Alfa Romeo is to celebrate its 2010 centenary year by launching an all-new, five-door Volkswagen Golf chaser. Company bosses believe it could become the best-selling Alfa in history.
The car replaces the 147 and has been through three name changes already. Originally called 148, it was then renamed Milano. That name has now been changed due to pressure from Alfa workers in the firm's home city of Milan, who are unhappy with the use of the name following Alfa's decision to relocate to Turin. The firm has now settled on calling it Giulietta.
Alfa plans to launch the Giulietta in Italy in late March. The UK launch will coincide with the Goodwood Festival of Speed in June, where Alfa Romeo will be the featured marque.
The car will be made as a five-door only. It features a Golf-sized rear compartment but a coupe-like roofline and disguised rear door handles (as used on the 147) to enhance its sporting credentials. The shape draws obvious influence from both the outgoing 147 and the new Mito supermini, but it looks more modern than either.
It has the most striking three-dimensional version of Alfa’s shield grille yet, supported by two prominent lower lateral air intakes. The muscular sculpting of the body sides leads to prominent rear haunches, with twin exhausts and a diffuser beneath a rear panel whose LED tail-lights echo shapes pioneered in the 156.
Suspension is MacPherson struts at the front and a new multi-link design at the rear.
Inside, the Giulietta echoes the twin-binnacle, driver-oriented fascia design that Alfas have traditionally used, but with the familiar centre stack replaced with a simplified, lateral panel. The interior uses novel trim textures and body-coloured metal to signify a change from Alfa traditions.