Spied: Alfa Romeo Giulietta Testing in Michigan

Though the on-again, off-again relationship between Alfa Romeo and the U.S. market has been as turbulent as a soap-opera affair, here’s yet another reason to believe the Italian brand will soon return to America -- we spied this Alfa Romeo Giulietta testing in southeast Michigan and wearing manufacturer license plates.

The tie-up between Chrysler and Fiat (which owns Alfa Romeo) means that the Giulietta seen here could be part of Chrysler’s testing fleet. The attractive Euro-market hatchback is meant to take on the Volkswagen Golf with sophisticated handling and efficient powertrains. When we drove a 2011 Giulietta last April, we called it “the best front-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo ever.”

The good news for American alfisti is that the Giulietta is slated to arrive on our shores after a facelift in 2014. Seeing the car testing on American roads gives us confidence the car is indeed being prepared for a U.S. launch. Of course, the arrival of the Alfa Romeo brand itself is still somewhat uncertain.

Despite promises Alfa Romeo would return to the U.S. market by 2012, it now appears the brand won’t reappear here until 2013. The first Alfa product to show up in the States will likely be either a redesigned version of the MiTo hatchback or the Giulia sedan; however, the Giulia’s launch has been delayed by at least six months due to CEO Sergio Marchionne’s dissatisfaction with the car’s design. The Giulietta hatchback and even a new crossover are expected to follow over the next several years.

Even if we don’t get a car wearing Alfa Romeo badges, the C-EVO platform that underpins the Giulietta will be used as the basis for new Dodge and Chrysler sedans. The four-door twins are expected to pack a Fiat-sourced 2.4-liter inline-four with about 200 hp, as well as a version of Chrysler’s 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6. They will debut here by 2012.

Photos by Matt Tierney

CuoreSportivo
What are you saying!?!?!?!?!?Giulietta's design it's like Chris Bangle Design?!?!?!?!?!Blasphemy!
isvelden
I think this car will make the streets in the US a lot more interesting. I live in Holland, and I am lucky enough to drive one: an Alfa Red 1750 Quadrifolglio Verde Cloverleaf, remapped by Squadra tuning to 250 HP and 400 nm torque. It's a bullet, and a lot of fun to drive. In Europe voted as the best handling frontwheel drive car, some German (!) tests even concluded it handled better than a BMW (RWD) fun fun fun!
Chris Blain
I've personally witnessed this vehicle on the Michigan roads and freeway (where it was showing with certainity, what it really can do). It was nice to see that along with its power, it has quite a bit of bravado. Can't wait to get it at the local dealer to give it my own testing.
Hengel
Wel, just drive it and you will know its better than the 156. The most interesting version in my opinion is the 1.4 170 HP version. The light engine makes it even a better drive than the 1750 QV version i heard. I only drove the 1.4 170 HP myself however. I ordered the TCT automatic version. Now i only have to wait a few months :-(..
Innocent Bystander
Except that Alfa Romeo no longer builds "true" sports cars anymore. All of their mass produced cars are front-wheel-drive and use Fiat-derived engines. The 4C is an interesting car but outside of the concept that was shown, nobody has ever seen it being tested on the streets. Alfa says its coming out next year but Alfa has said a lot over the years without delivering too much. We will just have to wait and see. At this point, I think Dodge has more "sports car know-how" than Alfa. At least Dodge still produces rear-wheel-drive platforms for some of their cars.
Andre
Since Alfa has a strong reputation for making sports cars, Sergio should use Alfa platforms or engineering to make Dodge a true sports car haven. Smaller, lighter, and faster sports sedans, coupes, and roadsters would make Dodge the American version of Mazda, cars meant to be driven and enjoyed. A Ferrari-based Viper would bring Dodge roaring back from the brink.
Robert
The Giulietta would be a good competitor for the Volvo C30 or Audi A3 since it's the same size and a bit cheaper. Plus Alfa has a 1,8 liter turbo with 235 ponies. I don't really care for the design though. It's like Chris Bangle design. The details are interesting but somehow never come together to make a well-balanced good looking car.
Mark the Shark
Sergio Marchionne said that Alfa WILL return in late 2012 with the Alfa Romeo 4C, a car you neglected to mention in the article as one of Alfa's first US products slated for sale.
Innocent Bystander
Calling the Giulietta "the best front-wheel-drive Alfa Romeo ever" isn't such a big deal when you look at the long line of fwd Alfa's that have been produced over the last two decades. Still, I find it VERY hard to believe that this Giulietta is better than the Alfa Romeo 156, a car that sported a beautiful Arese V6 engine on a light fwd platform and won the European Car of the Year Award when it was produced. \ This Giulietta is a step in the right direction for Alfa after years of steps in the opposite direction.

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