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Stelvio unveiled in Europe

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ALFA Romeo has launched its first SUV in more than 100 years: the all-new Stelvio.

It comes hot on the heels of the exclusive ‘first edition’ and the range-topping Quadrifoglio, seen for the first time at LA Auto Show.

Available in three trim levels – Stelvio, Stelvio Super and Stelvio Tecnica – it will initially be available with a choice of a 280hp 2.0-litre Turbocharged petrol or a 210hp 2.2-litre diesel engine, both combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive.

The Stelvio version is lavishly equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, 8.8-inch Alfa Connect, Alfa DNA Rotary selector, 8-speaker audio system, black fabric seats (front with sliding, reclining and height adjustments), Integrated Brake System (IBS), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), and Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB) and pedestrian detection. This version also includes parking sensors, cruise control, electric tailgate and dusk and rain sensors.

The Stelvio Super version builds on this with additional interior and exterior features: 18-inch alloy wheels, techno-leather and fabric seats in a choice of three colours (black, black/brown and black/red), and three options for the dashboard and door panels (black, black/brown or black/red) and door sills with steel inserts.

An additional Luxury Pack and Sports Pack are also available to customers looking to go the extra mile.

The Stelvio Super’s Luxury Pack includes full grain leather seats (in black, brown, red or beige) with electrical adjustment and heating system, as well as real wood inserts. The Sport Pack comes with heated sports steering wheel, specific grip and leather wrapping, racing-style leather seats in black, red or brown, with electric adjustment and heating system, aluminium inserts and steel pedals.

The introduction of Alfa Romeo Stelvio Tecnica offers a strong proposition to fleet, corporate and professional customers. Exclusively available with the Diesel engine, it features the 8.8-inch Alfa Connect 3D Nav, Bi-Xenon headlights with AFS and electric folding mirrors.

Built in Italy at the Termoli (petrol) and Pratola Serra (diesel) plants, in areas assigned only to Alfa Romeo engines, with state-of-the-art processes and methods that put them at the top of their class in terms of performance and fuel economy, are the engines housed under the bonnet of the Stelvio. The 280hp 2.0-litre Turbocharged petrol and the 210hp 2.2-litre diesel engines are combined with an automatic 8-speed transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive.

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The new 2.0-litre Turbocharged petrol engine, offering 280hp, is a 4-cylinder unit built entirely of aluminium with carbon drive shaft, combined with the automatic 8-speed transmission and Q4 all-wheel drive. In addition to electro-hydraulic valve actuation, the distinctive features of this engine include “2-in-1” turbo and 200-bar high-pressure direct injection which pair up to deliver a full-throttle response across the rev range in addition to first-class fuel-efficiency. This results in a peak torque of 400Nm at 2,250 rpm and offers best in class acceleration, going from zero to 62mph in just 5.7 seconds and onto a top speed of 143mph.

The Stelvio will also be available with a 2.2-litre diesel engine – available with two power outputs: 210hp at launch and 180hp following shortly after. It is the first Diesel engine in Alfa Romeo’s history to be constructed entirely in aluminium. This in-line four cylinders engine features the latest-generation injection system with Injection Rate Shaping (IRS) and operating pressures of 2,000-bar. The electrically-operated variable geometry turbocharger offers state-of-the-art mechanics and a turbocharger speed sensor to minimises response times and improves efficiency. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio 210hp 2.2-litre diesel reaches a top speed of 133mph and accelerates from zero to 62mph in 6.6 seconds.

Both Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV engines are teamed with the ZF automatic 8-speed transmission, specifically calibrated for fast, smooth gear shifts.  The automatic transmission work with the Alfa D.N.A selector to optimise fluidity, comfort and ease of driving in all environments and helps to further improve fuel economy and CO2 emissions. Steering-column-mounted, aluminium paddle shifters are also available.

Inspired by Italy’s highest mountain pass – an epic 20 kilometre driving route with more than 75 hairpins – the Stelvio has been built to offer an engaging driving experience while still maintaining the driver’s comfort.

The new SUV boasts handling worthy of a sports car with exclusive Alfalink technology – the most direct steering ratio in the segment and state-of-the-art suspension. Combined with ultra-lightweight, hi-tech materials, such as carbon fibre for the drive shaft and aluminium for the engines, suspension systems, hood, wings, doors and the tailgate, the car can boast sector leading handling and the Alfa Romeo Q4 all-wheel drive system.

