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After Years of Neglect, 2023 Tonale Brings “La Metamorfosi.” Will It Be Enough?
Years ago, a simple mention of “this brand competes in F1” would have sufficed to inflate sales figures beyond recognition. But times have changed, as Alfa Romeo clearly shows. So, back to the root cause.

After Years of Neglect, 2023 Tonale Brings “La Metamorfosi.” Will It Be Enough?

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Remember, Alfa Romeo is still around. Just like Stellantis’ brother from another FCA mother, Chrysler. And it,, too, has just two vehicle nameplates on sale right now. So, at least the latter does not try and pose as a major Formula One (that would be NASCAR or Indy for them) contributor.

Alas, that F1 team name and logo change was one of the main highlights for our Alfa Romeo newsreel last month. That one, along with the seemingly never-ending string of teasers and spied 2023 Tonale prototypes, of course. Well, this is what happens after years of neglect.

Also, when only offering the Giulia sedan and Stelvio sport utility vehicle. By the way, just in case someone forgot, those two were presented to the public back in 2015 (Museo Storico Alfa Romeo in Arese, Italy) and 2016 (Los Angeles Auto Show), respectively. Then, for almost six long years, nothing.

That drought finally ended with the leaked 2023 Tonale. Mere hours later, Alfa Romeo itself signaled it was time for “La Metamorfosi.” It means “the metamorphosis” in Italian and brings with it an interesting equilibrium dance. The Italian automaker promises the new compact crossover SUV will remain true to a brand’s (sporty) DNA that has been around since 1910.

Alas, the little CUV also comes with a radical evolution of the 111-year-old brand’s ethos. No one should be surprised, though, as the marque simply tries to adapt to modern times of connectivity and electrification. As such, it also brought an interesting “world exclusive” (for a car) first NFT (non-fungible token) digital certificate on the automotive market.

Along with the usual array of huge LCD real estate in the cockpit. They total 22.5-inch from two large TFT screens and have access to an all-new infotainment system. It is complete with OTA (over-the-air) updates and Level 2 ADAS systems, among others (just ask Amazon Alexa, “she” is also there). Naturally, that is not all, as Alfa needs “state-of-the-art electrification” if it wants to boost sales, not just survive for a few more years.

There is a mention of a European base. A new-generation 1.6-liter, 130-horsepower diesel engine with a six-speed TCT dual-clutch automatic transmission and front-wheel drive. But the real stars of the powertrain show are Tonale’s dual-levels of electrification.

The first debut revolves around a 130- or 160-horsepower Hybrid VGT (variable geometry turbine). It blends a 1.5-liter gasoline engine with a 48-volt 15-kW, “P2” electric motor and pairs them with a seven-speed TCT.

The second layer of performance comes in the form of a 275-horsepower PHEV (plug-in hybrid) Q4. That means all-wheel drive and 62 mph/100 kph in 6.2 seconds, complete with more than 60 km/37 miles of pure electric range, according to initial estimates. Will that be enough to make Alfa Rome a sales hero yet again?

That would be anyone’s guess. But at least the Italian automaker is looking forward to better North American and Middle East outcomes, also with region-exclusive 2.0-liter gasoline mills. As far as we can see right now, when the first deliveries are still quite a long way forward, Alfa’s Tonale has at least remained a darling of both the rumor mill and automotive virtual artists.

Rumors are already swirling about even higher performance factors, such as a potential Quadrifoglio version to keep the equally possible fully electric version company. Meanwhile, pixel masters have already thought about flagship GTA opportunities. Both for Alfa’s new Tonale, as well as for a sensible update of the ultra-cool Alfa Romeo Giulia GTAm! If only things were so easy in real Stellantis life, as well...



 
 
 
 
 

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