Thursday, September 21, 2006

2007 Alfa 149

Pictured below is a recent CGI of the Alfa Romeo 149 presented by Italian site Infomotori. Recent computer illustrated images are based on reliable information, notably some high-profile leaks from Alfa Romeo internal presentations. The most recent information brings good news. It was not known if the new “small” Alfa would be based on the bigger brother 159 or on the next Fiat Stilo. We now know that it will use the more sophisticated 159 platform which means AWD will be available in some versions as well as more sophisticated suspension design. It also means that the 149 will be very big. A recent report from someone that attended an internal presentation claims that the new Alfa is bigger than any other compact in this class, although it will not be strong on interior space!… In typical Alfa style, function follows form. The expected range of engines includes everything from the 159 plus a new 1.4 turbo engine. It is not known if the interior will follow the same theme of the Alfa 159 but it is expected to be different, as happened with the previous 156/147 models.

The Alfa 149 will fit in an expanding segment in Europe. The “premium-compact” segment features such cars as the Audi A3, Volvo C30, and Alfa 147/149. All of these cars share most of the underpinnings and parts with much cheaper models but are cleverly marketed and presented to appeal to a more sophisticated audience. Design features and interior presentation are key-areas to excel in this class of cars. The Alfa 149 will face very stiff competition from the Audi A3, Volvo C30 and possibly a future Saab 9-something. But it also competes with the “uber-compacts” from the luxury-compact segment. More cash-filled consumers as well as conaisseurs and enthusiasts tend to spend their money in the BMW 1-series or the Mercedes sportcoupe that feature superior RWD platforms and superior levels of quality and reliability. Still, the Alfa 149 has very good chances if the design is as good as it promises. And Alfa needs to find success with this car since the Alfa 159 is not selling as expected...

Quick note: the interested reader might want to know if the interior photo is real. For starters the nav-screen is placed too low for good visibility, and if you look at the image on it... surprise. Photoshop, of course!

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