With a few tricks, Alfa Romeo created a Tonale Tributo Italiano. The plug-in hybrid becomes a bit more attractive, but also has a high price.
"Of Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Tributo Italiano is designed as a tribute to the brand's origins and embodies the Italian personality and sportiness of Alfa Romeo,” is the thundering announcement from the headquarters in Milan. Then say no to a test drive. The Tributo Italiano is a salute to old times, when Alfa Romeo achieved fame with famous petrol engines such as the double cam in the Giulia GT from the sixties.
Alfa Romeo will have to reinvent itself, by 2027 it only wants to offer electric models. That is quite a promise, because the brand currently does not have a single EV in the price list. That is finally changing and soon. The Milano will be launched on the market in 2024, the first fully electric Alfa Romeo.
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Back to the buzzing press release. You shouldn't imagine too much about the 'characteristic sportsmanship'. The Tonale Tributo Italiano doesn't get any extra horsepower, it's just about appearance. Not that that is a bad thing, because that is precisely the specialty of Italian designers. You can recognize the new top model by the black roof in combination with a green, red or white body color. The colors of 'Il tricolore', the Italian flag.
Everything sounds better in Italian, officially the colors are called Rosso Alfa, Verde Montreal and Bianco Alfa. If you are unsure whether you are dealing with a Tributo Italiano, the black mirror caps are the easiest identification points. The bumpers are not black, but painted in the body color. The other Tonale models also have this. Matrix LED headlights and dual chrome exhaust pipes are also standard.
Also from the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, a Tributo Italiano version appears, both models feature the 280 hp four-cylinder turbo engine.
When is the Milano coming? And what else does Alfa Romeo have up its sleeve? You can read it in our free weekly newsletter!
When you see a green, white and red Alfa Romeo Tributo Italiano next to each other, you immediately get stressed about choosing and you want all three. Very few car brands have that magical appeal. We get into the red one.
Inside, Alfa Romeo has fitted sports seats, which are upholstered in black leather and red stitching as standard. Here too, the Italian flag has been given a prominent place, it is embroidered into the headrest. The dashboard also has red stitching and is finished with carbon accents.
The Tonale PHEV has a 1.3-litre petrol engine with 180 hp and an electric motor that delivers 122 hp. A total of 280 hp is at your disposal, and you can travel 69 kilometers purely on the electric motor. This does not distinguish the Tributo Italiano from the other PHEV versions of the Tonale. All have four-wheel drive, with the petrol engine driving the front wheels and the electric motor driving the rear wheels.
Despite its sporty image, the Tonale is best used in 'normal' daily traffic. The sports seats are made for hundreds of kilometers of optimal seating comfort and the petrol engine and electric motor change roles unnoticed. In the city and in traffic jams, the electric motor predominates, after which the petrol engine takes over at higher speeds. Although the chassis is basically a bit sporty, the comfort reserves are not too bad.
It will be the Alfisti hurt, but the driving experience does not want to be really sporty. This is partly due to the subdued engine sound, which is not remotely reminiscent of that of the double cam engine. But the biggest spoiler is the curb weight of 1910 kilos. You notice this in a hilly landscape; uphill the bikes struggle with all those kilos. If the 15.5 kWh battery is empty, Mart Smeets would give the Tonale a red card, because then the petrol engine on its own would really lack power.
It detracts somewhat from the sporting image that the Italians still pride themselves on. Just like the light steering, which could have been a little more sensitive when steering. Even with the DNA knob in D (dynamic), the Tonale does not turn into a corner devourer. The standard adaptive dampers cannot turn the tide either. The disadvantage for sporty drivers is actually an advantage for drivers who attach more value to comfort; this does not go up in smoke even with the firm tuning in Dynamic mode.
Don't be alarmed: the Dutch price is 60,600 euros (Alfa Romeo Tonale Tributo Italiano Belgium price: 60,900 euros). This makes the Tributo Italiano almost 9,000 euros more expensive than the basic model, the Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Sprint. Then you get red brake calipers, dual-zone air conditioning, heated steering wheel, ventilated and heated front seats and a Harman Kardon audio system with fourteen speakers and a subwoofer. But still: for a not too spacious SUV from the C-segment, the plug-in Tonale is not a driving killer.
The Tributo Italiano is one of those versions where you don't decide rationally: you either fall for it or you don't and if you want it, you're happy to open your wallet. Improvements are possible in the sporting field and the price is daring. But every time you park the car, you will look back with satisfaction. Whether you buy a green, red or white one, with the Tonale Tributo Italiano you will soon have the most beautiful car in the entire parking lot.
This post was last modified on February 8, 2024 6:23 pm
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