Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Madness. So where does this lead? Ever faster, until you arrive before you leave? Or simply until you lose your licence?

"Alfa Romeo chose the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show to show off its new performance sedan and to reveal some new information on the car. The Italian brand claims that the Giulia has lapped the legendary Nurburgring in 7 minutes and 39 seconds, the fastest time ever for a sedan and a full 14 seconds faster than its chief rival, the BMW M4. Power for the Italian sports car comes from a Ferrari-built turbocharged 2.9-liter six-cylinder engine that makes 510 hp.

"In a straight line, the Giulia can jump to 62 mph in 3.9 seconds, while performance additions like a dual-clutch transmission and torque vectoring help the car rip through laps on the race track. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the car while all-wheel drive is available and it is unknown as to which setup was used to set the lap record. A curb weight of 3359 lbs and perfect 50/50 weight distribution also go a long way in helping the Giulia QV go fast."

Mind you, it's also quite a cool car. Styling gets a tick and the engine by Ferrari is probably worth paying whatever they want for it. 

Up to a point. I'd still prefer a warm MiTo.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

A "warm" MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde?

Exactly how mad are we? Whilst I always seemed to hanker after more grunt, in reality my 2.0l 90kW, 180Nm '82 GTV is plenty fast enough (pretty close to 9secs 0-100kmh if you want to ruin the transmission). But these days cars are a tad heavier and apparently need to be even "hotter" than what we considered a pretty potent club race rocket back in the 1980s. I have to wonder if it's actually needed or even usable in city traffic. Or even on a circuit. But I'm an old grump.

Here's a description that underlines what I mean:

"While labelled a "hot hatch", it's more likely to fall into the "warm
hatch" brigade with a 1.4-litre MultiAir turbo engine, which develops
maximum power of 125kW at 5500rpm and peak torque of 250Nm at 2500rpm. The Alfa Romeo MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde can sprint from 0-100kmh in 7.5 seconds."

Sounds plenty "hot" enough to me. OK, it's relative to the market - but seriously, isn't there more to a a car than just overkill acceleration?

Read the review here: 

Alfa Romeo applies heat to MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde | Mackay Daily Mercury

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Alfa Romeo bursts into flames in St Ives |

Could happen to any liquid-fueled car. My guess would be a a fuel line came adrift or leaked really badly, causing the car to stall and spraying fuel over something hot... now supposedly the drop in fuel pressure should cause the system to shut down before a full-scale fire erupts but maybe it kept going just long enough to get the fire started. Or it was a badly located fuel line, perhaps relocated due to some mods (that's a guess). And maybe, just maybe, jamming a V6 inside a 147 is just asking for trouble (that's a comment born out of jealousy). Still, it's rare to see, thankfully.

And yes, I carry a fire extinguisher in my 116 GTV.   

Alfa Romeo bursts into flames in St Ives |

“I thought it was funny as there was no reason for it to stall, I
tried to start it again but nothing happened,” Mr Grauaug said.

Mr Grauaug said he started to smell something and almost simultaneously
noticed that a passer-by was indicating that his car was on fire.

“So I got out of the car and literally bolted,” he said.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Still ticking over...

Both me and the GTV, I mean. Sadly I'm not actually driving it much but it does get a "run" at least once a week - in the garage. So I know it "works" at least ;-)

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Alfa parts = note to self, but could be useful to someone else!

Older yet still young Alfas are just starting to get a bit, umm, more challenging to service and repair. Fewer cars on the road, fewer wrecks in the wreckers...

My GTV has Campagnolo wheels... but how about some Momo replicas, if you fancy a classic wheel?

Alfetta GTV/6
The Highwood Motor Company has commissioned a replica of the superb 1970s classic Momo Vega alloy wheel.

Manufactured to the highest standards in the UK by Compomotive, one of the world’s leading wheel manufacturers, they are available in size 14” x 6” and are intended for 105-Series GTVs, Spiders and saloons and 116-Series Alfetta GTVs and saloons.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Purring like a kitten - or an '82 GTV anyway

Did I mention that the GTV is purring like a kitten? Weird, I know. That's what a tune-up can do, if your engine has carbies, anyway ;-)

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The '82 GTV rumbles on...

30 years later, my '82 model Alfa Romeo GTV remains reliable and relatively cheap to run. OK, it uses more gas than a 'modern' car - twin double-choke carbies will do that for you - but it remains on the road and in one piece. Rust is minimal, just on the surface here and there, particularly the boot lid. Paintwork is original, if faded and thin in places!

Mechanically all is well. In the 22-odd years it has been in my company (or close by, as I sold it once and bought it back a few years later) it has received the following attention, in roughly this order:

