Alfa Romeo officially unveiled its all-new 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale C-SUV earlier today, and the compact SUV shows great promise from the Italian marque. The brand calls the unveiling “La Metamorfosi” or metamorphosis of the brand’s direction with a new era of luxury, electrification, and connectivity while maintaining that signature Alfa Romeo race-inspired DNA.
The Alfa Romeo Design Studio at the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo has kept the production version of the Tonale close to what it showed in concept form at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. The newest Alfa is aimed at the young, urban, and dynamic customer base, while styling paying homage to historic Alfa Romeos of the past.
Being a C-SUV, the Tonale features compact proportions with a length of 178.3 inches (4.53 meters), a width of 72.4 inches (1.84 meters), and a height of 63 inches (1.6 meters), the Tonale places itself in one of the most competitive global segments. The design team used a number of classic designs of Alfas from the past, like the character line or “GT line” that runs from the rear to the headlights, recalling the forms of the 1960s Giulia GT Junior, and alternating with the full and elegant volumes reminiscent of iconic models, such as the 8C Competizione. The front features the inimitable “Trilobo” and the distinctive Alfa Romeo “Scudetto” shield, which acts as a center focal point.
The Tribolo-inspired “3+3” headlight design with a new, full LED evokes the proud look of the SZ Zagato or the Proteo Concept Car. Developed in conjunction with Marelli, the three modules make up a unique frontline for the car and simultaneously provide daylight, dynamic turn signals, and a “welcome and goodbye” feature (activated every time the driver turns the car on or off) to ensure the best lighting conditions. These technologies offer greater efficiency, in terms of durability and energy-saving with twice the light intensity of conventional halogen lamps, lower emissions, and improved safety, with less eye strain and better driving comfort.
The theme is carried to the back of the vehicle as well, as the taillights also feature a similar design cue. The taillights form a sine curve that fully wraps around the rear of the vehicle, creating a very unique and distinctive lighting signature.
Even the all-encompassing rear window, pays tribute to the 8C Competizione with a sensual yet dynamic design. It also uses the 8C Competizione influence in its wheel design, to reproduce the Alfa Romeo style canon of a telephone dial.
Inspired by Alfa Romeo race cars of the past, the interior is driver-focused with easy access to all controls for a safe, unparalleled driving experience. There is a number of technology features, ensuring that all of the vehicle’s occupants are connected and provided a comfortable and sporty experience.
To help with this connectivity is the use of the Uconnect 5 software. We have driven both the Giulia and the Stelvio from Alfa Romeo and their biggest downfall was their infotainment systems. The addition of the Uconnect 5 infotainment system, proves that Alfa Romeo is taking their new Tonale seriously. Delivering faster-operating speeds, new content, and improved customization. Uconnect 5 also offers new convenience and connected services, keeping customers engaged and informed while drivers keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road.
The Uconnect 5 software allows users to create an exclusive home screen with a familiar feel. Customers can personalize the Uconnect home screen with frequently used features for quick and easy access via one-touch operation, much like a smartphone. Or if the vehicle is equipped with the new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system, customers can monitor efficiency through a unique Hybrid Pages app on the center screen, all with one touch.
The new infotainment system also features several fully customizable interfaces, storing up to five different user-profiles and featuring preferences for music and vehicle operation. The system also connects features to a driver’s profile, such as temperature, seating position, and mirror placement. Switching between user profiles can be handled by a single touch.
Uconnect 5 also allows the Tonale to feature a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a 10.25-inch Uconnect infotainment touchscreen, giving the Tonale a total of 22.5-inches of display surface, a best-in-class attribute.
Uconnect 5 brings Amazon Alexa directly into the Alfa Romeo Tonale, giving occupants the freedom to interact with Alexa from home to car and car to home. Using natural speak, occupants can ask Alexa to play music, podcasts, and audiobooks; add items to their to-do list and check real-time information. Alexa’s responses use the vehicle’s audio system, allowing all passengers to interact.
Tonale’s interior also uses unique patterns, logos, and colors from other Alfa Romeo vehicles. Each interior is offered with a sporty and high-tech environment with a cool solidity of aluminum and the warmth and softness of leather and Alcantara suede reflect the personality of the targeted demographic that Alfa Romeo is looking at for this vehicle.
The Tonale will feature several different powertrain choices, depending on the global market it will be sold in. For Europe, Tonale will feature two levels of electrification – mild-hybrid (mHEV) and PHEV.
European Powertrains –
Those who select a front-wheel-drive (FWD), will get the new turbocharged 1.5-liter inline-four-cylinder gasoline mHEV engine first shown on the Jeep® Renegade and Compass e-Hybrid models a few weeks ago. The engine delivers 130 or 160 horsepower and 176 ft.-lbs. (240 Nm) of torque, mated to a new 7-speed 7HDT300 dual-clutch automatic transmission.
The new propulsion system includes a built-in 48-volt 15 kW (20 horsepower) electric motor delivering 41 ft.-lbs. (55 Nm) of torque – equalizing to 99 ft.-lbs. (135 Nm) of torque at gearbox input level – which can propel the wheels even when the internal combustion engine (ICE) is turned off. The new e-Hybrid models offer up to 15% lower consumption and CO2 emissions than the previous gasoline models.
The new turbocharged 1.5-liter engine has been designed to be the best fit for hybrid usage, to optimize thermodynamics, and therefore to save on fuel consumption. It operates on the Miller cycle which improves thermal efficiency and offers a high compression ratio (12.5:1), a new cylinder head with the compact combustion chamber, dual variable valve timing, and special ‘high-tumble’ intake ducts. Also new is the high-pressure direct injection system, operating at up to 350 bar. The gasoline engine delivers an output of 130 horsepower or 160 horsepower, while peak torque reaches 176 ft.-lbs. (240 Nm). A Belt-Starter Generator (BSG) is also installed in the gasoline engine, to guarantee fast and silent transitions when restarting.
