No one would ever say that renewing – let alone replacing – a car as successful as the 147 is an easy task. This, perhaps, could in part explain why it has taken Alfa Romeo ten years to design and launch a successor to this automotive icon.

In doing so, Alfa has resurrected an equally iconic name, one that has already written two significant chapters in the history of the marque: Giulietta. The car presented at Geneva is the quintessential embodiment of Italian style and Alfa character in its proportions, in the sophisticated language of the surface treatment, in the ergonomics of its interior and, of course, in its engines.

A little more grown up than the 147, the new car sits in the gap between the Mito and the 159. In the words of Fiat Group design director Lorenzo Ramaciotti (Marco Tencone has only recently been appointed chief of Alfa style), “this is a car for those who are unwilling to compromise just to own an Alfa”.

Most importantly, and as intended by Alfa’s designer, it is a “more mature” car, a “C segment with clearly defined premium qualities”. “At times in the past,” notes Ramaciotti, “Alfas were considered compact but a little cramped, beautiful but uncomfortable: this is an Alfa that brings together two worlds – the world of Alfa dynamism and appeal and the world of all-round usability without any unresolved issues.

” The new car is visibly bigger than the 147 (4.35 m long, 1.46 m tall and 1.80 m wide), in part because of the general and constant trend for subsequent generations to grow in size, but also because it is better equipped in terms of airbags, climate control systems and the like. “The real challenge,” says Ramaciotti, “is making cars bigger and better equipped without making them heavier.” Style offered the solution.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 182

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