  • Regular servicing - well all cars need that!
  • New tyres (not that it really needed 'em)
  • Repaired rust from battery overspill in boot (yes, battery in boot - famously non-working aircon fiited under bonnet, takes up space)
  • Electronic ignition (from a newer GTV)
  • Lots of new seals, here there and everywhere, to fix oil leaks
  • New plugs (Alfas have an appetite for Golden Lodge 2HL plugs)
  • At least 3 replacement doughnuts, the type that keep the long, long and fast-spinning driveshaft happy
  • New brake master cylinder (failed on the road, I had to do a "gear-controlled" deceleration)
  • New clutch master cylinder (failed after a New Year's Eve party - the perfect time to practice clutchless gearchanges!)
  • New clutch plates (new ones creaked for a while, that's normal and went away)
  • New wheel bearings (front)
  • New brake pads all 'round (hardly earth-shaking, I know)
  • Reconditioned gearbox (a few worn out bits, it wouldn't hold onto gears under power)
  • Reconditioned petrol tank (blocked breather pipe caused the problem)
  • 'New' block to replace a cracked block (whilst I didn't own it, luckily)
  • Aircon fixed, in a manner of speaking
  • New shocks (Bilstein), not that the new ones had failed, of course
  • Some pre-owned interior bits and pieces from a GTV6
  • Some front suspension bits from a 105
  • More new tyres
  • New distributor brush and cap (I had bought it back by now so of course it stopped running)
  • More new plugs (probably should just include that with 'regular servicing') to give it that 'running on four cyclinders' feeling.
Not too bad for 30 years, anyway. Could do with a respray.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Spanish engineer grandfather with too much time on his hands makes tiny working v12 engine

Not exactly Alfa content but fascinating anyway....

Spanish engineer crafts "world's smallest" V-12 engine
Anyone who appreciates the precision art of engine design ought to get a kick out of this offering from a Spanish engineer named Patelo. Starting with hunks of aluminum, bronze and stainless steel, he spent over 1200 hours designing, milling, turning and drilling what he claims is "probably" the world's smallest V12 engine. Powered by compressed air injection (0.1kg/sq cm), this little marvel boasts a total displacement of 12 cubic centimeters from its twelve 11.3 mm diameter pistons and works like a charm.

Friday, May 27, 2011

It's old, it's small, it's stylish. It's named after a French-Canadian city. It's an Alfa, of course.

Just doing a Montreal-watch I guess. Good condition. Tick. Owned previously by a rock-star's wife. Tick (hmmm, is that a good thing?). Small capacity, stylish and it works. More ticks. It's also unusual in overall concept. So all ticks, really. Of course you'll spend big bucks on it, but that's part of the price of entry.

PistonHeads Headlines - You Know You Want To... Alfa Romeo Montreal
This particular Montreal has the added draw of having once been owned by Yasmin LeBon (to all PHers who are under 35, she's a stunning former model who married Duran Duran frontman Simon LeBon. If you don't know who Duran Duran were, you're not missing much...). Described by its current owner as being 'in condition one, but not concours' this car appears to be completely original, having had no major work done to it, just the correct maintenance.

Alfa 4C - sub 2 litre sports mid-engine - to spawn both Maserati and Abarth versions?

Well it makes some sense to share, even if it rarely works: take one design and remodel and rebrand it several times (think Alfa 164 and its SAAB and Lancia cousins). In this case it's a low-volume "exclusive" mid-engine sports car, so they will have to be careful with the differentiation or the "exclusivity" will not wash at all...

On the good side, it's a 4 cylinder and relatively light and frugal for this level of performance. Why throw petrol away simply shifting needlessly porky pounds?

Maserati To Build Its Own Version Of Alfa Romeo 4C: Report
Both Alfa and Maserati have proven their ability to turn out fantastic exteriors and truly gorgeous interiors, things that have, at times, been lacking in the segment, even toward the upper end.

Pair that with the 4C's largely carbon fiber construction, a 200-horsepower turbocharged 1.75-liter four-cylinder and a curb weight below 1,800 pounds and you have something of the old Lotus born into an Italian body. What could go wrong with that formula? Even better, there's an Abarth Roadster version planned that will drop the top and bring the fight to the Boxster and its cohorts as well.

Alfa Romeo 4C U.S. Bound, Abarth Roadster Version Planned
Taking inspiration from the legendary 33 Stradale from 1967, the new 4C follows the route of limited weight, made possible by extensive use of carbon, which also plays a structural role and guarantees exceptional agility with a weight/power ratio which is lower than 9 pounds per horsepower. The low-slung sports car tips the scales at just 1,784 pounds and develops more than 200 horsepower from its direct injected and turbocharged 1.75-liter four-cylinder engine.

A classy European seen testing on US soil (OK, it's an Alfa Giulietta)

With the price of gas rising inexorably at the pumps the US market's taste for smaller, more efficient cars is growing. About time, I know. Just think about the billions of barrels effectively wasted all over the world by the motor industry's twin obsessions - OTT performance and "model evolution". Where model evolution means a small car becomes a much larger one over time, accruing extra weight via driver-distracting "features" and pork-focused "ease of use". Whilst European cars fall prey to up-sizing as well they are generally more effective packagers. Alfa is certainly one of the best at combining good performance with economy and practicality and dressing it up with some Italian style, so their re-appearance in the US makes sense.

Spied! Alfa Romeo Giulietta Testing on Michigan Streets - WOT on Motor Trend
Having just caught the Fiat Doblo testing in its backyard last week, our friends at Automobile recently spotted the Alfa Romeo Giulietta driving on U.S. soil – wearing manufacturer plates no less. Although parent company Fiat can’t seem to make up its mind about Alfa’s American comeback, this photo seems to substantiate the Italian automaker’s claim that the brand will return to the U.S. market by 2013.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Gasp - an almost "good" review for an Alfa. Still loaded with cliched prejudice, though

DISCLAIMER: I've always preferred smaller, more economical cars with some sporty, stylish flair. Brand doesn't matter that much - but Alfas generally seem to satisfy best. And they have been charming, reliable and solid performers.

