Tag Archives: Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo, Plans for the Future

I have news that will make the world sing! Or at least make Alfisti everywhere sing. Alfa Romeo, a brand with an impressive racing pedigree, is hard at work developing two new rear-drive cars to tackle the default German manufacturers.

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First up is the long awaited, Mazda MX-5 based Spider. This has been confirmed by insiders that it will make use of a rear-drive platform. Probably Alfa’s most iconic car, the Spider is something that many would love to own. Open top, manual gearbox, rear-wheel drive, a great revving, frisky petrol engine and a chassis developed by Mazda boffins. What more could one ask for?

Next up is the car I have been looking forward to since the demise of the 166 in 2007. This car, known internally as the 6C, will make use of the Maserati Ghibli platform as a base. Insiders claim that the 6C will be a sportier alternative to the Ghibli, which presents a interesting problem. The Ghibli is a sportier saloon than the Quattroporte. Fine, but the 6C is a sportier version, of a sportier version of an already rather sporty car. Right. I will have to reserve judgement when I see the new car in the flesh.

The 6C will make use of of two six-cylinder engines (hence the name), a petrol V6 and a diesel V6, the latter being for those who looks at Sistine Chapel and think “This place definitely needs a new look. Lets paint the entire thing magnolia and add a few vending machines.”. Just no. If you buy an Alfa, you buy a petrol Alfa. One does not buy a Rembrandt painting, open up a tin of orange paint and chuck the whole tin on to the painting to make it look modern. If you want diesel, look elsewhere.

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The 6C will not use the same gearbox as the Maserati, but will make use of its own TCT gearbox. Insiders also claim that along with a four-door saloon 6C, there will also be a two-door coupe version to rival the BMW 6 Series. Oh I want that. I have no idea what that will look like but I just want it. I will sell many many organs just to own a 6C Coupe.

So there you have it. Hopefully by 2016, Alfa will have three rear-wheel drive cars in their line up. The world will surely be a better place after that. Personally, besides looking forward to seeing Alfa heading back to their sporting heritage, I look forward to seeing them back on the map, as a true alternative to BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

The Alfa Romeo 4C; A David Among Goliaths?

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I am not here to talk about LaFerrari, I am here to talk about LaFerrari’s little sister, that little bundle of joy known simply as the Alfa Romeo 4C. I am not going to beat around the bush here, its freaking gorgeous. Its bite the back of your hand beautiful. Except for a slight thing, which I will come to later. This little sports car is magnificent. I would like to meet those so-called art experts who say that a car can never be art and have them take a look at Alfa Romeo’s portfolio. The 4C is a welcome addition to this portfolio. Its lines are just right, proportions are bang on. Its looks like a Lotus Elise’s sexier Italian cousin.

However, and many you will probably have noticed this, there is the small matter of those headlights. Oh yeah… Not great? Well, not ideal. But I am sure from the moment that car hits the street, tonnes of aftermarket headlights will be available. Our resident techie, good old Emmanuel pointed out that the lights remind him of the Nissan Juke’s lights, but having spent the last couple of weeks with a picture of the 4C as my desktop wallpaper, the lights have grown on me. They give the car character. However, I fear I may the only one who thinks so.

Anyway on to better things. The stats are pretty amazing too, with a dry weight of 895kg, and a total of 240bhp. Alfa execs claim that with fluids and a driver on board, the car will weigh about 1.1 tonnes. And that is quite astonishing. Weight saving is a key factor of this car. Essentially the engine is the same 1.75L engine from the Giulietta Cloverleaf, with one major difference, the block is made out of aluminium, saving about 25kg from the original steel block of the Giulietta. Alfa have also incorporated a carbon fibre tub into the mix. Here is a pub fact for you all, the Alfa Romeo 4C is the cheapest car to incorporate a carbon tub in its construction. The next car to use such construction is the Mclaren MP4-12C.

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Then there is the interior, probably the least impressive aspect of this car. It is way too dark and cheap for my liking. Alfa claims that this car is designed to take on the Porsche Cayman. Performance wise it might, but luxury wise, it is way off. However, before i slack it off completely, i think the 4C is a better suited rival to the Lotus Elise. Nowadays Lotus is a lost brand, with cars which are just not good enough in today’s world. Sure, the offer heaps of driving pleasure, but in aspects such as comfort, luxury and economy, the little Norfolk turnip is outclassed by the likes of Porsche. So maybe this 4C can slot in between the rather below average Elise and the expensive Cayman. The 4C promises a great engine, with adequate economy, relative luxury, which while not being as luxurious as a Cayman, is not as spartan as an Elise. The dual clutch gearbox may get a few frowns from the Clutch Lovers Club, which is fair enough. A paddle operated gearbox is not going to be as engaging as a normal manual car, but like it or lump it, these flappy-paddle gearboxes are here to stay. Frankly I am one of the few who is open to seeing these new gearboxes gradually take over the manual. We live in a world where more often than not we spend most of our time in traffic, and in traffic a manual gearbox is just irritating. I say we welcome the new gearboxes with an open mind.

