Alfa Romeo Giulietta hits the European market with full details, photos

Alfa Romeo Giulietta – Click above for high-res image gallery

Ladies and Gents, say hello to the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Then say goodbye. Because although Alfa Romeo says this car is slated to reach "all major markets," apparently that doesn't include North America.

Following its public unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show last month, Alfa has finally released full details and a whole slew of photos of the new five-door sport-hatch. And whether it makes it Stateside or not, this stands to be a pivotal, make-it or break-it product for the stoic Italian marque that celebrates its centenary this year.

Aside from this being a new Alfa – which is reason enough for many to sit up and pay attention – what you're looking at here is Italy's chief contender for the coveted Ford Focus/ Volkswagen Golf segment. And quite a contender it is, from the looks of things. Follow the jump to read the how and why.

The Giulietta is the second new vehicle Alfa has introduced to replace the long-serving 147 hatchback, joining the three-door MiTo in anchoring the brand's range while reviving a classic nameplate for the marque. Stylistically, it's also the third model to follow the company's newest design direction, following the lead set by the flagship 8C Competizione and the aforementioned MiTo. And while the styling may have lost some fans in its transition from supercar to supermini, it appears to translate better to the Giulietta's longer frame better.

The interior likewise draws its inspiration from the 8C Competizione, particularly around the dashboard. Despite the relatively high belt-line – especially in the back – the cabin has a much airier look and feel than the more cocooning MiTo, thanks in part to the expansive optional sunroof. It's also packed with all the features you'd expect of a new product from a major automaker, topped by an options list that includes Bose sound, TomTom nav and the Blue&Me connectivity system developed with Microsoft.

The tech isn't limited to the cabin, however. At launch, Alfa is offering the Giulietta with four engine options: gasoline-burning 1.4-liter turbo fours with 120 or 170 horsepower (the latter assisted by Fiat's MultiAir variable valve technology) and a pair of turbo-diesel, displacing 1.6 and 2 liters and producing 105 and 170 hp, respectively. The Quadrifoglio Verde – bearing Alfa's legendary cloverleaf badge – will follow, packing a 1.8-liter, direct-injection turbo four with 235 horsepower on tap, as will a new dual-clutch transmission. In the meantime a six-speed manual serves all four engine options.

Market-wise, the Giulietta presents a compelling case. Although its upscale stature, coveted badge and equipment list puts it squarely in league with premium hatchbacks like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, its pricing comes closer to a Golf or Focus, giving Alfa a serious contender against models in both segments.

You can read more details about the Giulietta in the press release below, and view all the high-resolution photos in the gallery. But as important a product as the new Giulietta is for Alfa Romeo and its parent company Fiat, it's also the harbinger of things to come for the brand and the rapidly expanding auto giant. The new Giulia is slated to be based on a modified version of the same platform, replacing the stylistically brilliant but dynamically flawed 159 sedan and sportwagon, to say nothing of the successor to the Brera and Spider models. Sources also expect a slew of new Chrysler models to borrow the same architecture. So whether or not the Giulietta as we see it here makes it to American shores, its platform, engines and other features almost certainly will.

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Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Model in brief

Having made its world preview at the recent Geneva International Motor Show, the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta makes its debut today and, from May this year, will be marketed progressively on all the major markets, thus relaunching the brand in one of the most important segments in Europe.

In Alfa Romeo's Centenary year, the name Giulietta is a tribute to an automobile and an Alfa Romeo legend. In the Fifties, the Giulietta caught the imagination of car enthusiasts throughout the world, making the dream of owning an Alfa Romeo and enjoying its high level of comfort and technical excellence accessible for the first time.

Now the Alfa Romeo Style Centre has produced a new Giulietta, a five-door hatchback with an evident Alfa Romeo appearance and capable of expressing both great agility on the most demanding routes and providing comfort on everyday journeys. This is due to the new Compact platform which, thanks to the sophisticated technical solutions employed for the suspension, the dual pinion active steering, the sophisticated materials used and the manufacturing technologies implemented, allows the Giulietta to achieve exceptionally high standards both in terms of on-board comfort as well as its dynamic and safety features (active and passive).

