The Alfa Romeo Giulietta will be quieter and better-riding than a VW Golf, and more agile than a Ford Focus, according to its makers.
The all-new five-door hatchback will be launched at Geneva next month, and is the first Alfa model to utilise a new compact chassis.
As a result, Alfa is already claiming European class supremacy in handling, steering feel, performance-to-weight, ride comfort, NVH and safety, according to Matteo Benedetto, the Giulietta project manager.
For comparison tests, Alfa engineers chose the model they feel marks the “sweet spot” in the range, the 170bhp turbocharged MultiAir 1.4 litre with twin-clutch paddle-shift gearbox.
Priced similarly to VW Golf’s range, the Giulietta is likely to follow the same three-tier line-up (Touring, Lusso and Veloce) as the Mito, though there will be an even zippier 1.8-litre, 235 bhp Cloverleaf version at the very top. Most models will be in British showrooms by June.
The new chassis on which the Giulietta is based is also earmarked for a range of Fiat-Chrysler group vehicles that will eventually include sports cars, 4x4 saloons and SUVs.
Fiat Group chief, Sergio Marchionne, says the Alfa marque’s prospect of being launched in the US depend heavily on whether the Giulietta achieves its European targets first.
He is determined that the car, whose name was changed from Milano at the last minute after a dispute with Milanese workers, will reinstate the marque’s reputation for fine handling and performance.