• Oct 2nd 2007 at 1:02PM
  • 10

As the Italians ready to launch their second attack on BMW's MINI following the debut of the hot-selling Fiat 500, more details of the upcoming "Alfa Junior" emerge with each passing week. The inside scoop now places the new premium hatch for debut at the Geneva show next March, with an anticipated European market launch next October, one year from now.

Based on the already sexy Giugiaro-designed Fiat Grande Punto, AR Project 955 is set to introduce the very best of Italian automotive design and technology to the supermini segment. Sketches released suggest that Alfa's Centro Stile drew inspiration for the front end from the sexiest-thing-on-wheels 8C Competizione and the Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano for the tail, with a F430-style lip spoiler and a rear diffuser with twin tailpipes on the top-spec 230-hp version.

[Source: Italiaspeed]

The Junior will also be the first car outside Maranello to use Ferrari's steering-wheel-mounted "Manettino" switch to control the SDC active suspension. A wide range of engines will be on offer, starting with a 105-hp 1.4-liter Multiair four with variable valve timing, followed by a selection of 1.4 and 1.8 turbos with 135, 180 and 230 horsepower, as well as two of Alfa's sweetest 1.2-liter JTDm oil-burners with 120 or 150 horsepower, all mated to either a 6-speed manual or Alfa's Selespeed semi-automatic.

Don't get too used to calling it the Junior, though, as the company has launched the "Alfa Naming" contest to pick the best nameplate. Held in conjunction with some of Europe's biggest car mags – what, nobody asked us? – you can check out the English version co-sponsored by Top Gear at alfanaming.co.uk.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      it's clone of Gpunto abarth
      • 8 Years Ago
      Proud to be italian
      • 8 Years Ago
      another 6/10ths scale Murano, Nissan missed out designing.

      that look nice
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like the rear shot, but no alfa's face has ever appealed to me. I must be a minority in all this since everyone else seems to love alfas, but the triangle-ish shaped front grill always ruins it for me.... it didn't work on the Impreza or Tribeca and I wonder why people think it works on other cars. Widen that front grill thing and it'll look infinitely better.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Speedball3, I am with you on the grill part, it looks like a pig snot, doesn't do it for me. I have been a fan of Italian designs few years ago but after a while they all start to look the same. Same ol' curves, usually no creases (BMW calls it flame surfacing and I am a big fan of that as it gives a car some character whether pretty or ugly), and in this case (as well as the new 8C) I just don't like the rear, looks too damn plain. The only people who think Italians are the best car designers in the world are probably Italian themselves.
        • 8 Years Ago
        Nope love the front end... something about it reminds me of well... yeah, the shape of a bikini bottom on a beatiful woman, can't help it, the triangle is a sexy shape on a sexy car.
      • 8 Years Ago
      IMHO, the facia of the 159/Brera/Spyder actually look really nice thanks to the three small circular headlights in the cowling on either side. The one thing that does spoil the look a little is that you have to mount the license plate asymmetrically on virtually all Alfas. It's like a teenager wearing an Armani suit and a baseball cap - backwards.

      As for the name, I'm glad they had the good sense not to stick with "Junior". Something like "Dolce Vita" would be more in line with the Italian spirit the brand is trying to capitalize on. Presumably, Italian flair is also what the target demographic of males under 30 would be looking for.
      • 8 Years Ago
      i really dig it but it will never come stateside. I really wish the MAZDA2 would make its way over here.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I like it, this is a segment that I would love to see get over crowded.

      Small cool cars for everyone!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have been pretty tough on some of the designs I've seen of the Junior, mostly because of a) the cynosures known as the Brera and the 8c Competizione, and b) many of these designs look plain weird.

      However, if the front of this car looks as good as the back, then Alfa should have another bellisimo in its stable.
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