But it seems that motor-noters just can't break free of the tired old cliches - they have to be trotted out again and again. Usually it's "trading on past glories", "all style no go", "long arms, short legs" or "not as well built or reliable as a...". At least they have shaken off the rust tag - I hope.

From my personal experience my 3 Alfas - 1982 GTV, 1981 Giulietta and 1989 33QV - were/are not as absolutely, boringly faultless as my Hyundais, Mazdas or Toyota but were/are more fun to own. And they were/are on a par with my somewhat fragile VW Golfs. From what I have seen and heard from friends that's pretty well how it is still. And FWIW my Toyota rusted faster than any Alfa I've ever owned....

Anyway, the review is mostly positive...
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Finally, there's a worthy Italian alternative to some of the default hot-hatch choices, writes Bruce Newton.
Although it lapses into dangerous territory. What exactly was wrong with MiTo sharing a platform with FIAT's Punto? And which production car isn't a watered-down version of a concept?
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
The Giulietta QV is Alfa's latest attempt at Italian soul-stirring. Thankfully, it is neither a rehashed Fiat like the MiTo city car, nor a compromised production version of an exquisite concept such as the Brera coupe.
As for the Giulietta not being a "rehashed" FIAT, bear in mind that it's still a FIAT shared platform.... and design work started before the MiTo.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Alfa engines traditionally sing their way into the heavens, prepared to sacrifice some lower-end tractability to do so. But not in this case, with the rev limiter cutting in at just over 6000rpm.
"Traditionally" meaning when they are the smaller, shorter stroke motors and often in comparison with other, less sporty car makes. But not when thinking generally of Alfa engines which come in all shapes and styles of bore, stroke and piston number. I guess I could agree if I didn't drive an '82 GTV 2.0... which has a low-end torquey kind of engine.

Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
The Giulietta QV is a modern Alfa Romeo that can wear the shield with pride. It's flawed, of course … hey, it's an Alfa. But little detracts from the fundamental quality of the engineering base and the package assembled atop it.
Not too bad over all.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Chrysler invades Italy after FIAT boss strikes Torino deal; Alfa finally sells some cars (in Germany)

Truth is, FIAT now has a 25% stake in Chrysler so squeezing out some common platforms, smaller cars and longer production runs is important. Even if it means building Chryslers in Italia, or Alfas in North America. As for Alfa selling well in Germany, hasn't it always?  

A rare positive bit of Aussie press: First drive: Alfa Romeo Giuletta
Alfa Romeo says six different suspension tunes are applied throughout a range that is more expansive in Europe, with the sportiest set-up, suitably, reserved for the range-topping ‘Cloverleaf’ – or Quadrifoglio Verde as Alfa prefers.

It’s not overly firm, though – rather surprisingly supple. The ride gets fussier over patchy surfaces but it generally provides adequate comfort. Crucially, for a GTI rival, this is well balanced with the kind of accomplished handling that has been missing from Alfas for far too long.

The Cloverleaf’s 18-inch tyres generate the kind of grip that inspires confidence even on damp roads, while front-wheel traction is aided by Alfa’s Q2 electronic differential.
First drive: Alfa Romeo Giuletta
The so-called Multiair engine, which employs innovative electro-hydraulic inlet valve management and debuted in the MiTo late last year, is a little gem even with a manual.

It’s sluggish just off idle but, once past 1500 revs, a bountiful mid-range is there to be exploited. You won’t need to change gears frequently, which is ideal when the shift action, as with the Cloverleaf, isn’t entirely satisfying and the driver’s left foot has to rest under the clutch pedal because of a lack of footwell space or footrest.

Stop-start tech contributes to highly respectable efficiency of 5.8L/100km, and noise refinement is particularly impressive in the base Giulietta, with the smaller, 17-inch tyres even quieter than the Cloverleaf’s 18s over coarse surfaces.
Mangled English, pretty pictures: Alfa Romeo in the U.S. - Autocar Review on
The new compact Alfa has also driven sales in Europe, where he gained 32,000 customers, and only in Germany, the Italian brand has grown by 113.5%. And this year the same Wester raised its target to 100,000 units for Juliet, because the list is antrato -2 new 2.0 JTDM 140 bhp that exploiting the new generation of Common Rail Multijet system goes to stand in the middle of the range Juliet diesel, including the 1.6 105 hp and 170 hp 2.0 proposals already being launched.
Chrysler invades Italy: Jeep Compass and Patriot to be ''Fatto in Italia'' - Car News | Auto123
Sergio Marchionne got 54 percent of the workers at Fiat's Mirafiori factory in Turin to vote in favour of a groundbreaking contract that limits wildcat strikes and absenteeism around holidays. In exchange, the automaker will invest nearly $1.4 billion to modernize the plant.

As a result, Mirafiori will now produce the Jeep Patriot and Compass alongside the Alfa Romeo Giulia midsize sedan and station wagon, not to mention a midsize SUV. Production is scheduled to start in the third quarter of 2012, and both Chrysler and Fiat expect to benefit from economies of scale.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Puzzling MiTo Sport review. Aren't they all?

OK, it's a distinctive, even strange shape - rounded, almost cute yet somehow a bit weird, a bit unexpected in some angles. Almost pugnacious at times. Now I don't like it much but it has grown on me, a bit. And I see both the good and the bad in what is a differentiating shape. What I don't see is a Daewoo Lanos. Carsguide's Neil Dowling somehow sees a Lanos in there. Hmmm.

