Alfa Romeo at the Frankfurt Motor Show
4C Concept gets nearer to production, Alfa’s revolutionary TCT gearbox is fitted to the Giulietta and the MiTo gets a few technological and cosmetic tweaks
Alfa Romeo 4C Concept is “Ambassador DNA Technology”
Unveiled in a world premier at the Geneva Motor Show in April and voted "Most Beautiful Concept Car of the Year" by the readers of the German magazine, Auto Bild, the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept exhibited at the
is distinguished by a new and exclusive “Fluid Metal” exterior colour. This new livery, like a sheet of forged metal, perfectly fits on the 4C Concept shapes with a fluid and liquid pigment that combined with the base creates a silvery reflecting effect and by dynamically running down the sinuous line of the car enhances its force and technicality.
Planned to go on sale in Europe during 2013, when it is set to reinforce Alfa Romeo's global growth plan, starting today this compact “supercar” is “Ambassador DNA Technology”, or ambassador of the engineering heritage that distinguishes the Alfa Romeo vehicles of today and tomorrow, representing their most advanced level.
In fact, the performance and dynamics of the 4C Concept car are enhanced by transferring the perfect equilibrium between pleasure and thrill of performance with the awareness of efficiency and active and passive safety to the daily driving experience.
The concept presents the formula of the two-seater, rear-wheel drive coupé with its central engine, a length of approximately 4 metres and a wheelbase of less than 2.4 metres. These dimensions on the one hand emphasise the car's compact attributes while also accentuating its agility on the other. Distinguished by its clean and graceful lines, the same principles are also applied to the inside, with the Concept's specific trim level, maintaining features and devices which more directly reflect the car's sporting spirit.
The Alfa Romeo 4C Concept uses technology and materials derived from the 8C Competizione – carbon, aluminium, rear-wheel drive – and technology 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 D.N.A. selector for dynamic control of the car, in short all the best of the Alfa Romeo DNA Technology.
This vehicle quite simply 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 roughly 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 / 147 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 fuel injection, dual continuous variable valve timing, a turbocharger and a revolutionary scavenging control system which eliminates any 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, now available on the MiTo and 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 100 km/h in under 5 seconds.
This car was built to represent the most advanced level of “D.N.A. Technology”. It perfectly combines all the Alfa Romeo technologies available on-board, making them enjoyable and customisable for the driver also by the Alfa D.N.A. dynamic vehicle control selector that is its physical expression inside the interior. All of this accentuates to an even greater extent the competitive nature of the Concept compared to other cars 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 holding. This solution, along with the rear-wheel drive and the extraordinary weight to 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 to 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.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta and “Alfa TCT”, the best automatic gearbox in its class in terms of efficiency to performance ratio
Like the Alfa Romeo 4C Concept “supercar”, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta is also equipped with the next-generation"Alfa TCT" twin dry clutch automatic transmission. This original transmission is the benchmark of the class for its ratio between performance, fuel consumption and emissions, and is combined on the Giulietta with the 170 HP / 125 kW 1.4 TB MultiAir ("Best New Engine 2010") and 170 HP / 125 kW 2.0 JTDM engines.
The innovative twin dry clutch automatic transmission ensures a greater driving comfort and a sportier feeling than the conventional automatic gearboxes, but with improved efficiency and lower fuel consumption. -
The Giulietta with Alfa TCT version is equipped with the 170 HP / 125 kW 1.4 TB MultiAir engine. Its top speed is 218 km/h with just 7.7 seconds needed to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h. Even if with this excellent performance, the fuel consumption and emissions are extraordinary low: 5.2 l/100 km over a combined cycle and 121 g/km of CO2, values that make the Giulietta the most environmentally-friendly and efficient petrol-powered compact on the market, even when compared with manual gearbox versions of competitors with definitely lower power ratings and performance.
The values recorded in combination with the 170 HP / 125 kW 2.0 JTDM diesel engine are also segment-leading: in fact, compared to the same version with manual gearbox, acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h drops from 8.0 seconds to 7.9 seconds, fuel consumption (combined cycle) decreases from 4.7 l/100 km to 4.5 l/100 km, while CO2 emissions are just 119 g/km (124 g/km with manual gearbox).
