Alfa announces new Giulietta for Geneva

Alfa Romeo has released the first official pictures of the Giulietta, the replacement for the Golf-sized 147, which will be shown to the public for the first time at this week's Geneva Motor Show.

The new car's body is the work of Alfa's Centro Stile studio, although no single designer is named as having put his personal stamp on it. One unusual feature is that the new car is only available, initially at least, as a five-door hatchback, although in typical Alfa fashion, it actually looks like a three-door because the handles for the rear pair of doors are concealed in the trailing edges of the window frames.

Along with the larger 156 saloon introduced in 1997, the outgoing 147 helped Alfa Romeo rediscover something of its previous flair for design and detailing; these cars reflected the work of Alfa's former chief designers Walter de'Silva and Wolfgang Egger, both of whom are now at the Volkswagen Group.

This is the third Alfa to carry a Giulietta badge. The first, launched in 1954 was a family of elegant small cars incorporating saloon, coupé and convertible variants, while the second, introduced in 1978, was a mid-sized wedge-shaped saloon that borrowed its distinctive "transaxle" drivetrain, combining a front engine with a rear-mounted gearbox, from the larger Alfetta.