Saturday, 1 January 2011

Alfa revives curvy Giulia

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The Giulia is ready for its close-up! Alfa Romeo is preparing a stunning new BMW 3-Series rival for next year – and our exclusive image shows how the storming 300bhp Cloverleaf version is shaping up.

The successor to the 159 follows the design language first introduced on the MiTo, and reinterpreted on the Giulietta, and will uphold the Italian company’s tradition of building beautiful cars. A shark-like nose, LED lights and clutter-free body panels give even more road presence than its key German rivals. And the hot Cloverleaf shown here is marked out by a road-hugging bodykit, 19-inch alloy wheels and the distinctive Quadrifoglio Verde badge on the flanks.

Many had hoped the Giulia would use a rear-wheel-drive layout, but our sources have revealed that won’t be the case until the next-generation car. For the time being, it will feature a stretched version of the Giulietta’s platform – underpinnings that will also grace Alfa’s forthcoming SUVs.

Bosses are aiming for a class-leading balance of ride and handling, and will introduce an Active Roll Control system. This tightens up the springs and dampers automatically through corners. What’s more, an optional two-mode Active Damping programme will enable the driver to tailor the trade-off between comfort and agility.

Completing the package will be the switchable DNA system already seen on the MiTo and Giulietta – this alters steering weight and throttle response.

The engine line-up taps into owner Fiat’s latest MultiAir technology, and will be among the most advanced in the class. As well as the 1.4-litre turbo unit from the Giulietta – with 118bhp or 168bhp – the Giulia will be offered with the Brera’s 200bhp 1750 TBi powerplant.

Biggest sellers in the UK, however, are expected to be models fitted with the latest JTDm diesel powerplants. These range in output from 104bhp to 200bhp.

The top-spec Cloverleaf will feature a modified version of Fiat subsidiary Chrysler’s Pentastar 3.3-litre petrol V6, complete with MultiAir technology and direct fuel injection, for more power and lower CO2 emissions.

Alfa is aiming for an output of 300bhp, delivered through Q2 front-wheel-drive or Q4 all-wheel-drive transmissions. That will make the hottest model a direct rival for Audi’s sizzling S5. To underline the importance of the new