The Mito was just a toe in the water, in Autumn 2009 Alfa Romeo really gets into its stride. That’s when it unveils that 149, a five door $15k Volkswagen Golf fighter with swoopy styling (inspired by the gorgeous 8C coupe) and innovative technology. Grafting the 8C’s sexy snout onto the narrow, upright Mito didn’t quite work but expect the 149’s attempt to pass itself off as the 180 mph two seater to meet with more success. Wide haunches and a narrow glasshouse create a muscular stance but it’s the front aspect that will define the Alfa on the road. The tall heart shaped grille, swept back lights and wide air intake clearly owe their existence to the 8C. Among C sector hatches, not even Honda’s Civic will have such presence. And not because it will share the Civic’s look at me fussiness. There’s a lot of visual noise on our competitors’ cars’. Fiat Group’s design director Lorenzo Ramaciotti told, We need to recapture our simplicity.’ Simplicity and lightness, is the new Alfa mantra, but the economics mean that underneath the 149’ssexy sheetmetal in a humble Fiat Bravo. A handicap? What does a platform matter? Asks Alfa UK’s marketing director Nicholas Bernard. The Integrale was based on a Fiat Strada. The 149 will have its own Alfa Romeo character.’
Hmm. Lancia said that about the new Delta, but Ford’s new Fiat Panda based Ka proves dynamic transformations are possible. Engines, though based on Fiat units, will be tuned to deliver more power and a distinct character. Petrol and diesel engines range from a mild 120 bhp to 1.6 to a crazy 230 bhp blown 1.8 some petrols will feature Miltiair, a new Fiat developed variable valve timing system. And there will be a Fiat developed dual clutch transmission plus the option the Q2 limited slip differential.