Breathe deep, it’s time to Sprint
AIMING to breathe life into its flagging Australian line-up, Alfa Romeo is reviving the Sprint name.
The limited edition Giulietta Sprint sits above the cheapest model and brings a power increase as well as discreet wheels, badging and embroidery.
The Sprint is based on the Progression model but gets a tweaked version of the 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine.
Power increases from 88kW to 110kW, while torque is up from 215Nm to 250Nm.
The new model is $31,000 plus on-roads, squeezing in between the $29,000 Progression and the $33,000 Distinctive, which gets a slightly more powerful version of the same 1.4-litre. The $39,000 Quadifoglio fills the role of hot-hatch at the top of the line-up.
Alfa says the Sprint goes from rest to 100km/h in 8.2 seconds and sips just 5.7L/100km.
The original Giulietta Sprint, penned by legendary design house Bertone, was released in 1954. The 1.3-litre two-door was built from lightweight components and weighed just 800kg. It was discontinued in 1965 but the name was revived for the Alfasud in the 1970s.
Being Italian, the limited edition focuses as much on fashion as mechanical changes, with new 17-inch alloy wheels, different rear bumper, tinted windows and special badging on the front fender.
There are also carbon-effect highlights on the door panels and dashboard surround and leather-wrapped steering wheel with red stitching.
The seats are a mix of cloth and Alcantara, with more red stitching and a “Sprint” logo embroidered into the headrests.
Alfa is in desperate need of a boost in the local market, with sales down by more than a third this year.
The Italian brand relaunched the Giulietta in February, discontinuing the cheapest model and lifting equipment levels in a bid to reposition up-market.
The get-in price for the car went from $25,000 drive-away to $29,000 plus on-road costs — a rise of roughly $7000.
As a result sales have almost halved in the past 12 months to just 1126, down from 2093 in the first 10 months of last year.
At the same time, sales of the ageing Mito have slowed to a trickle and the 4C is a niche vehicle, with just 141 sales this year. The imminent 4C Spider is also expected to do small volumes, while the all-new BMW 3 Series rival, the Giulia, isn’t due until late next year.
Revival meeting: Giulietta Sprint with late-1950s namesake