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Geneva show: Alfa Giulietta all fired up

Going green: The Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde's 1.74-litre turbo engine "is better than many 3.0-litre engines," boasts Alfa.

Alfa Romeo launches hot cloverleaf Giulietta as Fiat rolls out tons of new tech

1 Mar 2010

PRESENTING its crucial new Giulietta for the first time at the Geneva motor show this week, Alfa Romeo will unveil the 147-replacing small car in Quadrifoglio Verde (four-leafed clover) form, complete with a 173kW ‘1750’ TBi turbo-petrol engine.

After issuing images and initial details in a global preview in December, the Italian marque will use the hot-hatch version as its headline act – for production cars, at least – at the Swiss extravaganza, promising performance comparable to, or better than, “many 3.0-litre engines” from the 1742cc engine.

Alfa claims the cloverleaf Giulietta’s specific power of 98.5kW/litre is the highest in the world for a four-cylinder unit in this segment, as well as being the highest ever achieved by an Alfa Romeo engine.

It also describes the specific torque, totalling 194Nm/litre, as the highest of all petrol engines in its class, while the maximum torque of 340Nm, reached at 1900rpm, is said to be “an absolute best” for the brand.

Alfa Romeo Australia this week advised that the five-door Giulietta was now scheduled to arrive in either November or December, although the Quadrifoglio Verde will be launched in 2011.

The Australian powertrain line-up at launch is still to be finalised, but a 125kW 1.4 TB MultiAir turbo-petrol is a definite starter.

26 center imageFrom top: Giulietta interior, Alfa Bravo (Ritmo), Fiat Doblo and Fiat's TwinAir engine.

Other engines under consideration include an 88kW 1.4 TB turbo-petrol (as seen on the smaller MiTo) and two JTDM common-rail turbo-diesels – a 77kW 1.6-litre unit and 125kW 2.0-litre version.

All engines are fitted standard with a six-speed manual gearbox, with the MultiAir petrol and 2.0-litre JTDM diesel available with a dual-clutch transmission.

Dubbed TCT, Alfa’s new six-speed twin-clutch transmission will also be showcased at Geneva in the MiTo, including an application in a new 99kW 1.4 TB MultiAir turbo-petrol engine (including an idle-stop feature) that is still to be confirmed for Giulietta but will be available in the MiTo in Australia from the third quarter.

This will mark the first MultiAir engine to make it Down Under, and Alfa Romeo Australia general manager Andrei Zaitzev believes the new variant, pricing for which is still to be announced, will double MiTo sales in Australia. It is currently achieving 20-30 sales a month.

“While the Alfa Romeo Mito has put in a solid performance for us in Australia since its launch last year, its lack of an automatic gearbox has held back sales,” said Mr Zaitzev. “This new gearbox will transform this situation.” As GoAuto has reported, the five-door-only Giulietta is set to resurrect Alfa Romeo’s fortunes in the ultra-competitive prestige small-car segment.

It is built on a new ‘Compact’ platform (to be shared with Chrysler) that is “designed to meet the expectations of the most demanding customers in terms of roadholding, agility and safety”.

Also destined for the next Fiat Bravo/Ritmo, this platform brings with it a new front strut/multi-link rear suspension (replacing the 147’s front double-wishbone/rear MacPherson strut arrangement), a ‘Dual Pinion Active Steering’ system and a “rigid yet light structure made of aluminium and high-strength steel”.

‘Alfa DNA’ onboard electrics are expected to be standard across the range, allowing the driver to switch between Dynamic, Normal and All Weather modes that change the characteristics of the engine, steering, ESC/VDC stability control and Q2 electronic differential. ‘Dynamic Steering Torque’ (DST) will also be onboard.

As well as presenting concept cars for Alfa via Pininfarina and Bertone, Alfa parent Fiat Auto will use the Geneva show this week to reveal a host of other new powertrains and model variants, including an Abarth version of its 500C convertible.

Due to arrive in Australia a few months after the hard-roofed 500 Abarth, which reaches local showrooms in June, the hot 500C will feature a 103kW/180Nm (206Nm at overboost) 1.4-litre T-Jet turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine driving the front wheels not through a conventional manual gearbox but a new Abarth-developed ‘Competizione’ version of the Dualogic sequential-manual transmission.

Fiat claims the little cabrio can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 205km/h. Combined-cycle fuel consumption is 6.5L/100km, and CO2 emissions come in at 155g/km.

The Geneva show car introduces a new two-tone colour scheme, with 17-inch diamond-finished white alloy wheels completing the look.

An Abarth version of the Punto Evo will also debut at Geneva (with a 1.4 MultiAir turbo-petrol engine), while Fiat will also launch a new family of ultra-compact two-cylinder engines that it claims will cut fuel consumption and emissions and still offer more performance than a regular 1.2-litre four-cylinder engine.

Compared with the latter, the Euro 5-compliant 900cc Twin Air engine – which includes the MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve management system – is said to use 15 per cent less fuel and offer 25 per cent more performance, making it more comparable to a 1.4-litre 16-valve four-cylinder engine, albeit with 30 per cent better fuel economy.

Fiat also says the engine is an ideal unit for hybrid and kinetic energy recovery systems, and that it has been designed for alternative fuels such as methane.

To debut in the 500 in Europe in September but ruled out for Australia (without government incentives for low-emission cars, according to importer Ateco Automotive), the Twin Air will initially be offered in 63kW guise that offers 95g/km of CO2.

It can reportedly be tuned to produce between 48kW and 78kW, with both turbocharged and naturally aspirated versions to be offered.

A seven-seat passenger version of the Fiat Doblo light van – which is not under consideration for Australia, nor is the van version – will also be shown at Geneva, as will a number of Lancia models, including the Delta small car, Ypsilon light car and Musa mini-MPV, on a stand shared with new alliance partner Chrysler, which will show the 300C large car and others.

Fiat describes the two brands coming together at the Swiss show as a “symbolic fusion of Lancia and Chrysler under the banner of the values that they share: from elegance to technological innovation, from history to the will to shine in the future”.

The main attraction is the Ypsilon ‘Elle’ limited edition, which makes an association with the women’s fashion magazine and clothing and accessories business, while the special Musa show car is inspired by “high-end jewellery” and pays tribute to Audrey Hepburn (“the immortal symbol of elegance and beauty”).

As GoAuto reported exclusively in January, Fiat is planning to return the Lancia brand to Australia, rebadged as Chryslers.

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