Alfa's replacement for the 147 caught in winter testing
25 February 2009

These are the first spy pictures of the new Alfa Romeo Milano, snapped during winter testing.

Alfa Romeo will pave the way for a major overhaul of its range in 2010 and 2011 by revealing its Multiair direct-injection petrol engines at the Geneva show.

The Multiair units will be seen first in next year’s replacement for the 147 hatch, due to take on the name Milano.

Multiair engines will be claimed as a major technical breakthrough by Alfa. They mix low-pressure turbocharging with valve-actuated metering of the fuel-air mixture into the engine.

Fiat has already shown prototype engines with Multiair, which uses electro-hydraulic control of the valves and dispenses with a conventional throttle butterfly to operate close to the lean-burn cycle.

By using electrohydraulics, Alfa will claim that it gets finer valve control than is possible with mechanical valve timing systems.

In the Milano the Multiair is likely to feature on 1.4 and 1.6-litre petrols, which will produce power outputs comparable with 1.8 and 2.0-litre petrols, but economy closer to that of a diesel engine.

Testing of the Milano is in its final stages ahead of a launch at Geneva in 2010. This prototype, snapped recently, appears to have a stubby gearlever. It carries an AMT designation on a window sticker, which refers to a dual-clutch transmission that Alfa is developing.

Documentation released recently by Chrysler to support its claim for funds from the US government lists dual-clutch transmissions as one of the technologies it is hoping to ‘borrow’ from the Fiat Group.

The Milano is also understood to be based on an all-new platform, rather than a highly modified Bravo chassis.

Alfa’s replacement for the 159, the Giulia, will be built on a long-wheelbase version of the platform. It is due in late 2011.

Chrysler’s planning document suggests that Alfa’s 166 flagship will make a comeback as a platform variant of the rear-drive 300C, a car based on the mid-1990s Mercedes W210 E-Class.

Julian Rendell

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