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Alfa enters hot hatch fray

Hot hatch: Alfa Romeo's 145 hatchback (above) will be superseded by the 147 late next year. The newcomer will be offered here in 2001.

Alfa Romeo will enter the hot hatch segment in 2001 with the all-new 147

9 Nov 1999

ALFA Romeo will take on the likes of the Peugeot 206 GTI and Volkswagen Golf with its all-new 147 hatchback, expected here in early 2001. Due to be unveiled at next September's Paris motor show, the 147 will supersede the current 145, which has earned its fair share of critical acclaim and sales success in Europe. The 147 will be available with a range of petrol and turbo-diesel engines in Europe but Australian spec cars are likely to be offered with a choice of three petrol units. Base level models will come with 1.6 and 1.8-litre powerplants while the sporty flagship model should pack a formidable punch thanks to a cracking 2.0-litre engine. The newcomer will be available in three and five-door formats in Europe - both body styles are expected to be offered here as well. Pricing is likely to start around $32,000 in today's money with the flagship model expected to cost about $43,000. Alfa Romeo Australia spokesman Mr Edward Rowe says the 147 will be more dramatically styled than the current 156, a car that has been praised for its striking retro-inspired lines. The 156 range, incidentally, will be supplemented by a station wagon variant sometime next year. Although pricing and specification levels are yet to be finalised, a premium of about $3000 over a similarly equipped sedan is likely. Meanwhile, Alfa Romeo Australia is offering 100 millennium edition Spiders for $59,500 each - a reduction of $10,000 on the normal retail price. "The price reduction means people who are thinking of buying a Mazda MX-5 or MGF should pause and think about the Spider," Mr Rowe said. The convertible comes extremely well equipped with dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, alloy wheels, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a CD player, electric windows and mirrors, central locking and a Momo leather steering wheel among the standard features. Largely due to a decline in demand for roadsters - as well as stiff opposition from the Mazda MX-5, MGF, BMW Z3 and recently launched Honda S2000 - Spider sales have been sluggish this year with just 78 sold until the end of October. Alfa Romeo Australia is confident the generous discount on the millennium edition will lift sales substantially.

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