Driving comfort has been optimised though the perfect weight distribution between the two axles – a distinctive feature of Alfa Romeo’s. Managing the weights and materials, including adjusting the car’s layout by placing the heaviest units in the most central positions, have helped achieve this 50/50 weight distribution. Light-weight materials reduce the SUV’s total weight and provide excellent torsional rigidity, a quiet ride and exceptional handling even in extreme conditions.

A new double wishbone suspension with a semi-virtual steering axis, optimising the filtering effect and guaranteeing rapid, accurate steering, was developed for the front suspension. The rear suspension uses a four-and-a-half link system – patented by Alfa Romeo – to deliver extremely precise control of the wheel’s characteristic angles.  The Alfa Romeo Stelvio SUV has the most direct steering ratio in its segment delivering a natural, instinctive feel.

Thanks to the Q4 all-wheel drive system, with rear-wheel-drive bias, the Alfa Romeo Stelvio is capable of conquering a mountain hairpin, gravel track or snow-covered roads.  Its architecture includes an active transfer case and front differential designed to give rapid-response management of high torque levels and a compact, lightweight set-up.

The Q4 system continuously monitors numerous parameters to optimise torque distribution between the two axles according to what the car is doing and how much grip the road surface offers. In normal grip conditions the Alfa Romeo Stelvio acts like a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with 100% of the torque sent to the rear axle. As the wheels approach their grip limit the system transfers up to 50 per cent of the torque to the front axle. This translates into best-in-class control in terms of traction and directional stability on corners.

An optional mechanical self-locking rear differential transfers more torque to the wheel with most grip to optimise the car’s traction in any driving conditions.

The history of Alfa Romeo is evident in the striking, yet simple, design of the Alfa Romeo Stelvio. Three key Ingredients of Alfa Romeo design are visible in the new Alfa Romeo Stelvio’s exterior: proportion, simplicity and top-quality surfacing.

From the legendary cloverleaf at the front end, its compact proportions develop towards the rear and end on a steeply raked rear hatch. Finished with a spoiler, for maximum aerodynamic performance, and two exhaust tips that bring this sporty rear to life.

Inside the Alfa Romeo Stelvio, the same sporty elegant imprint is apparent: simple, stylish and tailored like a bespoke suit. Hours of painstaking craftsmanship means the car is jam-packed full of premium materials including full-grain leather, real wood and fabrics carefully chosen for their look and feel.

Despite a real focus on styling – both inside and out – the practical layout of the car means the driver is central to everything. This is underlined by the diagonal tunnel, the slightly undulating dashboard and the small leather-wrapped steering wheel that adapts effectively to all driving styles.

The driving position and high seat gives complete command of the road, without compromising on the driving pleasure expected of a genuine Alfa Romeo sports car. The feeling of total control is reinforced by the large windows and the wraparound seats give an even sportier, cossetted driving experience.

The Alfa Romeo Stelvio guarantees the very best in terms of comfort and versatility in this sector. The 525-litre boot features a convenient electric tailgate that can be configured with eight different setup levels for optimal boot access.

The Stelvio is equipped with the Alfa Connect system – developed in partnership with Magneti Marelli – with the latest-generation HMI interface, which is controlled from the Rotary Pad and the display incorporated in the dashboard. The latest-generation infotainment system not only controls the DAB digital radio but also provides a Bluetooth system for hands-free communication and playing audio from USB and smartphones devices.

The entire range is supplied as standard with an 8.8″ display with optional Connect 3D Nav 8.8” which supplies navigation with high-resolution 3D maps and high-speed route calculation. The system is also available without a GPS signal thanks to the Dead Reckoning technology, TomTom map updating from the USB port, driving style information and Alfa DNA. mode.

A sophisticated audio system featuring eight speakers (four woofers and four tweeters) is standard across the range. 10 speakers (four woofers, four tweeters, a mid-range and a subwoofer in the boot), and a 14 speaker Harman Kardon system (four woofers, four tweeters, five mid-ranges and a subwoofer) are also optionally available.

Alfa Romeo Stelvio features the new Alfa DNA selector, which allows the driver to modify the car’s dynamic behaviour with three modes: Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency (new energy-saving mode).

