MiTo style for Mi­lano

The 147 re­place­ment is pick­ing up the lat­est Alfa de­sign lan­guage, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Kia Sorento -

THE winds of change are sweep­ing through the Alfa Romeo de­sign stu­dios. The ar­rival of the stylish MiTo and 8C Com­pe­tizione started the ball rolling and now Alfa is close to fin­ish­ing its 147 re­place­ment, which is ex­pected to bor­row heav­ily from its stylish rel­a­tives.

The MiTo’s de­sign has been a hit in Europe and Alfa is keen to cap­i­talise on that.

Un­der the heavy black cladding in our pic­tures, the new 147, which could be known as the 149 or Mi­lano, has re­ceived the MiTo and 8C Com­pe­tizione treat­ment.

Some MiTo touches, such as the head­lights, grille and round LED tail­lights, will ap­pear on the Mi­lano pro­duc­tion car when it’s launched early next year.

But de­spite the heav­ily dis­guised right rear door, it ap­pears it may also carry over the 147’s high-set rear door han­dles.

The five-door pro­to­type was caught test­ing at the chal­leng­ing Nur­bur­gring, where most car­mak­ers go to fi­nesse ride and han­dling.

With an over­all length of 4300mm, the hatch has grown longer and wider but is lower and close in size to the pre­vi­ous 156.

The Mi­lano is ex­pected to be avail­able as a five-door hatch ini­tially, but a three-door and per­for­mance mod­els are tipped to fol­low.

Petrol power is ex­pected to come from a range of 1.4 and 1.7-litre tur­bocharged en­gines, de­liv­er­ing 90kW to 120kW, with a high-per­for­mance 198kW V6 ex­pected for the range-top­ping GTA.

Alfa’s 1.9-litre tur­bod­iesel is ex­pected to be avail­able, too.

As with the MiTo, the 149 will use a six-speed man­ual, with an au­to­matic as an op­tion for some en­gines.

Prices are ex­pected to be close to the cur­rent car, start­ing about $35,000 and ris­ing to more than $40,000 for the GTA. The Volk­swa­gen Golf com­peti­tor will be based on the same plat­form as the Fiat Bravo, which is called the Ritmo here. Alfa is known to be toy­ing with the Mi­lano name as the com­pany moves away from nu­meric badges. De­tails of Alfa’s name changes were out­lined in the Chrysler re­struc­tur­ing plan. It sug­gested that the 147 could be called the Mi­lano and the 159 the Guilia.

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