A new platform to enhance road holding and agility in total comfort and safety

The Giulietta introduces an entirely new platform - called Compact - designed to satisfy the most demanding customers in terms of road-holding, agility and safety. It ensures both exceptional dynamic performance and high comfort levels, thanks to the refined technical solutions employed for the suspension, a new-generation steering system, a light and rigid structure created from materials such as aluminium and high-strength steels, and avant-garde manufacturing techniques.

This new platform will allow the Giulietta to accommodate the needs of all customers in this category, combining on-board comfort, functional interiors and generous boot space, with the dynamic qualities that belong to every Alfa Romeo. Furthermore, driving satisfaction and comfort can be adapted to meet every customer's specific needs thanks to the Alfa DNA selector, a device that customises the vehicle's behaviour to suit different road conditions and driving styles. The new platform of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta was designed to integrate the vehicle's different systems and exploit them to the full, thus emphasising the three set-up functions (Dynamic, Normal and All Weather) available through the Alfa DNA selector. This device, fitted as standard on the entire range of the new model, is designed to modify the operating parameters of the engine, gearbox, steering system and Q2 electronic differential, in addition to the behaviour logic of the Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC).

Sporty and comfortable, Italian style

The perfect blend of sportiness and style, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta redefines the Brand's technological standards and emotional values.

The front displays a brand new interpretation of the classic shield, embedded in the front bumper and suspended between the air vents. This is the starting point for the design of the entire car, which combines an energetic personality with a distinctly elegant form. The front headlights have DRL with LED technology and a day light function for maximum active safety.

Even the profile of the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is brimming with personality, giving the impression of an agile and sturdy car. This is above all due to the side windows which recall the appearance of a coupé, emphasising the dynamism and fluidity of form, thanks also to the concealed rear door handles. The ribs on the sides of the vehicle seem to elongate the car while the clean lines which end at the rear accentuate the angular shape of the car's body.

The rear, like the front and side, features distinct styling which emphasises the feeling of a muscular car, firmly gripped onto the road surface. In addition, like the headlights, the innovative rear lights also use LED technology, not only for the sake of style but also preventive safety.

Lastly, the measurements of the new car amount to a compact and dynamic shape, while at the same time guaranteeing excellent comfort and a spacious boot (350 litres): it is 4.35 metres long, 1.46 metres high and 1.80 metres wide, with a wheelbase of 2.63 metres.

Advanced features for maximum wellbeing on board

Attention to detail and high quality materials used for interiors are, today as always, the most developed expression of Italian style. More specifically, the dominant concept in the interiors of the new model is lightness. The lines are clean and the dashboard develops horizontally. The seats are comfortable and their shape is designed to ensure maximum comfort during long journeys.

Thanks to the advanced ergonomics in the interior design, every switch is ideally located: the main ones are grouped together at the centre of the dashboard and feature the same design as those on the 8C Competizione.

The navigation system with pop-up display allows drivers to safely display the route or the mechanical operating parameters set by the Alfa DNA device without having to take their eyes off the road.

There are practical open storage compartments situated in various areas of the passenger compartment: in front of the gearbox, on the centre console and on the interior trim of the doors. There are closed storage compartments - depending on the version - on the top of the dashboard, under the dashboard opposite the front passenger (cooled with dual zone climate control) and in the front and rear armrests.

Innovative engines for a thrilling, environmentally-friendly drive

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta guarantees the highest levels of performance and technology through a range of engines that are state-of-the-art in terms of technology, performance levels and environmental-friendliness. At the time of its commercial launch, 4 Turbo engines will be available, all Euro 5 compliant and with a Start&Stop system to reduce consumption levels and emissions fitted as standard: two petrol versions (120 HP 1.4TB and 170 HP 1.4TB Multiair) and two diesels (105 HP 1.6 JTDM and 170 HP 2.0 JTDM, both second-generation MultiJet engines). The range is completed by the high performance 235 HP 1750 TBi with direct injection and scavenging control in combination with exclusive Quadrifoglio Verde interiors.

