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.Alfa Romeo Giulietta hits the European market

Alfa Romeo Giulietta

Ladies and Gents, say hello to the new Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Then say goodbye. Because although Alfa Romeo says this car is slated to reach "all major markets," apparently that doesn't include North America.

Following its public unveiling at the Geneva Motor Show last month, Alfa has finally released full details and a whole slew of photos of the new five-door sport-hatch. And whether it makes it Stateside or not, this stands to be a pivotal, make-it or break-it product for the stoic Italian marque that celebrates its centenary this year.

Aside from this being a new Alfa – which is reason enough for many to sit up and pay attention – what you're looking at here is Italy's chief contender for the coveted Ford Focus/Volkswagen Golf segment. And quite a contender it is, from the looks of things.

The Giulietta is the second new vehicle Alfa has introduced to replace the long-serving 147 hatchback, joining the three-door MiTo in anchoring the brand's range while reviving a classic nameplate for the marque. Stylistically, it's also the third model to follow the company's newest design direction, following the lead set by the flagship 8C Competizione and the aforementioned MiTo. And while the styling may have lost some fans in its transition from supercar to supermini, it appears to translate better to the Giulietta's longer frame better.

The interior likewise draws its inspiration from the 8C Competizione, particularly around the dashboard. Despite the relatively high belt-line – especially in the back – the cabin has a much airier look and feel than the more cocooning MiTo, thanks in part to the expansive optional sunroof. It's also packed with all the features you'd expect of a new product from a major automaker, topped by an options list that includes Bose sound, TomTom nav and the Blue&Me connectivity system developed with Microsoft.

The tech isn't limited to the cabin, however. At launch, Alfa is offering the Giulietta with four engine options: gasoline-burning 1.4-liter turbo fours with 120 or 170 horsepower (the latter assisted by Fiat's MultiAir variable valve technology) and a pair of turbo-diesel, displacing 1.6 and 2 liters and producing 105 and 170 hp, respectively. The Quadrifoglio Verde – bearing Alfa's legendary cloverleaf badge – will follow, packing a 1.8-liter, direct-injection turbo four with 235 horsepower on tap, as will a new dual-clutch transmission. In the meantime a six-speed manual serves all four engine options.

Market-wise, the Giulietta presents a compelling case. Although its upscale stature, coveted badge and equipment list puts it squarely in league with premium hatchbacks like the Audi A3 and BMW 1 Series, its pricing comes closer to a Golf or Focus, giving Alfa a serious contender against models in both segments.

You can read more details about the Giulietta in the press release below, and view all the high-resolution photos in the gallery. But as important a product as the new Giulietta is for Alfa Romeo and its parent company Fiat, it's also the harbinger of things to come for the brand and the rapidly expanding auto giant. The new Giulia is slated to be based on a modified version of the same platform, replacing the stylistically brilliant but dynamically flawed 159 sedan and sportwagon, to say nothing of the successor to the Brera and Spider models. Sources also expect a slew of new Chrysler models to borrow the same architecture. So whether or not the Giulietta as we see it here makes it to American shores, its platform, engines and other features almost certainly will.


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