Alfa Romeo, the Italian car brand with a reputation for style, sophistication and driving fun, is on a roll in the UK.
In 2011, the brand enjoyed its best year of sales since 2002 despite an overall decline in the market and the success can be place squarely at the door of two superb new models; the Alfa Romo MiTo and the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Both prove Alfa has not lost its eye for a shapely, desirable small car but what has been surprising is the huge leap forward in safety provision (the Giulietta has one of the highest ever five-star safety ratings), reliability and performance – both in terms of power and economy.
Using award-winning engines from parent company Fiat, the MiTo supermini and Giulietta hatchback, a premium model designed to take on the Ford Focus, have sold well in the UK.
Both come with frugal, eco-versions and sporty models bearing famous Alfa racing badges from the past and it is this choice which has propelled Alfa back into the mainstream UK market.
Interested? Here is the lowdown on the current (and future) Alfa Romeo range to help you decide which Alfa Romeo car to buy.
Alfa Romeo MiTo
Drive and style – Both the drive and style of the MiTo supermini are very sporty, which has been promoted in its recent ‘water balloon popping’ advert. Its body style is aerodynamic and incorporates the classic Alfa Romeo front grille and bonnet shape.
As it is a sporty model its handling is very responsive and allows you great control on the road, especially when cornering.
It also offers a special trim called the Quadrifoglio Verde, which offers things like a sporty interior and a powerful 170hp engine.
Entry level specification – The MiTo’s entry level trim is called Progression and standard features of the trim include a radio CD player with MP3 compatibility, climate control, remote central locking and a Multifunction display and trip computer.
Engines – The Mito offers one petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol engine offered is a 1.4-litre with a choice of four different power outputs: 1.4 8V (78hp), 1.4 MultiAir (105hp), 1.4 TB MultiAir (135hp) and the 1.4 TB MultiAir (170hp).The diesel options are a 1.3JTDm-2 (85hp) and a 1.6 JTDm-2 (120hp).
It will soon be getting the superb TwinAir petrol engines from the Fiat 500, meaning road tax free level of emissions and huge fuel economy figures.
Prices for the Alfa Romeo MiTo start from £12,250.
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Drive and style – One of the handy features of the Giulietta hatchback is its ‘D.N.A’ system which adapts the car’s engine, brakes, steering, suspension and gearbox to its current terrain and to the drivers driving specification.
In terms of handling the Giulietta is well balanced and very responsive. Its exterior style is not that different to the MiTo as it is very sporty with an aerodynamic body shape and the classic Alfa slanted bonnet design.
One of the best things about the Giulietta is that it has the appeal of a sporty like coupe, but the practicality of a family hatchback, which is displayed in Alfa’s advertisement with the actress Uma Thurman.
Entry level specification – Standard features of the entry level Turismo trim level includes a radio with CD and MP3 player, 60/40 rear seat split folding, climate control and electric front and rear windows.
Engines – The Giulietta range offers two petrol and two diesel engines. The petrol range offers a 1.4-litre with two different power outputs: 1.4-litreTB (120hp) and a 1.4-litre TB MultiAir (170hp). The other petrol engine is more of a performance engine; it is the 1750 TBi (235hp).
The diesel options are a 1.6-litre JTDM-2 (105hp) and a 2.0-litre with two different power outputs: 2.0-litre JTDM-2 (140hp) and a 2.0-litre JTDM-2 (170hp).
Prices for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta start from £19,495.
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Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf
Drive and style – The Giulietta Cloverleaf is an available trim level for the Giulietta model which give it more of a performance option of the Giulietta, and although a similar trim is offered on the MiTo model, the Giulietta is top dog in terms of power.
The exterior styling of the Cloverleaf offers muscular wheels arches, deep side skirts, concealed rear door handles, coupe like roofline and the signature clover badge.
On the road the Cloverleaf delivers well balanced and responsive handling, even in Normal mode. But if you want a little more Torque you can switch to Dynamic mode.
Specification – The trim itself is called the Cloverleaf and features Dark tinted windows, wheel mounted controls, leather upholstery, cruise control, black leather steering wheel with red stitches and aluminium sport pedals.
Engine – The Cloverleaf trim offers just one engine which is a 1.75-litre petrol. It delivers 235hp and a 0-62mph capability of 6.8 seconds, as well as a top speed of 150mph.
Prices for the Alfa Romeo Giulietta Cloverleaf start around £26,000.
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Alfa Romeo 4C
Drive and style – The 4C was originally revealed as a concept car but is well on its way to being put into production. The 4C is a two-seat sport car that incorporates a compact coupe body style heavily influenced by the stunning Alfa 8C Competizione supercar.
However, the 4C weighs just 850kg and is expected to cost around £30,000, making it much more affordable than its bigger brother.
Engines – The 4C will use a 1.7-litre four cylinder petrol engine with 200hp. With this power the 4C can reach a top speed of 155mph and achieve 0-62mph in less than five seconds.
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Drive and style – The new Giulia model is expected to be approaching the production line near the end of 2012 and will replace the slightly outdated 159 model.
It will incorporate a longer wheelbase, more aerodynamic overhangs and a more sophisticated suspension system, but on a whole will look a lot like the MiTo and Giulietta models. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is expected to challenge the likes of the BMW 3 series.
Engines – The Giulia is expected to feature a range of petrol and diesel engines. Petrol wise there will be a 1.4-liter (118hp/168hp) and a 1.8-liter (200hp). Diesel options offer power ranging from 104hp to 200hp. As well as these customary engines there may also be a more powerful engine with the likes of a Cloverleaf trim level. A new 1750 TC GDI (200hp/235hp) is also expected to feature.