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Alfa Romeo revives Giulietta Sprint

Fast forward: Alfa Romeo hopes that the Sprint can put some zing back into the step of the Giulietta hatch.

Legendary Sprint badge brought back for Alfa’s ailing Giulietta

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Alfa Romeo logo27 Nov 2015

By TIM ROBSON

ALFA ROMEO has added a little spice to its off-the-boil Giulietta hatch range with the addition of the Sprint variant.

Related in name to a model released just over sixty years ago, the Sprint also echoes its famous forebear’s mechanical specs by offering a 1.4-litre capacity four-cylinder engine.

Sitting second in the local line-up, the Sprint, which will cost $31,000 plus on-road costs, is based on the $29,000 entry-level Progression, but packs a more powerful variant of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles MultiAir 1.4-litre turbocharged four-potter under the bonnet, teamed for the first time with a six-speed manual gearbox.

The 110kW/250Nm engine adds 22kW and 35Nm when compared with the Progression. The next variant up, the $33,000 Distinctive, uses a more potent version of the same engine that makes 15 more kilowatts but the same torque.

The range-topping Giulietta QV, at $39,000, packs a 1.8-litre turbo four spitting out 173kW and 340Nm.

“The Sprint represents the first time that engine and gearbox have been paired,” said FCA Australia senior manager of corporate communications Andrew Chesterton. “We expect the Sprint, which follows Alfa’s tradition of tapping into its rich heritage, to do quite well here.” Mr Chesterton suggested that the Sprint was not likely to become a permanent addition, and that less than 50 will be made available initially.

The Sprint will score additional equipment over the Progression, including 17-inch rims with 225/45 R17 tyres, cloth and Alcantara seats with a Sprint logo, Uconnect 5.0-inch touchscreen with Bluetooth, voice commands, SMS reader, USB port, music streaming and six speakers, black window surrounds and tinted windows.

Headlight surrounds, front foglight bezels, grille, mirrors and door handles are all finished in black, as well.

Standard kit includes LED daytime running lights and LED tail-light clusters, heated body-coloured rearview mirrors, rear spoiler and rear diffuser with oversized exhaust trim, side skirts, carbon effect dashboard and door panels and darkened headlining.

A repositioning of the Giulietta in February this year – including the deletion of a $25,000 driveaway entry level variant – does not appear to have been a success for the local arm of Alfa Romeo, with sales falling by almost 50 per cent year on year.

Customers bought 1126 cars to the end of October, compared to 2093 in the same period last year.

However, the company maintains that it wants to move the marque away from the mainstream and back into a more premium positioning. It is awaiting the arrival of new models to bolster its fortunes, including the Giulia sedan and 4C Spider.

A new Giulietta is unlikely to make it to Australia until 2018 at the earliest.

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