As Alfa Romeo prepares to launch its next all-new model, dubbed the 149, test mules have been spotted, details have come into focus and speculations have been rendered.

The five-door hatchback will join the MiTo in replacing the aging 147. Sources suggest that the 149 moniker could be dropped before the car is unveiled next year, only a few telling months after the Volkswagen Golf VI is due for its debut. Borrowing styling cues from the 8C Competizione and MiTo, the Alfa 149 is expected it to include a new three-arm rear suspension and Alfa's trick Q2 differential, with the eventual availability of Q4 all-wheel-drive remaining a question mark. Diesel and gasoline engines are anticipated to range between 120 and 250 horsepower, and the 149 is tipped to be complying with the upcoming six-star EuroNCAP safety rating, and more tellingly, new U.S. crash requirements as well.

Some still maintain that the Alfa hatch will be based on the same platform that underpins the Fiat Bravo and Lancia Delta, although Alfa representatives have asserted that the 149 will spearhead its own unique platform. Either way, the platform could underpin the replacement for the 159 sedan and wagon, as well as the replacements for the Brera and Spider, while Alfa executives continue to deliberate over the possibility of a crossover model as well.

[Sources: Autocar and Projetto 940]