Testing mule for Alfa’s new premium hatch seen testing in Germany
4 April 2008

Our spies have spotted this prototype Alfa Romeo 149 running cooling system tests at the Nurburgring.Although this mule looks like a Fiat Bravo from the rear, its disguised front-end is lifted straight from the forthcoming 149, a premium hatchback that will rival the likes of the Audi A3.Despite extensive cladding around the front end, the 149’s next-generation Alfa family styling is obvious. The tapered headlights and outline of the front grille should bring cohesion with the recently unveiled MiTo, Alfa¹s new supermini.Leaked documents from Alfa tell us that the 149 will come with engines offering between 120bhp and 265bhp, and that its launch is scheduled for 2009.

Join the debate

Comments
5

6 April 2008

"...although this mule looks like a Fiat Bravo from the rear..."

Bad Alfa! Don't worry folks, it's not really a FIAT!

7 April 2008

I'm sure it will look the business and hopefully will back up the looks with real substance.

10 April 2008

I was considering a 159 recently, I believed Alfa's quality had improved. They're so beautiful both myself and my wife really wanted to believe they were a quality purchase despite some dynamic shortcomings etc.

So we popped into our nearest Alfa dealer and were handed the keys to a 159 straight off the delivery lorry, it wasn't even washed yet and there was still packing materials on the door etc. But then I got worried when the key fob wouldn't release the boot remotely. I stepped in and tried the interior release (on the roof), nothing. Looked around the back, no key slot, no button - nothing. I went back to the dealer and asked for assistance. It took him about 3 attempts to get the car started only after which the boot decided to release. I then sat into the drivers seat still hoping to absorb some of that Alfa charm as i looked at the quaint dials labelled in italian. But the dream shattered when i noticed the ceiling plastic was all scuffed and marked on this completly brand new car. A panel to the right hand side of the lower dashboard was loose and the plastic retainer about to fall on the floor. And around my feet were some bits of trim that had already lost the will to cling onto wherever they were originally attached. So won't be buying an Alf and I really wanted one. If an Alfa can't win the heart of an avid enthusiast in the showroom, what hope have they with "normal" buyers. Especially if you consider depreciation, poor dealer servicing, dubious reliability etc.

10 April 2008

[quote gsmithEIDW]

I was considering a 159 recently, I believed Alfa's quality had improved. They're so beautiful both myself and my wife really wanted to believe they were a quality purchase despite some dynamic shortcomings etc.

So we popped into our nearest Alfa dealer and were handed the keys to a 159 straight off the delivery lorry, it wasn't even washed yet and there was still packing materials on the door etc. But then I got worried when the key fob wouldn't release the boot remotely. I stepped in and tried the interior release (on the roof), nothing. Looked around the back, no key slot, no button - nothing. I went back to the dealer and asked for assistance. It took him about 3 attempts to get the car started only after which the boot decided to release. I then sat into the drivers seat still hoping to absorb some of that Alfa charm as i looked at the quaint dials labelled in Italian. But the dream shattered when i noticed the ceiling plastic was all scuffed and marked on this completely brand new car. A panel to the right hand side of the lower dashboard was loose and the plastic retainer about to fall on the floor. And around my feet were some bits of trim that had already lost the will to cling onto wherever they were originally attached. So won't be buying an Alf and I really wanted one. If an Alfa can't win the heart of an avid enthusiast in the showroom, what hope have they with "normal" buyers. Especially if you consider depreciation, poor dealer servicing, dubious reliability etc.

[/quote]

This is a real shame. Non of your findings happened on any of the test drives I had and subsequently I ordered my car. 56 plate bought new, now has 22k on the clock no problems.

The boot release issue you had. This has to be switched on via the toggle switch on the left stalk. This controls approx. 20 different things that you can access, all the details then come up on the screen between the rev counter and speedo. That is probably the reason the interior boot release did not work. The dealer should have given you a car that was registered for demo's.

10 April 2008

There's something about Alfa Romeo, like Jaguar, that from the bottom of your heart makes you want them to do well (and not mess up). With Jaguar they've done amazingly to pull round the quality and top JD Power surveys but wrapped the quality in an old flat cap design package until recently!

With Alfa the outside packaging has been funky and sharp but the inside, both the quirky, plasticky interiors and lack of faith in the engineering and components is the turn off.

Maybe this possible Jag-Alfa tie-up platform share, and each others strong points rub off on each other, is a very, very good idea!

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK