The car is known as the Alfa Romeo 147 because Alfa Romeo traditionally treats its cars as technical designs and refers to them by number. As we see it, the new model is first and foremost a driving machine – a sporty interpretation of the most sophisticated and advanced automotive engineering available today.
The name of Alfa always stands for appealing Italian styling, great temperament and excellent engine technology. These attributes are joined on the new model by top-class interiors and trim equal to anything offered by the best competitors in the segment. Plus comprehensive equipment packages that include deluxe car features and state-of-the-art communications technology.
In this sense the Alfa Romeo 147 launch is also a historical event for the Brand.
You see, the Alfa Romeo 147 is much more than just a replacement for the Alfa Romeo 145 and 146. It is actually poised to do what the 156 did, but this time within the medium-sized hatchback segment.
The Alfa Romeo 156’s success relaunched Alfa Romeo as a world-class élite brand and took sales to a new stable level of more than 200,000 cars per year: an increase of 45% over 1997.
An ambitious goal has been set for the Alfa Romeo 147, but we can certainly achieve it. Because the new model is a prestige sporty compact car:
To help the Alfa Romeo 147 on the way to sales success in this prestige compact car market band – which has recently proved to be one of the most dynamic sectors – it has another appealingly high-tech card up its sleeve: i.e. a complement of electronic and communications devices that no other car in the segment can boast.
The Alfa Romeo 147 is the first of a new breed of cars: the high-tech cars of tomorrow.
The Alfa Romeo 147 is all set to be a trend-setter and will appeal to dynamic motorists who are aware of new developments and are looking for the best when they choose a car. Such customers will appreciate the Alfa Romeo 147 because it sells at a competitive price and is also a valuable commodity in the broadest sense of the term.
The new model measures 4.17 metres long and 1.73 metres wide. The styling is the same on both 3- and 5-door versions – and they also share the same unmistakable Alfa personality.
The front end is dominated by a large, tall shield that goes together with the two air intakes at the sides to make up the classic Alfa three-part motif. This feature is reminiscent of famous classic Alfas such as the 6C 2500 Villa d’Este of 1949. Other retro hints include the wide sweep described around the headlights by the bonnet.
On the muscular, protective side view, metal is more in evidence than windows as you would expect from a true sports car. The sides stand forcefully on big wheelarches and are marked by a tension line that reveals the car’s parentage with the Alfa 156. The visual balance point in the middle is marked by the aluminium front door handle. Further up, the side windows and glossy black pillar create an overall oval impression reminiscent of the side view of that ultimate sports model, the coupé. The model maintains the same look on the five door version, because the back door is opened by a black handle camouflaged in the window frame.
The tapering, wrap-around rear end creates an impression of an agile car that is eager to be off. The rear window traces out a great V-shape that mirrors the similar V at the front. Lower down, the light clusters are separate and horizontal as on the Alfa Romo Spider and Alfa Romeo GTV.
The overall impression is thus of a smooth, unfussy shape with the right amount of get-up-and-go. A compact car that is also as imposing as a saloon, but easier to handle.
Good-looking outside, prestigious on the inside: elegant styling, user-friendly controls, top-quality materials and careful finish. The attractive Alfa Romeo 147 passenger compartment is recognisably Italian with its rounded lines and three-dimensional shapes while the trim and padding offer a visual and tactile sensation of comfort and prestige.
As you would expect from an Alfa Romeo, the driver’s cockpit has been designed with great attention to ergonomic considerations to ensure the best possible control of the car in all situations.
The curved dashboard mirrors the shape of the steering wheel and contains three round analogue dials that slightly overlap. The facia may come in one or two colours. Two-tone facias are dark at the top and light lower down to increase the sensation of light and space.
The steering wheel is designed to fit in with the interior design and control buttons may be housed on the side spokes so the radio, phone or Selespeed unit can be operated without taking your hands off the wheel.
All the other high-tech features are clustered on the console in the middle of the car within easy reach of the front passenger, who can use them without distracting the driver’s attention.
Maximum practicality is ensured by a host of storage compartments and a luggage compartment. All the luggage room can be used to the full because the compartment is regularly shaped and also because the rear seats can be folded totally or in part. It is also extremely functional because it can be equipped with a luggage retaining net with different fitting positions. The base can also be turned over (the other side is a waterproof, washable tray that can be used to dump sails, wet swimming costumes, ski boots etc.).
