A brand new Italian hot-hatch is currently in development by Alfa Romeo. Coming to replace the 147 that charmed all of us with an unmistakable design back in the year 2000, the new vehicle will be called 149. Following the Alfa Romeo’s “Cuore Sportivo” (sporty soul) slogan, the Italian compact to be launched in late 2007 is expected to surpass in terms of looks of all its competitors and offer a great driving experience. Let us hope that reliability and durability will be there to sustain such a beautiful design.
There have passed over six year since the launch of the Alfa Romeo 147, the compact that came to replace the unsuccessful pair 145/146 (hatchback/fastback). Back in the year 2000, the original design of the 147 was a smashing hit, showing everyone one more time, that Italians really now their way when it comes to design. However, the looks could not have been the only positive aspects of that car, as it was awarded the “European Car of the Year” title in 2001.
In the late 2007, Alfa will launch a completely new compact, which is expected to be called 149. As the 147 shared the same platform with the bigger 156, it is expected that the upcoming 149 will use technical components common with the 159. In addition, that will be something, as the Alfa Romeo 159 is considered one of the best handling front-wheel drive vehicles ever built.
Many speculations have been made in the media regarding the design of the 149. It appears that the general silhouette will be influenced by that of the 2003 Kamal prototype. Some design details will draw their influence from Alfa’s newest model, the 8C Competizione. Our artists have prepared a few computer-generated images that show where the 149’s design is headed.
The biggest change of the fascia will be the replacement of the previously used horizontal lights with oval vertically mounted ones, resembling to those of the 8C. The spoiler will get a clean and simple design with the two traditional intakes sitting lower than the Alfa traditional triangle grille.
Another big novelty will be positioned in the rear. The four lights on that end will be round and positioned in a manner that will remind of traditional Ferrari models. Three doors and five door models will be offered, but there is a rumor that the five door will be a fastback (like the 146 was).
The shortened 159 technical platform will be also shared with the upcoming Fiat Stilo/Bravo. Base engine is said to be 1.4-liter turbo offering either 120 or 150 bhp. Models that are more expensive will feature revised versions of the current JTS petrol and JTD Mjet Diesel engines including the 3.2 V6 JTS offered for the GTA. As for all, the other Alfa Romeo models front wheel drive and Q4 four-wheel drive will be offered.
Packed with a reiteration of Italian charm we could already see on the 8C Competizione, the Alfa Romeo 149 is most likely to win all of the beauty contests it will attend. Hopefully, if the technical platform will be a match for that beautiful body a “European Car of The Year” award will be possible if we consider that the predecessor, 147, got that title in 2001.
The most memorable compact modern Alfa Romeo is undoubtedly the 147. The original design from 2000 was one not to forget. Unfortunately, the later facelift affected the finesse of the car.
The 2006 147 is elegant and sophisticated, metropolitan and sporty, epitomizing the best in Alfa Romeo’s tradition and a new way of living on the move.
Fully refurbished and enriched with new accoutrements, the new Alfa 147 stands out for its compact, slender lines. Its bold profile, with a low grille and new elongated headlamps, defined by lines steeply slanted towards the shield, unveils the muscle and the dynamic quality of this model, whose design expresses a firmer grip on the road and unparalleled stability. Every detail of the rear section of the new Alfa 147 is an eye catcher, combining elegance with sportiness.
The rear handles blend so smoothly into the car body, they almost go unnoticed in the five-door version. The headlamps, with a longer, more triangular shape, convey a new impression of strength. Even the tailgate looks smarter, with its exclusive light clusters and newly acquired chromed mouldings.
A quick look at the outside tells you all you need to know. The car retains the tried and tested box shapes of the 147 and the biggest changes are reserved for the front end. The changes to the rear are more minor. The car features a new grille that is now bigger and enhanced by new design headlights.
The final result is a front end that oozes sportiness and class. It also looks more aggressive because the grille has been lowered in relation to the bonnet.
