The Alfa Romeo Tonale is electrified for AWD performance
FCA has unveiled the Alfa Romeo Tonale concept car, a plug-in hybrid crossover based on the architecture of the Jeep Renegade. Alfa Romeo’s first electrified vehicle, the Tonale debuted at the Geneva Auto Show. It will likely be assembled in the Melfi, Italy, factory that currently builds the Renegade and platform-mate Fiat 500X.
FCA had previously announced that it will be offering a PHEV version of the Renegade starting next year.
Following the pattern set by the Stelvio, the Tonale is named after a mountain pass in the Alps. Larger than the Renegade, the Tonale will be slotted in the vital but highly competitive mid-size SUV market. FCA will try to distinguish the new Alfa from the crowd by emphasizing two characteristics of the Italian brand: style and handling. Alfa Romeo promises the best driving dynamics in the segment.
The exterior design is said to evoke traditional Alfa Romeo themes, with 21 inch “telephone dial” wheels reminiscent of the 1960s era 33 Stradale, while the body lines and stance are supposed to reference classic Alfas of the past, including the Brera, SZ, Duetto, Disco Volante Spider, and GT Junior. Of course, the front end will feature the marque’s signature “Trilobo” shield and “Scudetto” grille. Rear visibility should be good—“enveloping window volume” and the transparent roof will let your passengers see the stars.
Referencing great Italian art and sculpture, FCA says that the Tonale’s exterior was designed with artigianale (artisanal) hand sculpting and compares the rear lighting to artists’ signatures on their works. The four-passenger interior is described as driver oriented, yet comforting for passengers. Again, reference is made to hand drawing, though the hands in question were probably working with stylus and digital pad, not pencil and paper. Soft leather and Alcantara surfaces are given contrast with brushed aluminum. The instrument panel will have a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster for the driver and a central 10.25-inch touchscreen. Infotainment will be “fully connected to the Alfa Romeo lifestyle and social communities” through two applications that Alfa Romeo is branding “Alfista” and “Paddock.”
Alfista connects with “select” owner clubs and events like meets and group drives. It will also provide news and publicity about the brand from Alfa Romeo. Paddock is a marketing app, so you can buy upgrades and accessories directly from the driver’s seat with a touch of the screen.
Full details on the mechanical specifications have not been released, but the hybrid system integrates a combustion engine up front with an electric motor for the rear axle. The touchscreen’s E-mozione control lets you select driving modes that mix and match output from the two power sources. Advance E is pure electric mode, Natural mode automatically controls the optimized contributions of the engine and motor, while Dual Power gives the maximum output of both. Interestingly, no mention is made of the environmental benefits of a hybrid powertrain. Electrification, in this case, is being sold as a performance enhancer.