Alfa Romeo at the 81st International Geneva Motor Show
The innovative “Alfa TCT” transmission
After its debut on the Alfa Romeo MiTo, the Giulietta is the second Group model to combine an "Alfa TCT" transmission with the 170 HP / 125 kW 1.4 MultiAir turbo petrol engine, a distillate of technology which blends high performance levels with the lowest emissions and fuel consumption levels in its category for petrol engines of this power rating. This Alfa Romeo Giulietta returns outstanding performance: 218 km/h top speed, 5.2 l/100 km over a combined cycle, 121 g/km of CO 2 and just 7.7 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. This particular model will be coming to South Africa during the second half of this year.
To complement its range of automatic transmissions, Alfa Romeo will also fit the Alfa TCT on the 170 HP / 125 kW 2.0 JTD diesel engine. In this case too, the teaming of this latest engine with the Alfa TCT helps the Giulietta enhance its performance levels and fuel consumption/emissions: acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h drops from 8.0 seconds to 7.9 seconds, consumption levels (combined cycle) drop from 4.7 l/100 km to 4.5 l/100 km while CO2 emission levels attain record levels for an engine in this category, totalling 119 g/km (previously 124 g/km). The diesel-powered Giulietta is still under consideration for South Africa.
The “Alfa TCT” transmission is controlled by a lever with precise and ergonomic movements, which can be combined with shift paddles behind the steering wheel for a sporty and engaging drive. In detail, the operation of the “Alfa TCT” transmission is distinguished by maximum interaction with the vehicle's systems. To allow for the best performance on the road, depending on the drive conditions and on the driver's request, the transmission interacts with the braking, engine control, Alfa DNA selector, Start&Stop and vehicle stability control system.
Thanks to the speed with which the parameters are processed, the transmission can modify the speed of gear shift, manage the torque delivery on low grip roads, and it can operate completely automatically or as a manual sequential gearbox. Developed and produced by FPT – Fiat Powertrain Technologies, the new “Alfa TCT” device, conceptually consists of two gearboxes in parallel, each with its own clutch, which allows the subsequent gear to be selected and engaged while the previous one is still engaged. The gear is therefore changed with a simple gradual switch of the corresponding clutches, guaranteeing continuous torque delivery and therefore traction.
The result is a driving comfort and sporty feeling well above that offered by conventional automatic transmissions (with torque converter), as proven by greater speed of gear shift, the possibility of selecting between manual or automatic mode and a near-zero power loss during the gear change. In addition, the purchasing, servicing and running costs are limited, and fuel consumption is reduced, thanks also to the implementation of the Start&Stop system, by up to 10% less than with a traditional automatic hydraulic transmission.
Other unique features of the new "Alfa TCT" are its flexibility of application, thanks to the compact size of its components, and the fact that it is a dry twin clutch (the type of clutch that guarantees the highest degree of efficiency in terms of fuel consumption among all automatic transmissions). If one compares "Dry" clutches with oil bath ("Wet") ones, you can safely say that the former dissipate energy only during the actual slipping phase of the gear change and on pick-up, whereas wet clutches, which always operate in an oil bath, introduce losses due to viscous friction such as those of conventional automatic transmissions even when they are not in operation. What's more, they require forced cooling with oil and therefore continuous energy expenditure to drive the dedicated oil pump (absent in the case of "Dry" clutches).
A wet automatic transmission also requires approximately 4.8 litres more gearbox oil than the dry version, again for reasons of clutch cooling (in this way, weight is added and losses due to splashing increase). When all these effects are added together, a "Dry" transmission is found to be approximately 6% more efficient than the corresponding "Wet" one in terms of consumption. Last but not least, the advantages of the dry clutch include the lower cost and the increased ease of installation.
Alfa Romeo MiTo MY 2011
Awarded the title of "Auto Europa 2009" by the UIGA and the prestigious Euro NCAP five-star ranking, the Alfa Romeo MiTo has proven that it is a success thanks to its clever combination of looks and performance, Italian style and technical excellence aimed at maximum driving satisfaction in total safety. The Geneva International Motor Show sees the world debut of the new 2011 range of the Alfa Romeo MiTo, available for purchase across all the major European countries from April.
Some of the new features include the introduction of the new metal-flake colour (aluminium and mica together) "Bronzo Metal" (bronze metal) with a bold shade and red hues, and two-tone interiors teamed with brand new upholstery for the dashboard insert and door panels.
A new high-tech fabric has been developed for the seats, consisting of a smooth, compact elastic mesh yet at the same time fine and shiny-like silk, emphasised by the electro-welded graphics with two-tone bronze and black double insert and the “breaked line” titanium sign teamed with the seams on the surrounds and the colour of the dashboard trim. These highly attractive contents emphasise the more elegant spirit of the model.