Back to the 4C. This car has a lot on its shoulders. It has the task of bringing Alfa back from the brink and re-establish itself as an enthusiasts car, and to take on the might of German manufacturers. Its David tackling Goliath, the little city-state of Florence taking on the might of Milan. Alfa is the underdog, and if history teaches us anything, those who have taken on the Germans have failed.  Volvo, Rover, Lancia, Toyota, and Honda have all tried and failed. Alfa has only one thing that none of the Germans have. Style. Style is what could lift Alfa from the brink and back to pole position. Look at Jaguar. Since the launch of the XF, they have been on a roll. Profits are up, people are back to being interested in their cars again. Alfa need to do the same. However, for Alfa to succeed it needs one more thing. It needs you, the reader. Alfa needs you to look at their car not for what Alfa has been known for in the past, as unreliable rust machines, but as beautiful cars. I urge you, readers, to give them a chance. I, myself dream of the day I could own an Alfa and be proud that I did not follow the German crowd.

Blast From The Past: Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale

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Alfa Romeo. A name that oozes Italian passion, style and luxury. In 2010, Alfa Romeo celebrated its 100th anniversary, and over the past century they have produced some amazing cars, including the various Giulia sport saloons of the 60s, the charismatic Spider, which is probably Alfa’s most well known model, as well as some more controversial models, like the 1990s SZ, and GTV.

The car I am going to write about is my personal favourite, the Tipo 33 Stradale. Nothing in the world looks anything like this. Its proportions seem so perfect, with its curvacious lines throughout, and those sweeping teardrop headlights, a masterpiece designed by Franco Scaglione. This car was launched in 1967, and was created to take on the Ferrari Dino, Lamborghini Miura and De Tomaso Mangusta.

The 33 Stradale had a more futuristic design than all of its rivals with its bubble roof and butterfly doors. Underneath that gorgeous skin are the mechanics from the Tipo 33 racecar, or be it slightly detuned from the racer version. Both versions made use of a mid-mounted 2.0 litre V8 engine, the road car producing 230bhp, as opposed to the 270bhp that came out of the race version. The entire engine was built out of aluminium and was mated to a Coletti six speed gearbox. Suspension is double wishbones all round the car as well as disc brakes at all four corners. The road car also made use of the racer’s tubular chassis, consisted of three large tubes, fixed together in an ‘H’ shape. At the rear of the car, longitudinal sections were angled inwards to cradle the engine and gearbox. The tubular side-members also contained the rubber fuel tanks. The body was also made of aluminium, thus resulting in an overall weight of just 700kg.The interior was one of the most luxurious of its time, with leather throughout the cabin.

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Despite the car’s magificent looks, it was not a great seller due to its extraordinate price, and only eighteen cars were ever made. Today, there are no more than four known vehicles existing on the roads, with one of them belonging to Alfa Romeo. The others presumably belong to private buyers, cherishing what some would refer to as the pinnacle of automotive design. On rare occasions they might make an appearance on the road, inspiring those who see them, both from a visual and audible experience.

What does the future hold for such a car? From the actual car itself, not much, by todays standards the engine is tiny, although the power to weight ratio is quite extraordinate to say the least.However, this car’s design did inspire an entirely new car for Alfa Romeo, the 4C. Although the new car will not have a V8, Alfa Romeo claim that the new car will have a power-to-weight ratio nearly identical to that Tipo 33. As the name suggests, the 4C will make use of a four cylinder engine from the Giulietta Cloverleaf, producing about 235bhp. Alfa are also claiming that the new car will weight about 850kg. They are also claiming a price tag of about 45,000 Sterling, although recently there have been rumours of the price droping to 38,000 Sterling. With materials like carbon fibre, I do not have a clue how they are able to come up with such a price tag. However, if everything goes according to plan, and for Alfa Romeo’s sake I hope they do, then the struggling Italian brand may have another classic on their hands.

