Given the brace of new arrivals on the South African subcompact market during the past year, the charismatic Alfa Romeo 147 is looking a bit stale compared with its competitors… But that will change when the facelifted 147 arrives, Fiat Auto SA says.

Given the brace of new arrivals on the South African subcompact market during the past year, the charismatic Alfa Romeo 147 is looking a bit stale compared with its competitors… But that will change when the facelifted 147 arrives, Fiat Auto SA says.



First shown at the Paris Show last year, the new 147’s styling - especially the front end of the Milanese subcompact - has been sharpened by Italian design house Giugaro. The 147’s nose now has new bumpers, a larger, a more distinctive grille - offset by newly-designed headlights – and a more contoured bonnet. The airdam is divided by three vertical elements and the overhang is longer. Changes to the rear are less obvious, however - the tailgate has been reworked and the rear light clusters refined.


Speaking to CARtoday.com on Wednesday, a Fiat Auto SA spokesman confirmed that the revised Alfa Romeo 147 range would be introduced in the second half of the year. The flagship 147 GTA model, however, would not be affected by the facelift and would remain available on the South African market for the foreseeable future.


With the increased competition in the subcompact market, sparked by the local launches of the Volkswagen Golf Five, Opel Astra, revised Toyota RunX, Mazda 3, BMW 1 Series, Citroën C4 (and the Ford Focus waiting in the wings), would Fiat Auto SA adopt an aggressive pricing strategy (ie. find a compromise between specification level versus price) to boost the 147’s competitiveness?


“The pricing of the new range has not been finalised, but Fiat Auto SA considers the Alfa Romeo marque a premium brand and will therefore lean towards introducing models that offer high levels of luxury instead of lower-spec models that wouldn’t necessarily appeal to the 147’s young, successful, urban-based customers”.


“Fiat Auto SA will market the new 147 as a completely revamped product and, as is the case with all new Alfa Romeos sold in South Africa, the range will be offered with comprehensive maintenance plans of at least three years/60 000 km”.


Apart from aesthetic changes, there have also been minor tweaks to the suspension, engine- and exterior sound insulation, new instrument designs, a wider choice of fabrics and fascia finishes and new headrests for improved rearward visibility and equipment upgrades for most models.


The transmissions on offer will also be new. The Selespeed transmission has been further developed to be more responsive and user-friendly. As with the current Selespeed, the system is designed to automate the clutch controls and gearshifts of a manual transmission via an electrohydraulic device.


The suspension, which combines a double wishbone suspension up front with a MacPherson layout at the rear, will feature a new Comfort setting. The front shock absorbers have been improved too. ABS with EBD, Vehicle Dynamic Control and ASR systems will be standard.


But what about the new 147’s model line-up? When CAR spoke to Fiat Auto South Africa executives at the end of last year, it was suggested that the range would be bolstered by the addition of another turbodiesel model.


The Fiat Auto SA spokesman we spoke to remained tight-lipped on which model would be added on Wednesday. However, on European markets the engines on offer include two 1,6-litre Twin Spark units (producing 78 kW and 89 kW), a 112 2,0-litre 16-valve, an 85 kW 1,9 JTD turbodiesel (already a feature on the South African maket) AND the 1,9 JTD 16-valve MultiJet unit, which produces 112 kW at 4 000 r/min and torque of 305 N.m at 2 000 r/min.

Original article from Car