Alfa Romeo is putting the finishing touches to its new Milano hatchback – the replacement to the cutesy 147. Bosses are still weighing up whether to launch the car at the 2009 Frankfurt motor show or the 2010 Geneva expo. Why the rethink? Because waiting six months can save millions in tooling-up costs from this year's recession-hit balance sheets.
Revealed here in CAR's artist's impression, the new Milano will be available as a five-door hatchback only. And our sources say it'll appear as a bigger five-door hatch: lower and wider than today's model, although the tape measure will confirm it as a rival to the VW Golf brigade.Alfa Romeo Milano: it's what's underneath that counts
The Milano is significant as the first Fiat group car to sport the new medium car platform. Dubbed C-Evo, it's the Italians' new box of bits to underpin vehicles in the C- and D-segment. So it will also spawn the next Alfa 159, which will wear the Giulia badge. The company is ditching numbers for names, in case you hadn't noticed.
The C-Evo architecture ('platform' is sooo
last decade) will be available in front-wheel drive and 4wd formats. Expect the latter to be reserved for more high-performance GTA variants and it will be more commonly seen on the Giulia models than the Milano.
As is becoming the norm, the C-Evo structure will have a wide range of width and length options – making it unusually flexible and it is apparently all-new, despite its evolutionary-sounding moniker. Fiat will roll it out as the basis of its medium sized cars globally, and that means it will also underpin future Chryslers such as the next-gen Sebring. All will be available with the next-gen MultiAir engines
to facilitate a drop in CO2 and fuel consumption.How realistic is your Milano artist's impression?
We haven't yet seen the finished car, but we reckon this Milano image affords a decent look at the direction Alfa is headed. Our sources stress the car's width and low-slung height – and claim it is quite different from the Mito mini.
What of the UK rebirth of Lancia? The company had committed to the programme, but pulled the plug last year as the economy cooled down and then crashed. A spokesman told CAR Online that the relaunch was 'on hold indefinitely' until the recession eases. 'It makes no sense to relaunch in this climate,' he admitted.
Which makes the new-generation Alfas – such as the Milano revealed here – even more important, as the Fiat group's only mainstream premium products on sale in Britain.>> Future Alfas: hit or miss? Click 'Add your comment' and sound off