In detail, 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 Alfa DNA, braking system, engine control 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, manually managing the up and down positions of the gear lever with precise and ergonomic movements, which can be combined with shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
The new “Alfa TCT” device conceptually consists of two gearboxes in parallel, each with its own clutch, which allows the selection and engagement of the subsequent gear 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 car running costs are limited compared with a “wet” dual-clutch automatic transmission, while 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 we compare dry clutches with oil bath (wet) clutches, we 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. They also require forced cooling with oil and therefore continuous energy expenditure to drive the dedicated oil pump (absent in the case of dry clutches).
Lastly, a "Wet" automatic transmission 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 running cost and the increased ease of maintenance.
The latest new features of the Alfa Romeo MiTo
The Alfa Romeo MiTo 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. And to mark this, in line with its essence as a state-of-the-art model, the Alfa Romeo MiTo introduces two new engines – the revolutionary 85 HP / 62,5 kW TwinAir Turbo and the new 85 HP / 62,5 kW 1.3 JTDm engines - which will become available in Europe a few months from now. Please note that the TwinAir Powerplant is undergoing evaluation for introduction onto the South African market – it is not currently available on any Fiat Group products locally.
A new active suspension system on the exclusive “Quadrifoglio Verde” and some cosmetic mods ring the changes for MiTo
The second car on display in Frankfurt presents the "dynamic" spirit of the Alfa Romeo MiTo to the general public. It is a model featuring the “Quadrifoglio Verde”, a legendary symbol which over the years has identified some of Alfa Romeo's sportiest products. Like the rest of the 2011 range, this exclusive trim level also presents important style and product innovations, such as a new active suspension system called “Alfa Active Suspension”.
The system, developed as a joint venture between Alfa Romeo and Magneti Marelli, is able to call on the extraordinary experience both companies have accrued in motorsport throughout the world. The system - through the control of the shock absorbers - reduces vehicle oscillation in all driving conditions, ensuring better safety, comfort and drivability.
In particular, thanks to the many parameters controlled by the new device, it is possible - for example - to contrast the load transfer in acceleration, by stiffening the rear and guaranteeing fast accelerations with maximum traction. Via the same principle, it is possible to make the suspensions interact with the braking system and steering to obtain a more effective control of the dynamics of the vehicle.
The system is also able to identify the driving and road surface conditions and therefore choose the most appropriate control mechanisms in addition to harnessing the reaction speed due to the high processing capability and to the special technology of the solenoid valves of the shock absorbers. The end result is an instantaneous response, with controls applied in real time, to assist the sensitivity and technique of the driver.
Besides being an important technological partner for the sportier driver, the new "active suspension system" also ensures an excellent comfort level during everyday use conditions. Thanks to the “Sky Hook” function, the device isolates the passenger compartment, making it completely protected from outside stresses and strains. Therefore, with this new system the chassis changes its performance based on the use conditions or the driver's request.
The interface between the car and driver is guaranteed by the “Alfa D.N.A." system with which in addition to the standard functions it will be possible to regulate the car's geometry according to the selected drive mode. The “Alfa D.N.A.” has three operating modes which the customer can select: Dynamic (sports driving mode), Normal (driving mode for normal conditions) e All Weather (mode for driving in poor grip conditions, such as rain or snow).
In detail, with the introduction of the “active suspension”, the device operates on all the elements of the vehicle dynamic control: Engine Control Unit, Instrument Panel, VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), Steering and Suspensions (for example, in “Dynamic” mode they become stiffer, improving handling).
But the new "active suspension system" is not the only innovation of the MiTo MY 2011 “Quadrifoglio Verde”. A new front surround under the badge that broadens the lower part of the front, emphasising the impression of a car with a vice-like grip on the ground, stands out on the original version. Some of the new style innovations highlighted are 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 options: 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.
The exclusive “Quadrifoglio Verde” 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/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 new-line MiTos including the flagship Quadrifoglio Verde Exclusive with Active Suspension will be available in South Africa from the end of this year.
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