Neil also is one of the few reviewers to complain about the MiTo's seating position. Now I prefer the old-style Alfa position - up close to the steering wheel for leverage, knees wide apart for bracing under cornering. So I like the pedals a bit closer to accommodate the bent-legs-bracing. In fact at times I couldn't get close enough in older Alfas as the pedals were a bit far off, but they increasingly have 'mellowed' and become more relaxed like everyone else in terms of seat position. But not for Neil Dowling, no, it's still all wrong. Oh well. Everyone's different.

Alfa Romeo Mito Sport: review |
The problem is that Alfa has taken the best bits of the gorgeous 8C and stuck them on a rather nose-heavy, short-tailed love-me or hate-me three-door hatchback that has overtones of the Daewoo Lanos. They call it the Mito. It carries with it the 8C's teardrop headlights, roundel tail lights, ‘exclamation mark’ grille and the pretty, spidery alloy wheels… which, attached to the 8C, define the car as something special.
Alfa Romeo Mito Sport: review |
That seating position places the steering wheel quite high and the height adjustment is over a small arc. There is no telescopic adjustment- which can force you to get close to the steering wheel because the floor pedals are so far away - but the driver's seat will go up and down. The rear window is tiny and the relatively long nose invisibly curves off into the distance, so familiarisation is also needed to preserve the panel work when parking.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Noisy, dirty but clearly an Alfa Romeo 147 GTA 3.7

I really don't think I could live with myself if I owned this car. (Says the guy with the old, noisy, dirty Alfa in the garage.) But it's clearly a car that had to be made.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Speculation on a coming Giulietta Sprint coupe. As ever. And a TZ3 'Corsa' drive

Rumormill: Alfa Romeo planning Giulietta Sprint coupe? — Autoblog
If you're thinking a two-door Giulietta would step on its baby brother's toes, you're not far off. The Mito was envisioned as part of a two-pronged approach to replacing the old 147. But with the Alfa GT in need of replacement, a Giulietta Sprint could help Alfa capitalize on the new platform which is also set to underpin a new crossover as well.
Alfa Romeo Zagato TZ3 | Auto Express | Reviews | First Drives
It’s parked in the Supercar Paddock, and we fire the V8. It starts with an angry rasp, and the six-speed sequential racing box adds to the intimidating feel. You think you’re doing some damage each time you select first, second or reverse gears, such is the force required to engage the ratios.

As we approach the start line for the Goodwood hillclimb, we notice smoke rising from below us. “That’s the paint getting heated by the exhausts running through both door sills,” says a matter-of-fact Karr.

In fact, the sills are red-hot, and getting in and out without burning your thighs is an acrobatic exercise! Adding to the extreme feel is the vibration of the extra-light Plexiglas windows, while the hammer-formed aluminium body panels barely insulate the noise.

'evo' mag reviews the nuova Giuletta Cloverleaf

Not sure these reviewers really know their cars, to be honest. Especially when they pretend to know Alfa Romeo. Whilst some Alfas crack along like the true GTAs of the past, in the main they have built warm, characterful sedans with a technical edge, smaller, stylish and clean-handling coupes and softish but sweet-engined grand tourers that lope along the autostradas. Now I have owned a "mark 2" Giulietta (arrow-shaped body on an Alfetta 'chassis'), a 33ti and an '82 Alfetta GTV. None of these cars were red-blooded ultimate powerhouses, rather they were a step short: nimble, exciting, stylish but comfortable cars with an emphasis on long, fast drives on good to great roads. They could also spit fire and venom when required but that really wasn't the main dish. Underneath all of them was that feeling of Italian passion in the style and handling, the interior and the sound of the engine. But sharp instrument just a notch off racing caliber? It was more of a suggestion, a hint. These older Alfas could be modded successfully to great reward, but the standard roadcars - even the green cloverleafs and GTVs - were not lightened GTAs. They were tourers.

Somehow journos always equate 'Italian passion' with top speed, quickest-in-class-acceleration and noise that drives you batty after 15 minutes. Whereas Italian cars are usually much more user-friendly than that. Doesn't mean they won't make a new GTA but it's sad they expect every Alfa to be a GTA...      

Giulietta Cloverleaf takes on Golf GTI & Leon Cupra | evo
Golf first, Leon second (but easily the best value), Giulietta third. Pity, but there it is. This is new Alfa: better built, more mainstream and easier to live with, but in chasing the Golf GTI so assiduously, Alfa has lost sight of the bigger picture: it’s forgotten to inject the stuff that makes us love Italian cars unconditionally. So what we’ve ended up with is an Italian car that lacks the flair, vigour and passion of a German car. It’s an Alfa, but not as we know it.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Alfa to build 2 crossover SUVs in a Chrysler factory. For the love of Nicola Romeo please no

Chrysler builds two new crossovers for Alfa Romeo - China automotive news
The two SUVs are internally known as CSUV (Project 921, CXover possible model name) and D-SUV led (Project 931, model name DXover possible). Both models will be built on the so-called C/D-matrix platform that will also be used for a few other Alfa Romeo models in the future. With approximately 4.6 meters, the Giulietta version will be about 30 centimeters shorter than the D-SUV.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Nuova Giulietta tops NCAP safety tests

Alfa Romeo Giulietta safest compact car in Euro NCAP history | Car Advice | News | Reviews
The latest round of Euro NCAP results has determined the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulietta hatch is the safest compact car ever tested.