This latter version equipped with a 235 HP 1750 TBi engine perfectly represents the way in which Alfa Romeo offers the most in this segment. Not just a means of transport, but a vehicle that can really connect with the customer. There is strong acceleration thanks to high torque levels even at low revs, a smooth response that minimises gearbox use thanks to the flexibility typical of modern petrol engines, and an engine note that is engaging without ever becoming intrusive. In detail, the 1750 Turbo petrol engine boasts advanced technical solutions including direct fuel injection, dual continuously variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system that gets rid of any turbo lag. The resulting performance is comparable to – or better than – that of many 3-litre engines while still delivering fuel consumption typical of a compact four cylinder unit. It should be noted that the specific power of 134 HP/litre is the highest in the world for a 4-cylinder unit installed in this category of vehicles, as well as being the highest ever achieved by an Alfa Romeo production engine. The specific torque too, totalling 194 Nm/litre, is the highest of all petrol engines in this category, while the maximum torque of 340 Nm, reached at just 1,900 revs, is excellent.

The range of engines available can accommodate the needs of all customers. First of all the 120 HP 1.4TB is the ideal engine for those in search of a car that can handle city traffic effortlessly while keeping running costs to a minimum. The turbo engine guarantees prompt response even at low revs (maximum torque is achieved at just 1,750 revs) while Start&Stop, in the city, makes it possible to cut consumption and harmful emission levels drastically, without compromising comfort and on-board safety.

The 170 HP 1.4 TB Multiair engine is an amalgam of technology, which blends high performance levels with the lowest emissions and fuel consumption levels in its class for petrol engines of this power rating. It is a brilliant and flexible engine, with a maximum torque of a generous 250 Nm (when set to Dynamic), fitted with a Start&Stop system and with fuel consumption and emission levels resembling a diesel engine more than a petrol one with this power rating (4.6 l/100 km in the extra-urban cycle and 134 g/km of CO2 emissions). The combination of this engine with the new platform places the Giulietta at the top of its segment both for its dynamic qualities as well as comfort and practicality during everyday use.

The 105 HP 1.6 JTDM is a flexible and economical diesel engine that will surprise customers due to its prompt response (in Dynamic mode, max. torque is a generous 320 Nm at just 1,750 revs) combined with extremely low fuel consumption (in the extra-urban cycle, it is just 3.7 l/100 km). This is possible thanks to the combination of second-generation MultiJet technology and the Start&Stop system. Consequently, it is an engine dedicated to all those in search of a car with character and a distinctive style, affording the typical agility and handling of an Alfa Romeo yet able to combine the latter with limited running costs.

For customers who use the car mostly on the motorway or who demand the maximum performance levels from a diesel engine, Alfa Romeo suggests the 170 HP 2.0 JTDM. Again, it is an amalgam of technology which combines second-generation MultiJet technology with the Start&Stop system. The result is a vehicle with the highest performance levels of its segment, extremely flexible driving (with the dna selector set to Dynamic mode, the available torque at 1,750 revs is a generous 350 Nm), among the lowest fuel consumption and emission levels in its category for cars with this power rating (124 g/km of CO2 and 4.1 l/100 km in the extra-urban cycle). Thanks to the exceptional qualities of the new compact platform, this version is able to blend fantastic dynamic and motoring performance levels with the highest comfort and practicality in its segment.

All the engines are combined with a state-of-the-art manual 6-speed gearbox belonging to the three axle transmission family, which can withstand and transmit high maximum torque values. Subsequently, the Multiair and 170 HP 2.0 JTDM engines will also be combined with an innovative dual-clutch automatic transmission.

Segment-leading safety, comfort and dynamic behaviour

The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was designed to achieve the highest Euro NCAP safety rating to offer total protection for both driver and passengers. In addition, the new platform was devised to guarantee the utmost interaction of the systems in charge of controlling the vehicle dynamics.

