What we see here are pictures of what could very well be one of the first examples of the all-new Alfa Romeo Tonale compact crossover. We can’t be absolutely sure, of course, because the automaker has refused all opportunities for comment.
This could be a very well crafted fake, but we think otherwise as it has all the trimmings and imperfections and compromises one would expect Alfa to make in order to translate the Tonale Concept into a production model. It’s even wearing a sedate dark silver paint job.
With Alfa Romeo looking to capitalise on its resurgent brand as much as possible, it only makes sense for the Italian marque to want to flood the market with as many options as possible to an attentive buying public, who’ve hopefully now realised how much they’ve needed a spicy Alfa in their life.
Unfortunately, with just 2 properly brand new models gracing their current line-up (the Giulia and Stelvio), that carpet bombing strategy isn’t really panning out yet. Better late than never, though, as that duo represent the most successful new models under their banner in a very long time.
Underpinned by a thoroughly modern Giorgio platform, they do behave and feel like real contenders in the premium compact saloon and SUV space while satisfying everyone’s inner enthusiast with its rear-drive layout.
However, to bolster their sales throughput, it’s clear that Alfa Romeo needs to cater to the most popular segment in the passenger car market: the small crossover. Though it took longer than expected to be shown, the Tonale first emerged in concept car form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show.
It certainly looked the part, easily besting its rivals for sheer sexiness, but there was precious little else that we could be certain about the Italian answer to the BMW X2 and Volvo XC40 other than that it needed to be rather good keep up with the competition.
To give it a fighting chance, the Tonale would need to depart from the Giorgio platform and be built upon a new front-drive architecture. One that would allow for more modularity and hybrid powertrains.
As we approach the final portion of 2019, it’s likely that Alfa Romeo could have either the Los Angeles Motor Show or the Tokyo Motor Show earmarked as venues for a full unveiling, followed closely by global launch rollout that will hopefully include Australia.
When Alfa Romeo does reveal specifications, we expect it to be powered primarily by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol, transversely mounted and driving the front wheels through a dual-clutch transmission. All-wheel drive will be standard on higher grades but otherwise optional.
It’s also possible that the company’s sparsely used 1.75-litre TBi will enjoy a second wind in the Tonale after first premiering in the mid-engine 4C. It certainly fits the requirements for packaging, lightness, and specific output, even being a promising candidate to be paired to a hybrid in either parallel or plug-in form.