The Giulietta achieved an overall score of 87/100 and a five-star rating with solid performances across the four areas of testing.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Alfa to release an 8C GTA? Nice car, but can anyone afford it?

2010 Alfa Romeo 8C GTA - Top Speed
The new Competizione will be called the Alfa Romeo 8C GTA (Gran Turismo Allegerito) and is said to be a more exotic version of the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione. . It is also said to be modeled after the classic 1965 Giulia Sprint GTA. Pictures of the new Alfa Romeo 8C GTA have already been floating around the web, but here are some nice renderings of the new beast that will surely tickle some fancies.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mark 3 Giulietta brochure

New Alfa Romeo Giulietta Brochure 2010 | cars modified
New Alfa Romeo Giulietta Brochure 2010, We’ve already brought you heaps of images of Alfa Romeo’s new Giulietta hatch , but we thought you might also be interested in the car’s official brochure. Unfortunately, the English version of the brochure was only 6-pages long, so we opted to upload photos of the Italian edition which is more comprehensive. Follow the jump to check it out.

Friday, May 28, 2010

A selection of classic Alfas driven at Goodwood - well worth a read (by Alfisti, obviously)

Ancient Alfas at Goodwood - Classic Driver - MAGAZINE - features
a 1931 8C 2300 tipo Le Mans, similar to the blue one that was modelled by Scalextric in the 1960s and which regularly beat the too-tall 4½ Litre Bentley on my own particular Plexitrack. But it's not just any 8C 2300. It is the 8C that Sir Henry (aka Tim) Birkin bought in 1931 and in which he won that year's Le Mans 24 Hours.

This extremely special Alfa later went to live in Nigeria, where its doctor owner eventually converted it into a pick-up. You couldn't do that with a modern Le Mans car. Rediscovered in the 1970s and restored to how it had been, it now lives in Alfa Romeo's Centro Storico.

Bolt-on wheel arches a la Torana for MiTo - by Magnetti Marelli. Everyone wants to build a hotter hatch

Alfa MiTo Kit-One from Magneti Marelli Elaborazione isn't the GTA — Autoblog
The modification package is comprised of stiffer springs than lower the car by 30 millimeters, the "Parco Chiuso" dual-exit exhaust system with bypass valve, 305mm Brembo disc brakes, a competition ECU good for an extra 31 horsepower, 18-inch matte black wheels and a rather divisive body kit made by Carrozzeria Castagna Milano

Motortrend speculates on a 3.3l Chrysler V6 option for Alfa Giulia. After the Holden V6-block cars anything is possible

Another Alfa: Alfa Romeo Hard At Work on New Giulia Sedan - Wide Open Throttle - Motor Trend Magazine
Powertrain options for the Giulia will be rather varied. 118- and 168-horsepower versions of the Multiair turbocharged 1.4-liter I-4 are in the running, along with both a 104-horsepower, 1.6-liter turbo-diesel I-4 and a 168-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo-diesel I-4. Those who desire more power will possibly be able to opt for a GTA model using a 273-horsepower, 3.3-liter V-6 based on Chrysler's new Pentastar engine design. Transmission options will include six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, while higher-end models will likely gain the option of dual-clutch gearboxes. Front-wheel-drive will be standard, but all-wheel drive will be an option on high-content and high-performance models.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Alfa ramps up the spin - MiTo joins NSW Police

Alfa Romeo MiTo joins Police force | Car Advice | News | Reviews
Though this isn’t the DNA you might think. What we are talking about is the DNA Technology fitted to the Alfa Romeo MiTo, the latest car to be joining the Sydney Police Force.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

OK I'll swap you. It's about a Delage but Alfa gets a mention!

Nazis to Targa, this car has seen a lot of the world - Local News - Sports - General - The Examiner Newspaper
"I had my 1933 Alfa Romeo at the Malaysian GP, but had trouble with the fuel there and later at the 2008 historic events associated with the Australian GP.

"The Delage was parked opposite me - a car I've always admired.

"It's owner came over to me and asked if I'd consider a straight swap of his Delage for one of my other cars, an Italian- made OM sports car that finished sixth in the Italian Targa Florio in 1930.

"I looked him in the eye, and immediately said: `I've considered it, accepted your offer, bring the papers tomorrow night and I'll drive it home.'

Advert for the Alfa Giulia SS - hand built.... and decidedly expensive

It's an old ad but very modern in feel. I'd buy one...
Vintage Scans: Alfa Romeo

Interesting Alfetta GTV review - 35 years after the fact

I think the writer could have found a car in better condition, but at least it's a fairly positive and reasonably factual piece. Aussie GTVs and earlier GTs were saddled with some of the US cars' woes but IMHO were not as enfeebled as suggested. And personally I could barely pick any difference between the 2 litre 4 and the 2.5l V6. Of course I have the 4 in my garage so I'm possibly biased...

Curbside Classic: 1975 Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT Coupe/GTV | The Truth About Cars
The Alfetta and the GT were sold in the US starting in 1975, under a variety of names. The sedan petered out by 1979, but the coupe had much longer run, thanks to the implant of Alfa’s first modern V6 engine, which turned it into the GTV-6, from 1981 through 1986. That delicious confection of chrome induction tubes and soul-stirring mechanical music gave the Alfetta a new lease on life, especially in the performance-hungry US. The 1.8 and 2.0 fours of the early version put out some 124hp, which was not sufficient in the face of competition from new small hot hatches like the VW GTI, the Corolla GT-S, and others, especially considering its higher price tag.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A confused MiTo or a reviewer without a clue?