All this is controlled by the real 'brain' of the vehicle, namely the Alfa dna device, which manages all the sophisticated electronic devices for dynamic vehicle control: VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), Dual Pinion Active Steering, the Q2 electronic differential, the response and torque curve of the engine, the braking system with pre-fill function. All these systems guarantee genuine Alfa Romeo driving safety, vehicle traction and performance.

The new compact platform, thanks to the sophisticated technical solutions employed for the suspension and the materials used, such as high-strength steels, aluminium, magnesium and xenoy, can accommodate the needs of the most demanding customers in terms of on-board comfort and quiet running, placing the Giulietta at the top of its category also in terms of the everyday practicality of the vehicle.

Extensive range

Devised to cater for the different needs of segment C car drivers in pursuit of driving satisfaction and comfort, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is available in two versions (Progression and Distinctive), along with two customisations (Sport Pack and Premium Pack).

All the devices linked to active and passive safety are fitted as standard on the entire range. The Progression version comes with the Alfa dna system (with Q2 electronic differential and DST), VDC (including ASR and hill holder), 6 airbags, front seat belts with dual pretensioners and front seats with anti-whiplash system as standard. The standard equipment also includes manual climate control, 16'' wheels, front and rear electric windows, trip computer, stereo system with dual tuner radio, 6 speakers and MP3 CD player. The latter version (Distinctive) offers the following in addition to the standard equipment of the former: 16" alloy wheels, dual zone automatic climate control, leather steering wheel with radio controls, front armrest with storage compartment, cruise control, fog lights, reconfigurable control panel, seats upholstered in Competizione fabric, front armrest, and a stylish chromed insert (chrome line) framing the side windows. The dashboard on the Distinctive version is also distinguished by a stylish insert painted in magnesium grey or, alternatively, in Ghiaccio white, Alfa Red as well as in brushed burnished aluminium.

Customers can further customise their Giulietta with two specific Packs (Sport and Premium). The first pack is designed to highlight the sporty character of the vehicle with specific features which improve the already excellent handling of the car and includes 17''or 18'' alloy wheels, side skirts, sports pedals, sports seats with leather and microfibre fabric upholstery, brushed burnished aluminium dashboard insert, burnished headlight frames and dark interiors (black ceiling and pillar lining).

For customers in search of even more technological and complete on-board equipment, the Premium Pack includes bi-xenon lights with AFS function, the Blue&Me system with Bluetooth function, USB port and MP3 player, radio/mobile phone controls on steering wheel, rear parking sensors, rain-dusk-humidity sensors, electrically folding door mirrors and an electrochromic rear-view mirror.

To customise their Giulietta, customers can also choose from the list of options available, including a large panoramic sunroof, navigation system with maps and pop-up display and a Bose® Hi-fi. In addition, the Blue&Me–TomTom system is also available, which adds navigation functions to the functions of the Blue&Me® thanks to the TomTom portable navigation system which is perfectly integrated with the vehicle's existing systems thanks to a Bluetooth® interface. The TomTom portable navigation system is positioned on the dashboard using a support designed to guarantee maximum safety in the event of impact and complete integration with the vehicle's other systems and improved ergonomics in everyday use.

There is also a special trim specification dedicated to the version fitted with the 235 HP 1750 TBi engine. It's called the Quadrifoglio Verde (four-leafed clover), a legendary brand which has competed on tracks all over the world. Only available on this engine type, this special version is distinguished by its sporty lowered ride height (15 mm at the front and 10 mm at the rear), 17'' wheels (18'' as an optional), an enhanced braking system with calipers painted Alfa red, as well as sporty interiors which include sporty leather and microfibre seats. All designed to guarantee the best in driving pleasure and segment-leading active and passive safety. It offers reduced fuel consumption for this power rating; the "Quadrifoglio Verde" is thus reinterpreted for today, combining the utmost driving pleasure with greater environmental awareness for eco-conscious and environmentally-friendly sportiness.

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