’s those elegant ellipsoid shaped headlights which endow the Giulietta with a surfeit of presence.

Around the rear there’s a lower fascia diffuser framed by dual exhaust outlets at each end and LED-embedded taillights which shadow the original 156’s to perfection.

Rear light cluster takes the round LED encrusted Mito design and balances it with an elongated horizontal surface. The end result is on sexy rear end.

Bigger than a Golf

Not only is the new Giulietta a very pretty car, it happens to major on practicality too.

Despite the stylists having crafted a coupe-like shape, Alfa’s latest hatch does not render a cramped coupe-like cabin environment.

At 4.35m bumper-to-bumper the Giulietta is 130mm more substantial than Golf 6, whilst its 2.63m axle spacing ensures a 50mm longer wheelbase than VW’s premium hatchback offering.

Driving dynamics are always a strong unique selling point with Alfa branded products and Giulietta aims to be no different from its siblings in this regards.

Riding on the company’s new C-Evo platform, the Giulietta will be independently suspended at all four wheel corners and powered a range of turbocharged engines.

Would have been Milano, until some unhappy (ex)workers made clear their disenchantment as Alfa was wrapping up operations in the Lombardian capital - hence the photoshop induced Giulietta nameplate...

Any engine you’d like – at long as it’s turbocharged

Driving the front wheels through either five- or six-speed manual transmissions (there is a dual-clutch system in the works), Giulietta should offer compelling performance.

The five engine line-up is a tree/two configuration split between petrol and compression ignition, with all engines boasting stop-start fuel saving technology.

Entry level options on the petrol powered side are two 1.4TBs, producing 90kW or 126kW, with the more powerful engine benefiting from Fiat’s MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve actuation.

Hot hatch market watchers will be heartened by the range topping 1750 TBi, which produces a very performance biased 175kW. The two more powerful petrol engines are most likely to debut locally when Giulietta goes only sale here in the third quarter of next year.

Alfaholics who don’t mind the sacrilege of having their Serpent badged cars running on diesel should find the 1.6 JTDM (78kW) and 2.0 JTDM (126kW) sufficient to requirements.

With the vacillating nature of local diesel fuel quality it seems highly unlikely either of these engines will be offered within the South African Giulietta line-up.

Wheel sizes expected to 16-,17 and 18-inch. Alloy designs are either the multi-spokes picture above, a simple thick-spoke design and of course Alfa's signature 'telephone dial' design seen on the Mito locally.

Plenty of dynamic driver-aid trickery

Thanks to a host of electro-mechanical systems and a new multi-link rear suspension design (no cheap torsion beam technology) the Giulietta range should offer class leading front-wheel drive ride and handling characteristics.

Alfa’s Q2 electronic front drive differential quells torque- and understeer (with ABS assisted torque vectoring), whilst the Alfa DNA selector module offers three modes (Dynamic, Normal and All Weather) of adjustment for steering counterweight, throttle response and VDC intervention parameters.

Despite the Giulietta’s rather embarrassing christening, this Turinese hatchback has the distinct design architecture and flexible engine range to shore up Alfa’s position in the premium front-wheel drive five-door market.

Alfa’s hoping for production volumes of around 100 000 after a full international roll-out has commenced by the end of next year.


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