Maybe the car had a problem, not unusual in a press-test car. (That possibility was not explored by the writer.) Or perhaps the driver was misreading the car's feedback (definitely possible, car reviewers rarely exhibit any idea how to drive). Or the MiTo has a split personality just as the writer describes. I guess we'll never know unless we drive this spooky car ourselves!

Alfa Romeo Mito 1.4 Multiair Review – La Bella Figura
So what I’ve found out so far was that the Mito may oversteer without your knowledge but it also may understeer without your knowledge too. While it is nimble and agile, it does get confused sometimes. Hence the Mito has a multiple personality disorder or in other words; there is some lunacy involved every time you drive the car.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Zagato TZ3 Corsa celebrates 100 years of Alfa

Zagato Alfa Romeo Centenary TZ3 Corsa
Zagato is celebrating its long term links with Alfa Romeo during the marque’s centenary year by crafting a modern interpretation of the classic Alfa TZ and TZ2 racing cars of the 1960s. Like the originals, the cutting edge TZ3 is designed to minimize weight yet use the most powerful drive-train possible, so the 1960s aluminum tubular frame has been replaced by a carbon fiber monocoque with hand-crafted aluminum panels and in place of the original four cylinder engine is an 8C Competizone 4.2 liter V8. The final equation is 420 bhp pushing a curb weight of 850 kg for a 0-100 kmh in 3.5 seconds and a top speed of 300 kmh… and good looks and wicked roadholding.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Not an Alfa but mad enough to be interesting

Renaultsport Clio 255 V6 | evo Fast Fleet
The Renaultsport Clio V6 255. A motoring oddity if there ever was one. Take a big, heavy 3-litre V6 engine and drop it in the middle of a short, light Clio chassis. Hook up a rear-wheel-drive, six-speed manual transmission, inject some plumping chemicals into the bodywork et voilĂ ! - you have a car that is rarer than a Ferrari F430, as visually arresting as a Lamborghini and as challenging to drive as a 911 Turbo. The one you see here is mine, and it cost me just £17,500.

Of course, there are those who think that spending £17,500 on a bizarre-looking Clio with the engine in the wrong place is madness. One of them is my wife.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pininfarina's Alfa Spider concept

Not sure I want one myself but I do like the look of the thing. Lots of words here, the pics at the end are worth it though.

Pininfarina | 2uettottanta
What is the 2uettottanta effect? Desire. Whoever sees it “must” possess it, drive it, enjoy it. Because the 2uettottanta is not an unattainable dream. Nor does the 2uettottanta only want to impress at first glance, but to achieve a beauty that does not strive solely for immediate confirmation, but gradually reveals all its values and transfers them to the future, making the style eternal. As it did in the case of the Duetto, which continues to be celebrated as an icon of design after more than 40 years.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Nice Giulietta review, shame the reviewer has lost the plot

Here's a nice review of the new Giulietta. That's great.

But the problem here (that wrecks it for me, sadly, as I'm particular about tiny details) is that the first few paragraphs are little more than ill-formed opinion on what ails Alfa, rather than a review of a car. It was starting to sound like a rehash of the usual 'Alfa hasn't made a decent car in 30 years' line but it became increasingly obvious that the sort of apparently obvious flaws Alfa may have as a car maker are also to be found in the skills this motor noter let loose with a keyboard. I was wary (but forgiving - it's apparently a US-based blog after all) when it seemed that the writer was unaware that there was another Giulietta beyween the first and the latest one, but then this clanger (see quote in para below) dropped.

Oh dear, an almost 30-year-old chassis, eh? Exactly which chassis is imagined here - perhaps ARNA or 33? Now my recollection is that the 147 is a cut-back 156 chassis. And the 156 was introduced with a fresh chassis - again, trusting my memory only - in about 1997.  That's not quite 30 years, is it? (OK, it's getting closer, but why exaggerate like this?) Neither the ARNA nor 33 look remotely like a 156 or 147 in terms of body construction (not truly being a chassis per se in any case) and had more to do with the Nissan Pulsar and Alfasud respectively. Can this writer be referring to the only other FWD "chassis" I can even remotely imagine is relevant here, the 164? As that was a shared development with FIAT and SAAB and again quite unlike a 156 I guess not. So - unless there's secret knowledge here - we have yet another Alfa reviewer with a warped sense of history and the opportunity to share it with us.

But the actual review was fair enough. So why not just review the car? 

2011 Alfa Romeo Giulietta First Drive
The Giulietta replaces the Alfa Romeo 147, a technical dinosaur that we nonetheless actually like a bunch. There were various bits and pieces introduced to the front-wheel-drive 147 over its nine-year life cycle that helped compensate for the shortcomings of its almost 30-year-old chassis.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Not flawed but impressive and competent - which apparently is a flaw. Huh?

evo continues to write schizoid rubbish... the new Giulietta is impressive and competent, apparently, but lacks the flaws and "characterful" driving experience of the past Alfa generation. I think they mean the 147GTA as they haven't - in my memory - mentioned this characterful driving experience with regard to other recent Alfas. Damned with faint praise is the usual tone of evo reviews. Oh well, can't please everyone I guess.  