Dynamic mode accentuates performance and reactive handling. The steering response becomes more precise, braking is more immediate and the electronic control systems do not interfere with the pleasure of sports-style driving. Natural mode is ideal for urban and motorway driving; handling is tailored for comfort and fuel economy. And finally, the new Advanced Efficiency maximises energy saving and minimises emissions levels.

The new Alfa Romeo SUV is the world’s first car in its segment to offer the new electromechanical system that combines stability control with a traditional servo brake. With its combination of electronics and mechanics, this system not only cuts weights, gives an excellent driving “feel” and eliminates pedal vibration but also guarantees instant brake response, meaning a much shorter braking distance.

A whole host of safety systems are standard on the Alfa Romeo Stelvio including Forward Collision Warning (FCW) with Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB), Lane Departure Warning (LDW), Blind Spot Monitoring (BSM), Rear Cross-Path Detection and Active Cruise Control.

UK pricing and specification will be confirmed closer to sale start.

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Classic Alfa in Brooklands appearance

Alex Pilkington in her 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

Alex Pilkington in her 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

THE 32 acres of Brooklands Museum, on the site of the world’s first purpose-built motor racing circuit, will come alive with high-octane action on Sunday January 29, when the Vintage Sports-Car Club (VSCC) takes centre stage for its annual New Year Driving Tests competition.

Visitors will be treated to the sights and sounds of dozens of pre-war cars tackling a range of driving tests against the clock, designed to challenge both cars and drivers to the extreme.

Iconic areas such as Test Hill, the Finishing Straight and Members’ Banking will show no mercy as the vehicles and their drivers are put through their paces.

This year, due to works on the Brooklands Aircraft Factory Project on and near the Finishing Straight of the Race Track, cars will also tackle tests on the Campbell Circuit at Mercedes-Benz World.

Entries include Alex Pilkington in her 1930 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, Peter Glover (past President of the VSCC, 2002-04), with his 1927 Alvis 12/50 TG Sports Tourer and Charlie Martin who, driving his 1931/35 Riley Special, comes to Brooklands after winning the VSCC Winter Driving Tests at Bicester Heritage last month.

Around 60 Pre-war cars have confirmed their attendance at the event with a host of classic marques on the entry list including Amilcar, Austin, Bugatti, Humber, Singer, Triumph, Trojan, Vauxhall and Wolseley.

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Giulia named ‘safest new car’ at Carbuyer awards

THE new Alfa Romeo Giulia has been named ‘Safest New Car’ in the Carbuyer ‘Best Cars’ Awards, adding to the large collection of international prizes already won by the new sports car.

The ‘Safest New Car’ title came following deliberation from Carbuyer’s team of motoring experts, after safety was found to be one of the website’s readers’ most popular searches.

“The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the long-awaited replacement for the 159 saloon, and with good looks, impressive engines and plenty of interior space, it’s certainly been worth the wait,” says Carbuyer editor Stuart Milne. “It also scored top marks this year in the Euro NCAP crash tests. It achieved a remarkable 98 per cent score for adult occupant protection, beating cars like the Mercedes E-Class and Volkswagen Tiguan.

“Testers praised the Giulia’s structural integrity and the ability of the Autonomous Emergency Braking system to work at higher speeds. With that hugely impressive adult occupant protection score, we’ve named it our Safest New Car.”

The Giulia range starts at £29,180 (OTR) for the 2.0 Turbo Petrol 200hp.

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Giulia Quadrifoglio named ‘best car’ by Top Gear magazine

BBC Top Gear Magazine and the public are in agreement: the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio is 2016’s ‘Best Car’.

The Giulia Quadrifoglio, the most powerful Alfa Romeo ever created for road use, has been crowned winner of one of the most coveted awards in the motoring industry.

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Not only that, but the flagship Quadrifoglio model, powered by a new 510hp, 600Nm Bi-Turbo V6 petrol engine and capable of 0 to 62mph in just 3.9 seconds, scooped the top prize in the first ever public vote for ‘Car of 2016’.

“The Giulia is modern and high-tech but the proposition is simple: engine, handling, beauty,” said Top Gear magazine. “Those are things we want from Alfa. The Giulia over-delivers.”

