New Alfa set to punch above its weight in Frankfurt line-up

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - NEWS -

ALFA Romeo has been fine-tun­ing its 4C Con­cept since its de­but in March and presents the lat­est study in a “fluid metal” body fin­ish at the Frankfurt Mo­tor Show in two weeks. The weight of this light, rear-drive two seater has been fixed at 850g, giv­ing su­per­car per­for­mance from its 200bhp 1750cc petrol turbo mo­tor.

Other cur­rent road-car kit in­cludes the twin dry clutch gear­box, plus more be­spoke car­bon and alu­minium de­tails from its com­pe­ti­tion car.

The Turin car­maker is also show­ing a Gi­uli­etta with the dry twin clutch gear­box and a choice of 170bhp petrol or diesel mo­tors. The baby MiTo hatch­back in­her­its an 85bhp 875cc two cylin­der TwinAir mo­tor from the Fiat 500, achiev­ing 98g/km. Also new to MiTo is an 85bhp 1.3 diesel.

Fiat Group’s Chrysler di­vi­sion will also be show­ing Chrysler-badged Lan­cias coming to the UK soon. The up­mar­ket Lancia quit Bri­tain decades ago after se­ri­ous qual­ity prob­lems and se­vere rust­ing. It has taken un­til now, lead­ing with the Delta hatch, for Fiat to risk an­other try with its mod­ern Lan­cias, dis­guised un­der the Amer­i­can Chrysler badge. Prices start at £16,695 with a five year war­ranty lim­ited to 50,000 miles.

In­finiti, Nis­san’s lux­ury brand which launched in the United States 22 years ago, is com­plet­ing three years of sales in Europe and still has head­way to make, cer­tainly in Great Bri­tain per se, where a thin net­work of deal­ers sees sales con­cen­trated in the South and Mid­lands. Its am­bi­tions are to hold a tenth of the world’s lux­ury sec­tor by 2016. I would not bet on it just yet.

By then, its key EU mar­kets of Ger­many and Bri­tain will get around 40 deal­ers each. Frankfurt will see the first In­finiti hy­brid, the M35h, which com­bines 359bhp with of­fi­cial CO2 fig­ures of 162g/km.

Honda is show­ing its lat­est Civic, promis­ing a qui­eter and more re­fined drive.

We shall wait and see. The cabin in­su­la­tion was tuned at Honda’s Swindon fac­tory, where the car will be built for Europe.

Kazuo Su­naoshi, chas­sis de­vel­op­ment leader said: “My big chal­lenge was to match the noise and vi­bra­tion lev­els of our Euro­pean com­peti­tors. I am proud to say that we have achieved our goals.”

FLUID METAL: Alfa Romeo’s 4C Con­cept is a light, rear wheel drive two-seater with su­per­car per­for­mance.

HIGH-END: The In­finiti Etherea, from Nis­san’s lux­ury brand.

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