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Multiair review | evo
But - and it’s a big but for an Alfa Romeo - the sparkle’s missing. Previous generation Alfas have been flawed but undeniably characterful to drive. The Giulietta turns the brand’s personality on its head, dishing up a very impressive and competent driving experience that doesn’t really have you gagging to go back.

evo reviews series 3 Giulietta Quadrofoglio Verde

I think it's a fair review overall but I'm not sure what "too tied down and inert" really mean. It's tied down, ie not loose I guess, and has lots of inertia? I gather that means it's not taily and more GT than hot hatch? And that's "a shame for an Alfa Romeo"? As a long-time Alfetta GTV driver that non-taily, understeery inertia is actually what I think of as "well balanced". I know the 105s were more taily, especially in the wet, but that was waaaay back in the 70s... just what do evo mag expect a 2010 Alfa to be? (Taily, obviously.)

Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf review | evo
Switch to Dynamic and it's a much better Giulietta. The throttle sharpens so you can enjoy the hefty low-end torque better and hear that deep, crisp engine note. The steering weight rises but in a natural way, not by artificially increasing resistance. And the brakes change from spongy to quite sharp, thanks to 'pre-fill'. Dynamic also loosens the tail a little before VDC intervenes, but this is still not a car to be pointed keenly into a bend on a trailing throttle and caught with a dab of power. It's too tied-down and inert for that, which is a shame for an Alfa Romeo.

Alfa can't win when motor-noters contradict themselves

I don't fully understand why I "love" Alfas, I just do. OK, just some Alfas. Mostly the ones I like or have owned (not always the same thing). I do enjoy the sense of history, the style and the racing cred, and the (sometimes flawed) high-end engineering at mid-range pricing. So I understand where the sort of opinion quoted below is coming from, but really... how can Alfa win at this game? To be charismatic they must make flawed cars, yet to sell cars they have to make better ones. Eh? Or so the motor-noters repeat, ad nauseum. They all seem to say the same thing, as though they can't really think for themselves... hmmm.

The new Alfa: not for petrolheads blog on Evo Community by Stephen Dobie
The 147 GTA is a case in point. Its gorgeous looks and sonorous V6 engine gloss over a host of inherent flaws. I want one, even though I know I shouldn’t.

It’s a car I thought a lot about on the launch of the Alfa Giulietta a fortnight ago (first drive here). The two cars feel like polar opposites; the new Golf-fighter looks and feels conventional, has a clever and efficient engine, and drives as well as most things in its class. It’s very good. And yet I can't love it. There are no glaring flaws or problems you’d have to learn your way around. You could buy one without false justifications, without the knowledge you were taking leave of your senses or risking a world of expense and despair.

Friday, April 09, 2010

For the centenary, a nuova TZ?

Why not? In a market filled with shapely, high-priced performance car options it's unlikely that it would reach production, but a TZ concept keeps Alfa on the radar in its 100th year.

Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa Zagato Concept Announced for Villa d'Este Concours - Wide Open Throttle - Motor Trend Magazine
According to a recent release highlighting several cars set to be displayed at the 2010 Villa D'Este Concorso d'Eleganza, a new Alfa Romeo concept - penned by famed Italian design firm Zagato - will make its world debut April 24. The car will follow Alfa Romeo concepts by both Bertone and Pininfarina that debuted in Geneva earlier this year.
Dubbed the Alfa Romeo TZ3 Corsa, the concept will undoubtedly pay homage to special Alfa TZ models of the past while at the same time celebrating Alfa Romeo's centenary anniversary. The TZ3 Corsa is said to celebrate the shared philosophy of "utilitarian beauty" that both Alfa Romeo and Zagato embrace.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I just like the look of the thing - 1.4litres with attitude

Markuzzi Alfa Romeo MiTo
Markuzzi Exclusive could probably modify any cars and after presenting you some refined supercars they released a tuning package for the new Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.4TB. At the exterior level, Markuzzi’s Alfa Romeo MiTo received slight design upgrades, an adjustable suspension and a new set of 19″ aluminum wheels from SPort wrapped in high performance tires.

Alfa in US in 2012? Giulia first?

Of most interest would be the name, I reckon. If Giulia. MiTo and Giulietta remain intact as nameplates in the US I'd be amazed.  Anyway, the car's the thing (at least here) and the Giulia would be produced in one of the Chrysler plants.  

Report: Alfa Romeo Giulia Coming In 2011 - MotorAuthority
The new Alfa Romeo Giulia sedan is reportedly set to be revealed next year for the European market, while Americans will have to wait an additional year. According to Fiat-Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, the Alfa Romeo brand isn’t likely to arrive in the U.S. until 2012, when local production of the Giulia--and a Chrysler model based on the same platform--starts up.

Based on Fiat Group’s new “Compact-Wide” platform, the front-wheel drive Giulia will feature a McPherson front axle with a twin-link rear suspension. A high-performance all-wheel drive variant may also be offered, as well as a sporty wagon.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

AutoExpress damns 135BHP MiTo MultiAir with nice styling and engine, shame about the rest

Motor-noters are never happy, are they? Even when a car hits lots of sensible targets, it's just not good enough.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Multiair 135bhp | First Drives | Car Reviews | Auto Express
We’ve already driven the hot 170bhp Cloverleaf variant, but for those who want to trade some of that power for extra economy, a 135bhp version of the same 1.4-litre turbocharged engine is also on sale.

Essentially a sophisticated electronic variable valve timing system, MultiAir technology accurately controls airflow into the combustion chamber. The result is greater torque at low revs, better top-end performance, good fuel economy and
lowered CO2 emissions.