The Alfa Romeo 147 combines these interior and exterior styling attributes with outstanding technical specifications: a Cd of 0.32 and torsional rigidity of 110,000 kgm/rad (95,000 for the 5-door version).
Customers will therefore be able to travel in a noiseless, vibration-free car that is also easy to handle with outstanding roadholding. The Alfa Romeo 147 combines a rigid body with sophisticated mechanical units: a double-wishbone suspension at the front and a MacPherson system with asymmetrical arms at the rear. In other words, the same layout as an altogether higher segment car.
The end result is a car that offers great lateral grip, a rapid approach to bends and a highly effective, precise steering response. All in all: stability during high-speed manoeuvres and agility over mixed routes due to the very direct steering ratio (only a little over two turns of the wheel are required to steer from lock to lock).
The Alfa Romeo 147 is a compact car that can conjure up all the satisfaction and thrill of driving a big Alfa. And it has been designed with particular attention to comfort: the array of equipment offered by the new model is more what you would expect from a flagship than a higher segment model. Examples include:
- Bose® Sound System;
- dual-zone climate control system with air quality sensor (AQS) and automatic recirculation;
- Cruise control;
- rain sensor;
- simultaneous opening and locking of windows and sunroof with safety seals;
- steering-wheel buttons for radio, phone, voice controls and Selespeed.
And so from comfort to mechanical units. A high-tech car with its eye on the upper echelons of its market band would not be complete without the Selespeed gearbox that has met with such success from discerning customers (some 10% of Alfa 156s sold in Europe are fitted with this device). It is not an automatic transmission, but a robotised manual gearbox. It combines the convenience of an automatic device with the operating speed of a conventional mechanism. The gearbox can be operated by a conventional lever that moves up and down like a joystick. Or by controls on the steering wheel: on the Alfa Romeo 147 these are located behind the rim.
The heart of every Alfa Romeo is a lively, generous and responsive engine that is easy to control due to its smooth power delivery.
The new Alfa Romeo 147 comes with four units. Three petrol units, all 16 valve Twin Spark engines: a 77 kW (105 bhp) 1.6 unit; a more powerful 88 kW (120 bhp) 1.6 unit and a 110 kW (150 bhp) 2.0 unit, the latter available with both manual gearbox and Selespeed gearbox. Plus a ‘Common Rail’ diesel engine with variable geometry turbine: the 81 kW (110 bhp), 1.9 JTD unit.
These four power units are different yet share one quality: the ability to ensure outstanding combustion control. As far as the motorist is concerned, these attributes mean great driving flexibility and traditionally high Alfa performance standards.
All Alfa Romeo 147 power units are fitted with a drive-by-wire throttle that allows more effective control of fuel consumption and emission levels.
Alfa Romeo 147: a good-looking and prestigious car, a car that is lively and satisfying to drive, a safe car. In other words, a car fitted with all the features that come under the heading of preventive safety because they help the driver stay alert; comfort, noiseless running, ergonomics, efficient climate control system, well-arranged controls and easily-read instruments.
The new model has also achieved outstanding results in the field of passive safety and passed all the toughest tests.
This has been achieved because of the decision to equip the Alfa Romeo 147 with all the very latest devices currently available. First and foremost, total occupant protection is guaranteed by no fewer than six airbags fitted as standard: two at the front, two at the side and two window bags that run the entire width of all the side windows so that they offer effective protection to the heads of front and back seat passengers in case of impact. This specification sets the Alfa Romeo 147 at the head of its segment in terms of passive safety and is complemented by side impact bars in the doors, a collapsible steering column, front seatbelts with pre-tensioners and load limiters and – on the central rear seat – a third head-restraint and inertia reel seatbelt.
The Alfa Romeo 147 also looks all set to become the new benchmark for active safety within the compact car sector, because the car is fitted with the most sophisticated devices for traction and braking control. These engineering features are designed to ensure perfect control of the car by the driver in all situations. The Alfa Romeo 147 can claim sole responsibility for bringing this distillate of high technology (until recently the province of higher segment cars) to its own market band.
All this plus a braking system with big discs on all four wheels and one of the most advanced ABS units with an electronic brake force distributor (EBD). An ASR system is also present to modulate wheel slip during acceleration. An MSR system regulates braking torque when changing down through the gears and a brand-new VDC device controls dynamic stability on corners. The VDC recently made its first appearance on the flagship, the 166.
This sophisticated sports-oriented system leaves the driver free to enjoy control of the car as long as conditions are normal but cuts in when situations are close to the danger limit to help control the car.
All this sophisticated technology to control the dynamic behaviour of the Alfa Romeo 147 is reflected internally by a hi-tech passenger compartment. The new Alfa is equipped with a CONNECT system, i.e. a sophisticated range of communication systems that includes a radio with CD, dual-band GSM phone with hands-free set, satellite navigation, voice controls, SOS button to request medical and mechanical assistance or information – and can also display trip computer information.
The CONNECT system is located high up in the upper part of the central console so that drivers can read information without taking their eyes and attention off the road – and in the middle of the facia so that it can easily be used by the front passenger and is visible to people in the back.
The most comprehensive version of the system, the CONNECT Nav+, comes with a 5″ colour TFT screen to ensure maximum image clarity and definition and a wide cone of visibility.
The various functions (or modules) making up the CONNECT system interact with one another. This allows drivers to benefit from a series of brand-new communications services while on the road that makes the new model unique within its market segment.
While at the wheel of the Alfa Romeo 147, you can:
- listen to CDs or the radio and enjoy auditorium-standard reproduction (you can obtain as an option a sophisticated Bose® hi-fi system with six channels and subwoofers specially designed for the Alfa Romeo 147);
- be informed in advance of situations arising along the road (traffic jams, accidents, fog). This can also be done using written messages that you can re-read (SMS/RDS);
- receive phone calls by pressing a key on the steering wheel and hearing the voice of the person at the other end through the sound system (via a dual-band GSM phone with hands-free set);
- make phone calls by simply speaking the name or number of the recipient out loud and recording a short conversation when you do not have the opportunity to take notes (voice recognition and voice memo);
- note short voice memos using the voice memo function;
- leave your road maps at home by accident but be guided to your destination by a satellite navigation system that uses maps recorded on a CD-ROM;
- find hotels, service stations, chemists or other useful services without problems;
- resolve any problems by asking for information, advice or help from the operators who are on duty at the Targa Services Contact Centre around the clock;
- send an emergency request simply by pressing a key in case of emergency.
The new model launch programme is as follows: the 3-door Alfa Romeo 147 will go on sale from the end of October 2000 to be followed by the 5-door version, 1.9 JTD ‘Common Rail’ and 2 litre versions at dates to be established.
The Alfa Romeo 147 range is one of the broadest and most sophisticated in its segment because it offers such a comprehensive array of versions and features. It includes four engine versions (three petrol and one diesel), two body types (three door and five door), two different gearboxes (manual and Selespeed) and two outfit levels (‘Progression’ and ‘Distinctive’).
Sixteen versions are available in total in all markets:
- 105 bhp 1.6 T. Spark with 3- or 5-doors in ‘Progression’ or ‘Distinctive’ outfit;
- 120 bhp 1.6 T. Spark with 3- or 5-doors in ‘Progression’ or ‘Distinctive’ outfit;
- 110 bhp 1.9 JTD with 3- or 5-doors in ‘Progression’ or ‘Distinctive’ outfit;
- 2.0 Twin Spark with manual gearbox, 3- or 5-doors, in ‘Distinctive’ outfit;
- 150 bhp 2.0 T. Spark with robotised Selespeed gearbox, 3- or 5-doors in ‘Distinctive’ outfit.
All this plus fourteen body colours (including the prestigious Nuvola Blue), three different interior environments offered on the whole range (Elegant, Classic, Sporty) and many options to satisfy even the most demanding of customers in this fiercely-fought market band. And we must not forget the Accessories range, that can be used to adapt the new model to the most personal taste and needs.
The Fiat Auto Racing Division has developed an Alfa Romeo 147 to compete in track races within the SuperProduzione category to international FIA rules. The car is part of Alfa’s long racing tradition and is intended for gentleman drivers. It will take part in national championships in the main European countries and also the Spa international 24 hour race. The car will be equipped and sold ready for racing directly by the Fiat Auto Racing Division.
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