This impression is reinforced by the elongated appearance of the headlights - a lip of glass enclosing three round chrome elements on a black background - and the air intake that is divided by three vertical elements, one in the middle and two at the sides. The overhang is also longer while the bumpers and wing are new.
The new Alfa 147 proposes a highly refined environment ensuring the highest degree of comfort.
The driving position is adjustable in every respect, including steering-wheel rake and distance, height of the ergonomic seat and lumbar support. The fascia offers many new features. New color combinations and an instrument panel with graphic elements standing out against silver and black backgrounds making for greatly improved visibility. Driving comfort is supported by the most innovative technologies.
The exclusive interior trim of the new Alfa 147 expresses a superior elegance mated to an indomitable sporty character. The aesthetic solutions proposed are invariably functional, original, and innovative. Dynamism and class: this is the combination that has always characterized Alfa 147 and has determined its success with people who wish to be appreciated for their taste. This is why, to motorists seeking maximum comfort, the new Alfa 147 proposes the exclusive coordinated upholstery in Alfatex, a new microfibre fabric developed by Alfa Romeo to combine a sense of well-being with unique refinement, adding up to a striking aesthetic effect.
Click here to read a complete Alfa Romeo 147 review
One of the main competitors for the upcoming Alfa is the German premium hot-hatch Audi A3. For 2007, the A3 gets even sportier with a new S line package. Standard on the A3 3.2 and optional on the 2.0 T, the S line package gives the A3 more aggressive front and rear fascias, as well as performance tires and sportier interior appointments. This new option package helps the A3 maintain its status atop the sporty premium compact segment.
With its aggressive styling, sporty driving dynamics, and abundance of standard features, the A3 offers sports car-like performance and sophistication with the versatility of its four-door design and cargo area.
The A3 2.0 T and A3 3.2 quattro have taken the premium compact segment by storm winning numerous awards in 2006. The A3 2.0 T was named “Best Sport Compact” in the Car and Driver “10Best” awards for 2006. The A3 was also named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More awards from the New England Motor Press Association, Ward’s, and others reflect upon the A3’s appeal.
The A3 is immediately recognizable in the rear-view mirror: the dominant feature of its front end is the striking single-frame grille, which is now the distinctive mark of the latest Audi generation. The S line cars have larger - more aggressive - air intakes and a front lip that add to the sporty nature of the package. The marked tapering of the sides and the dynamic shape of the clear-glass headlights give the face of the car that extremely self-confident and forceful character for which Audi is now famous.
Click here to read more about the 2007 Audi A3 on TopSpeed.
Another sexy design compact is the recently launched Volvo. “The new C30 is a cool car. A car that aims for a group of young singles, or couples, with an intense urban lifestyle. These people priorities excitement in design and driving characteristics, and this car is designed to suit their taste and lifestyle,” says Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.
The volume target is 65,000 cars per year. Volvo expects that 75 percent of the buyers will be in Europe and the largest markets are , , and .
“The compact format has not prevented us from integrating much of what is best in the larger Volvo cars,” says Håkan Abrahamsson, Project Director for the C30. “Even the smallest Volvo should provide the right premium feel – in all respects. This applies not only to the appearance and the impression of quality, but just as much to how it is to drive and use. Our intention is that the Volvo C30 should attract people who love driving.”
The front retains its dynamic character, with the angled headlamps and the low, wide grille. Viewed from the side, the distinct wheel housings and sloping roof give the new C30 a fast silhouette, which is further enhanced by the extreme boat-shape of the side windows. The shoulders at the rear are powerfully rounded and are accentuated by the horseshoe shaped lighting pattern of the tail lamps, and the glass tailgate. The spoiler at the upper edge of the tailgate is available in two different versions.
“The C30 has plenty of muscles in a sporty and compact package. Anyone who recalls the Volvo SCC (Safety Concept Car) will recognize the exclusive and convenient rear tailgate. The distinctive tail lamps ensure that no one will be uncertain about which car they have in front,” says Volvo Car’s Design Director Steve Mattin.
If you need further information on the 2007, Volvo C30 click here.