Last 147 to be registered in the UK - and it's a diesel

Not sure if the last 147 sold in the UK will be such a big collector's item, but it's still a nice car. Note that the guy has to be an Alfa nut after buying 8 of the wretchedly lovely things.

Terance snaps up motoring history (From Knutsford Guardian)
Terance, 64, said: “I’ve always been a huge Alfa Romeo fan, so to know I have played a small part in its history is fantastic.”

Terance has been living in Bermuda for the past 16 years, but recently returned home to the UK. His new car will be his eighth Alfa Romeo, with Terance’s past cars including an Alfetta, an Alfa Romeo 33 and the original Giulietta.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Evo damns MiTo Cloverleaf with faint praise

It's not a magazine that praises form and function over acceleration, so this is a fairly predictable - but honest - review.

Alfa Romeo MiTo Cloverleaf review | evo
It’s the best Mito we’ve driven. Damned by faint praise, then? Well, it’s not a hardcore charger in the mould of the Clio 200, but instead trades outright driver appeal for a good measure of refinement and ride comfort. It strikes a good balance in this regard – even on Highland roads ripped apart by winter frosts, the ride never became crashy, the dampers never clobbered their bump stops, something that simply isn’t true of the standard Mito.

Vaguely mixed MiTo review from TimesOnline

It's not a bad read but I'm not sure what the reviewer is really saying, either. Good? Bad? Compromised? Or simply charismatic but odd?

Behind the wheel: the Alfa Romeo MiTo MultiAir 1.4 review | New Car Reviews - Times Online
The hatch is stylishly petite and stylishly high up, which means that to get anything into the boot you’re going to have to lift it almost to chest height and then sort of post it. And the back seats tip but don’t fold flat. But this disdain for practicality is historical, too. Alfa may be the only company to build an estate car that offered less boot space than the saloon it was modelled on (the 156 Sportwagon).

Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Friday, February 26, 2010

3rd time 'round for the Giulietta

I owned the wedge-shaped 2nd or 'nuova' Giulietta back in the early '80s, so I am pleased to see a "mark III" use of the name. And the car - the 147 replacement - looks pretty good to my tired old eyes. I won't be able to afford one unless I sell my kids into slavery but there you go. If you have taste and style and want a cool car, here it is. At least until the GTA is launched.

Wraps come off Giulietta | Auto Express News | News | Auto Express
Say ciao to Alfa Romeo’s rival for the Volkswagen Golf! This is the first official image of the family star, which was at the centre of a last-minute name change.

Due to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March, it had been thought the car would be called Milano. However, just moments before the official name was confirmed to us, Alfa bosses decided to change it...

The new name is Giulietta – a last minute alteration that was made following the firm's decision to scale back its businesses presence in Milan. The five-door hatch replaces the 147, and it sports a stylish look inspired by the firm’s 8C Competizione supercar and MiTo supermini.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Link to Auto Express Alfa Giulietta pics

Alfa Giulietta spied | Auto Express News | News | Auto Express
Here's proof that Alfa's new Giulietta is inching ever closer to the showroom. Eagle-eyed Auto Express reader Paul Davies spied this prototype testing in Livigno, northern Italy recently.

Due to make its worldwide debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March, the Giulietta five-door hatch replaces the 147, and underneath the plastic disguise of this mule is a stylish look inspired by the firm’s 8C Competizione supercar and MiTo supermini.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

evo mag remembers the Alfasud

I'm not sure I totally agree, but here in Oz rust wasn't such a problem, so it's a different perspective. Yes, they rusted, all cars did back then, but Alfas had "a reputation", deserved or not. OTOH not one of my Alfas has had serious rust. The Giulietta, none at all. The 33ti, none again. The GTV, some rust where the rear mounted battery spilled acid.. and some surface rust on the boot, almost 30 years after manufacture... in fact a Hyundai Excel we had for a few years - an excellent car, BTW - rusted more than all 3 Alfas put together. But that's my Aussie experience only...

More pertinent may be the oil that could easily get on the (inboard) front rotors, not mentioned in the article.

1972: Alfa Romeo Alfasud | Car Feature | evo
When did Alfa Romeo last build a really great car, something that set standards and shamed the competition? It may have given us some inspired vehicles over the last few decades – and plenty of sheds too if truth be told – but none has been so effortlessly superior in its class as the Alfasud.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

NZ Mito article

Not entirely sure why "DNA" is pretentious - it's used everywhere these days, almost always out of context. But it's a positive review overall.

Alfa Romeo: Zippy Mito with pedigree - Motoring - NZ Herald News
Alfa Romeo has designed this car to ooze style; to recall the brand's design and racing heritage; to deliver a premium performance persona in a pocket-sized package.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Politics of location. Why the Milano became the Giuletta Mk III?

I hope this isn't the reason, but it sure makes sense. With the famous 'Alfa Romeo Milano' now no more than words, the revised badgework becomes necessary. From a business angle moving to Torino makes a lot of sense. But my heart is with Milano I'm afraid.

New Alfa small car mystery | Car News | Hot Hatchbacks | evo
We’re led to believe the reasoning behind it all lies in Alfa Romeo’s decision to relocate fully from Milan (or, indeed, Milano) to Turin, turning its back on 99 years of Milanese heritage. Since Fiat’s acquisition of Alfa in 1986, the company has gradually been moved away from its home, with car production stopped in 2000 and the last group of employees – designers and engineers, mainly – being shifted early next year.