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Alfa Romeo’s Future Plans Uncovered

Alfa Romeo recently revealed news regarding a new engine for their upcoming 159 replacement, the Giulia.

This new 1.8l turbocharged engine produces a massive 296bhp! The engine is made from aluminium and is said to be fitted with high pressure fuel injection and also makes use of the Multiair system. Rumour has it that this car will also be fitted in Alfa’s upcoming flagship, which may take the name of either the 6C or Montreal.

This new flagship will be rear wheel drive, and will based on the Chrysler 300c/Lancia Thema platform. This decision of a new luxury saloon has been made instead of the large SUV which I spoke about a few moths ago. This new flagship will have an all new V6 engine alongside the 1.8l engine.

However even though this all good news for Alfa Romeo, it has also surfaced that the Giulia will be delayed yet again for another year, possibly making an appearance in 2014. With the 159 going out of production at the end of next year, that means that Alfa will be without a 3 Series competitor for a year.

In 2013, Alfa is promising to deliver a small Kuga sized SUV to the market. Not much is known about the details of the car, but I imagine it will make use of the same platform as the Giulietta, and the same engine line up. Also in 2013, Alfa intends on revealing a facelifted MiTo, a five door MiTo and the 4C sportscar.

Stay tuned for more information on these upcoming cars!

Fiat’s Plans for the Future

Fiat’s product plan has surfaced on the internet, showing what to expect from the likes of Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Fiat. This plan shows their upcoming models for the next three years.

Fiat, as a car manufacturer does not seem to have much planned for Europe. However, in 2012, they will be introducing the 500 Abarth to the American market, an electric 500, for the European, and very probably the American market. There should also be the next generation of Fiat Panda that will go on sale in 2012. In 2013 they also plan to introduce a 4-door version of the 500.

Alfa Romeo, on the other hand seem to have been keeping themselves busy, and will continue to do so for the next three years. Next year we should expect the launch of the fabulous 4C Coupe, which, if it does make production, should cost about 40,000 Euros. In 2013 the Giulia will finally be revealed to the world, as well as a variant of the Giulietta hatchback (a Giulietta Sportwagon maybe?). Their controversial SUV should also be available in 2013 as well as something called a 5-door subcompact. This is very probably a 5-door version of their MiTo. Then there is a also the possibility of the unveiling of a roadster in 2013, a replacement to the aging Spider. 2014 Alfa plan to show the Sportwagon version of the Giulia and the possibility of a replacement of the 166, which was dropped from the market in 2007.

Ferrari will be unveiling a convertible version of their sublime 458, a replacement for the 599 and an Enzo replacement in 2012. In 2013 a lightweight version of the 458 will be unveiled, as well as a freshened up California. In 2014 the 458 will also get a freshen up.

Maserati, will debut their rival for the BMW M5 in 2012 and in 2013 will see the next generation of Quattroporte being unveiled as well as their SUV. These three cars have a lot of weight on their shoulders since Maserati want these cars to up their annual sales to 50,000 units per year.

Fiat have a busy few years ahead of them, but nothing seems out of their reach. Stay tuned to see more of these up and coming models.

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The Battle For Alfa Romeo.

Martin Winterkorn, CEO of the Volkswagon Group, revealed late last year that they would be interested in buying Alfa Romeo off Fiat, if they ever decided to sell.

However, as time has progressed, it seems as though that Mr.Winterkorn seem to be a bit more than interested in this fiercely Italian brand. Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and Fiat, has said that as long as he is CEO of Fiat, Volkswagon will never obtain Alfa Romeo under their wing. Mr.Marchionne has argued that Volswagon has Seat to take care of, a car brand which, in the past, was known for its sportier models, but has however become a more average mainstream car manufacturer.

Today, news has surfaced that Volkswagon already has plans for Alfa Romeo, if they were to purchase this company from Fiat. The plan states that Alfa Romeo would get direct help from Porsche, such as providing the new flat-four engine which is being developed for the new baby Boxter. Such an engine could potentially find its place in mainstream Alfas, whilst also setting it apart from the rest of the VW’s mainstream cars.

VW also says that Alfa Romeo could help VW become the largest car manufacturing group by 2018. Mr.Marchionne has shrugged off such reports, saying the reports were a “fantasy”.

If, however, Fiat do sell Alfa Romeo, could this spell the end for such an iconic brand? Or will it prosper better than before, as VW is currently saying? Personally, I believe such a deal could be potentially catastrophic to Alfa, as the brand will lose all its character, becoming yet another VW spinoff.