The model on display at the Motor Show presents this very stylish colour combination, in addition to the appealing 135 HP / 100 kW 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine, teamed with the “Alfa TCT” transmission, which affords excellent performance levels (7.1 l/100 km in the urban cycle, 126 g/km of CO2 and 8.2 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h), data which are even better than the same engine with manual transmission (where the values are 7.4 l/100 km, 129 g/km and 8.4 seconds respectively). Mention must also be made of the on-board equipment, including the “Blue&Me-TomTom” portable navigation device fully integrated in the dashboard.
The “Blue&Me–TomTom” is much more than a portable satellite navigation device. It is a genuine infotelematic system which combines practical use with the complete integration with the vehicle's existing systems. It is the result of a partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and TomTom, the European leader in portable navigation systems, and it exploits the versatility of the Blue&Me system. Thanks to a practical 4.3” colour touch-screen and a simple and intuitive graphic interface, you can control the navigation functions, your telephone, media player and the information typically displayed only on the trip computer, such as fuel consumption levels and autonomy, as well as a real time indication to achieve the most efficient driving style.
The complete integration of the Blue&Me-TomTom is also a valid support for safety: the control of the features via the controls on the steering wheel and voice commands, the position at the centre of the dashboard which is easy to reach and visible, the electricity supply integrated into the support. Moreover, it can be transferred for other uses like any other portable device.
The “Blue&Me–TomTom” on the Alfa Romeo MiTo also offers “IQ route” technology, to find the best route considering the date and time of travel, calculated through a database that contains traffic information on a statistical basis.
Thanks to the TomTom Home web application customised for Alfa Romeo, further features will readily become available. These include the on-line updating of maps and "MapShare”, the large internet community with over 5 million registered users who can share information on maps in real time.
Compared to a normal portable satellite navigation system, the "Blue&Me-TomTom" also incorporates the exclusive “Car Menu” to let you display information on the car and all connected devices:
- “Fuel Efficiency”: real-time information on your driving style and suggestions for reducing environmental impact and optimising consumption by changing gear and accelerating appropriately to suit the nature of the route;
- All trip information on a single screen: distance travelled, consumption and range;
• Fuel reserve warning and directions to the nearest filling station;
- Points of interest, Alfa Romeo service centres and LPG filling stations;
- Management of the mobile phone connected to Blue&Me: dialling the number on the touch screen, call management, information, contacts and last call log;
- Browsing function for the media player connected to the USB port, making iPhone and iPod systems perfectly compatible.
The second car on display presents the "dynamic" spirit of the Alfa Romeo MiTo to the general public: the Swiss venue hosts a model featuring the “Quadrifoglio Verde”, a legendary symbol which over the years has identified some of Alfa Romeo's sportiest products. This exclusive trim level also presents new features with the 2011 range: first and foremost the new front surround under the badge which "widens" the lower part of the front, emphasising the impression of a car which hugs the ground.
The original version stands out for the new high-quality exterior “Quadrifoglio Verde” logos in micro brushed aluminium with the four-leaved clover in relief, situated above the direction indicators; the rear-view mirror casings, the headlight and taillight frames and the handles proposed with an exclusive satinised chrome material; a new sporty seat with a central part in Alcantara®, soft and velvety to touch, teamed with a brand new fabric which is highly resistant to wear; aggressive and highly sporty “totally black” interiors; the details of the two-tone (green and white) artisanal seams on the seats, steering wheel, hand brake lever and knob which are the perfect expression of the trim level's spirit.
There are also a few new optionals: the 18” alloy wheels with specific treatment and the sporty Sabelt seats with a wraparound backrest in carbon fibre made using innovative RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding) technology which teams high mechanical resistance with smaller dimensions and lightness, where the central fabric in Alcantara® stands out thanks to the Alfa Romeo logo, reproduced in an absolutely original way.
Last but not least, the MiTo MY 2011 also affords a new USB and AUX-in socket allowing you to connect your MP3 player directly to the Blue&Me system.
This exclusive version is fitted with the most powerful engine in the range, also awarded by an international jury as the “best new engine of the year 2010”, the 170 HP / 125 kW 1.4 MultiAir Turbo. Alfa Romeo has chosen to equip it with some innovative solutions that accentuate the model's outstanding qualities: road grip, agility, safety assist and a driving feeling are emphasised by an engine, which has one of the world's highest specific power values and a chassis worthy of a higher category. This engine's best feature is its outstanding weight/power ratio, which has always been one of the key factors behind Alfa Romeo's success on the road and the racetrack. It is at the top of its category with 6.7 kg/HP. At 124 HP or 92 kW/litre, this engine is also one of the world leaders in specific power.
This is a particularly important value because it proves the effectiveness of downsizing, aimed at producing high-tech engines to get better performance allied with sharp reductions in fuel consumption and emissions. Indeed, it is this latter area which provides the most surprising evidence of the technical level achieved: 4.8 l/100 km and 139 g/km of CO2 (in the extra-urban cycle) are closer to what you would expect from an economy car than a compact sports car that goes from 0 to 100 km/h in just over 7 seconds.
The MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde also affords the innovative “Dynamic Suspension”, a system which actively and continuously controls the electronic shock absorbers, developed by teaming the designers and road testers of Alfa Romeo with the latest engineering techniques from Magneti Marelli. So, using experience gained on the racetrack, the system allows the MiTo Quadrifoglio Verde to excel even further in terms of agility and handling, giving it exceptional driveability and unparalleled safety. Without considering that the Dynamic Suspension system perfectly interfaces with the three different dynamic control settings of the Alfa DNA device (Normal, All Weather and Dynamic) which also controls the other systems that the car features, such as Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC), steering, the Q2 electronic differential and the engine.
In short, the Alfa Romeo MiTo MY 2011 has a revamped image as a high-tech car while retaining its position as a sporty compact car capable of winning over customers who care for details and maximum driving comfort. It is not a coincidence that the high-performance engines in the 2011 range feature the brand new variable response shock absorbers, with by-pass valve, which improve comfort during strains due to roughness in the road, while keeping the vehicle's dynamic control untouched for driving satisfaction that beats the rest in its category.
World Premiere: the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept
At the 81st Geneva International Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept will make its debut, a compact “supercar” which represents the true essence of a sports car, according to the brand's values: performance, Italian style and technical excellence aimed at maximum driving pleasure in total safety.
The new concept presents the classic formula of the two-seater, rear-wheel drive coupé with its engine at the centre, a length of approximately 4 metres and a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres: dimensions which serve both to emphasise the compact size of the car and to accentuate its agility. Distinguished by its graceful and clean external lines, the same principles are also applied to the inside, with the Concept's specific on-board design maintaining features and devices which directly reflect the car’s sporting spirit.
On the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept, technology and materials derived from the 8C Competizione find a home - carbon, aluminium, rear-wheel drive - and technology derived from Alfa Romeo models currently on sale: the 1750 turbo petrol engine with direct injection, the "Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch transmission and the Alfa DNA dynamic control selector.
Quite simply, this vehicle screams Alfa. Its sports car soul creates a unique driving sensation, both on the road and when racing, where its velocity and transverse acceleration become even more demanding.
Born from the experience acquired through the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione and 8C Spider models, the new concept car shares its rear-wheel drive with the exclusive supercars as well as its philosophy based on achieving maximum driving pleasure and the proverbial Alfa Romeo road handling. This is an objective which the 8C Competizione and the 8C Spider pursue mainly through their increased power, while the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept follows the route of limited weight, made possible by extensive use of carbon, which also plays a structural role and guarantees exceptional agility with a weight/power ratio which is lower than 4 kg/HP.
The chassis supports a body crafted completely from carbon, inside which there is space for the driver and passenger, while the rear frame structure and the crash boxes use aluminium extensively. The final result is a significant reduction in weight, limited to less than 850 kg, as well as the optimisation of the vehicle's centre of gravity, which gives the advantage of increased agility and drivability on the most challenging roads.
The name “4C Concept” is suggestive of the sports driving pleasure which only the spectacular "4 cylinder" 1750 Turbo Petrol engine which offers over 200 HP / 149 kW can bring. Already featured on a number of models in production, for example the Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde, the engine boasts cutting-edge technical solutions such as direct injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, turbocharger and the revolutionary scavenging control system which eliminates turbo lag.
Located centrally in the rear of the vehicle, the engine in the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept ensures performance which matches or exceeds that of a 3 litre engine whilst still delivering the moderate fuel consumption which is typical of a compact, 4 cylinder engine. Coupled with the new automatic “Alfa TCT” twin dry clutch transmission, launched only a few months ago on the MiTo and which will soon be available on the Giulietta, the powerful 1750 Turbo petrol engine allows the 4C Concept to reach a top speed of over 250 km/h and to accelerate from 0 to 100km in under 5 seconds. The vehicle integrates its Alfa DNA technology perfectly, a true philosophy which brings together all of the on-board technology, making it enjoyable and customisable for the driver and further accentuating the "competitive" nature of the Concept compared to other vehicles currently on sale.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept has an extremely sophisticated suspension layout (high quadrilateral at the front, MacPherson at the rear) to ensure maximum agility and road handling. This solution, along with the rear-wheel drive and the extraordinary weight/power ratio, ensures Alfa Romeo driving pleasure, enhanced even further by the weight distribution (40% on the front axle and 60% on the rear axle).
The Concept takes up the Brand's sporting tradition, taking us back to its origins, when agility and the weight/power ratio were the keys to a successful racing vehicle, and combining these aspects with the Alfa Romeos which take to the road every day.
This car is not simply an exercise in style created for the Motor Show; it will be on sale in 2012 and is set to reinforce Alfa Romeo's global growth.
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