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Giulia sets new lap record – ‘blindfolded’

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TO celebrate the arrival of the Giulia in UK dealerships, Alfa Romeo has achieved a world first by setting a lap record of the famed Silverstone circuit with an epic twist – the windows of the Quadrifoglio were completely blacked out.

Marking 65 years from Italian F1 World Champion Nino Farina registering a lap record at Silverstone while driving the legendary Alfa Romeo 159 which was adorned with the iconic Quadrifoglio badge, the 2016 range-topping Giulia Quadrifoglio can now lay claim to another record-breaking accomplishment, completing the lap on the National Circuit in 1:44.3secs, matching the 1:44secs set by Farina in 1951.

Despite the car windows being covered entirely in a black vinyl, the hotly anticipated sports saloon, powered by an all-new aluminium 510hp, 600Nm Bi-Turbo V6 petrol engine, navigated the seven-turn, 1.64-mile course and reached speeds of more than 100mph.

Clearly a challenge of this magnitude would require rigorous preparation. With the Quadrifoglio driven by Ed Morris – the youngest ever British driver to compete at Le Mans 24 hour – and David Brise directing from a second Quadrifoglio behind, the drivers spent two days getting to grips with the challenge, first practising on the smaller Stowe Circuit, before moving onto the iconic National Circuit.

To make this achievement possible required more than just driver determination and memory power, the Giulia is packed full of high-performance technologies that allowed the driver to be truly at one with the car.

The Giulia is equipped with the Alfa Chassis Domain Control (CDC) system, which is a sector first, distributing the power evenly through the Torque Vectoring & Active Suspension systems to ensure maximum drive through the rear wheels.

The “brain” is dedicated to vehicle dynamics – combined with the front Active Aero Splitter and rear air diffuser which helped keep the rear-wheel drive Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio ‘glued’ to the track, while the on-board Alfa Connect infotainment system allowed the driver to stay in touch with the support team.

In addition, and working almost as a sixth sense for the driver, the active safety systems such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW), Autonomous Emergency Brake (AEB) with pedestrian recognition and Lane Departure Warning (LDW), allowed the driver to have complete confidence in the task at hand.

“I’ve driven hundreds of cars but never one with all the windows blacked out,” said professional driver Morris. “As a racing driver it’s in your nature to push yourself and the car to its limits and knowing the Alfa Romeo Giulia is packed with so many high-performance technologies really allowed us to have complete trust in it and focus on setting a record.”

The Giulia range is now available to test drive at dealerships throughout the UK, with a starting price of £29,180 OTR, including the record breaking Quadrifoglio priced at £59,000 OTR.

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Giulia named the most beautiful car of 2016

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THE new Alfa Romeo Giulia has been named most beautiful car in the Das Goldene Lenkrad (Golden Steering Wheel) competition. The award adds to the remarkable collection of international prizes won by the new Alfa sports car.

The Giulia was voted for by readers of Auto Bild and Bild am Sonntag, with a panel of 29 automotive experts. Panel members included rally world champions Walter Röhrl and Sébastien Ogier, DTM champion Mattias Ekström and designer Andrea Zagato.

Created by the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the exciting Giulia is a new expression of the best Italian tradition that combines harmonic proportions, linearity of style, high-quality materials and sophisticated aluminium, wood and leather accents.

All these are embellished with iconic elements originating in the brand’s 100-year history, the most significant of which is the trefoil, arguably the most famous emblem of Alfa Romeo design.

Awarded since 1976 and this year divided into seven categories, the Golden Steering Wheel was won by Alfa Romeo in 2011 for the ‘I am Giulietta’ advertising campaign. Alfa Romeo 147 won in its category in 2000, while in 1995 the award for the coupé category went to Alfa Romeo GTV.

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Giulia UK order books open

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ALFA Romeo has opened UK order books on the all-new Giulia range, with prices starting from £29,180 OTR.

Combining perfect weight distribution with all-new rear-wheel drive architecture, the Giulia offers customers best in class power-to-weight ratios and innovative engine and driver technologies.

Customers can also choose between four engine variants (two petrol and two diesel), which are all paired to a new eight-speed automatic transmission as standard.

In the UK, the Alfa Romeo Giulia model range features five trim levels – the Giulia, Super, Tecnica, Speciale and the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio. Order books for the Giulia Speciale will open later this month.