Tonale can run in various driving scenarios using only the electric motor (and with the gasoline engine turned off). This is made possible courtesy of an array of electric operating modes known as “EV capabilities”, which include:
- e-Launch: starts the vehicle using only the electric motor, when starting up or restarting at traffic lights
- e-Creeping: the electric motor provides the start-up normally seen in automatic vehicles, at a speed that can vary from 0 km/h to the equivalent of the gasoline engine idling in first gear, or in reverse (for example when maneuvering)
- e-Queueing: the vehicle can keep going in a traffic jam, following a ‘stop & go’ pattern in full-electric mode
- e-Parking: simplifies parking maneuvers, which can be carried out using electric propulsion only, to ensure a practical and quiet experience.
EV capabilities are available depending on battery charge status and the power output required.
The Tonale’s Q4 PHEV powertrain integrates two electric motors and a 15.5-kWh battery pack (4.1-kWh bigger than the Jeep Renegade and Compass 4xe), with a fuel-efficient 1.3-liter turbocharged gasoline engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. This architecture provides two cars in one – a battery-electric vehicle featuring an electric motor and a high-voltage lithium-ion battery pack on the rear axle and a conventional vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE) fitted on the front axle, creating all-wheel-drive (AWD).
The Q4 system delivers a total output of 275 horsepower and makes the Q4 PHEV system the sportiest offering in its class-leading 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) acceleration in just 6.2 seconds. The Q4 PHEV system allows the Tonale to have an all-electric range of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) in the city cycle and 37.2 miles (60 kilometers) when city and highway are combined.
A full-battery charge for the Tonale Q4 takes 2.5 hours when using the 7.4-kW fast charger.
One last European offering is the new 1.6-liter inline-four-cylinder diesel engine that pairs a 6-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch automatic transmission. The combination is good for 130 horsepower and 236 ft.-lbs. (320 Nm) of torque and is only available on front-wheel-drive models.
North American Powertrains –
For the North American market, there will be two powertrains available. One of which is the same Q4 PHEV system from the European marketplace, however, it will only be available in its 180 horsepower configuration for North America.
The rear axle of the Tonale Q4 PHEV is powered by a 90-kW electric motor. The Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4 PHEV offers three options in delivering electrified power to the wheels, controlled by the DNA switch. Each mode also includes changes to the driving dynamics (steering, braking, and suspension). Regardless of the mode selected, the Tonale operates as an efficient hybrid once the battery nears its minimum state of charge.
The North American Tonale Q4 PHEV will have an all-electric range of more than 30 miles (48 kilometers) and 272 horsepower combined.
But the biggest news for North America is the addition of a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder from the Stellantis Global Medium Engine (GME) family. It is rated at a best-in-class standard horsepower of 256 and 295 lb.-ft. of torque. Equipped with a twin-scroll, low inertia turbocharger, direct fuel injection, and engine stop-start (ESS) technology, this engine gives Tonale the brand’s iconic dynamic performance and drivability.
The turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four-cylinder is mated to a ZF-sourced 9-speed automatic transmission and features standard Q4 AWD. This means that all Tonale’s sold in North America will have standard Q4 AWD when they arrive in dealer showrooms.
Technology is also at the forefront of safety and comfort: Level 2 autonomous driving, with new advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), acts in line with the Alfa Romeo philosophy. Here again, the software is at the center of the brand’s DNA, with the focus remaining on the driver. All the systems, therefore, work without ever interfering with the driver’s experience, where control and the emotions of driving remain intact. These include Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC), Lane Centering (LC), and Traffic Jam Assist (TJA), which automatically adjust speed and trajectory, keeping the car in the middle of the lane and at a distance from the vehicle in front, thus ensuring safety and comfort.
The Tonale is also equipped with other innovative devices and technologies that perfect the interaction between driver, vehicle, and road, including Automatic Emergency Braking, which alerts the driver of danger and engages the brakes to avoid or mitigate any collision with a pedestrian or cyclist; Driver Attention Assist, which warns the driver if they become drowsy; Blind Spot Detection, which detects rear blind spots and signals any approaching vehicles to avoid a collision; Rear Cross Path detection, which warns of vehicles approaching on the sides when reversing; and high-resolution 360° camera with a dynamic grid.
Driving Dynamics –
Tonale stands as a benchmark in the segment in terms of driving dynamics. It ensures sports car-like impeccable dynamic behavior, proven by the best weight distribution and the most direct steering in its segment (13.6:1 ratio), and the fact it is the only model in its class to be equipped with the Integrated Brake System (IBS) and available fixed aluminum shift paddles. The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with four pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and full discs at the rear, contributes to the improved braking performance. The Tonale opts for the fully independent MacPherson suspension system with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) shock absorbers.
The available Dual Stage Valve active suspension features electronically controlled damping. In short, sitting behind the wheel of the new Tonale equates to an engaging driving experience that becomes an invitation to travel.
The advancement of electric drive modes in Tonale is managed by the exclusive Alfa DNA system that delivers optimized maneuvering and performance.
Through the DNA selector, the driver is also able to select one of the two available pre-set damping curves. “Comfort” allows for a more compliant ride and is a softer suspension calibration for rough roads and is the default suspension setting in the Advanced Efficiency and Normal drive modes. “Sport” stiffens the ride for ultimate cornering ability and better body control under spirited driving conditions and is the default suspension setting in the Dynamic and ESC Off drive modes.
Trim Levels –
Although Alfa Romeo recently aligned all of its trims on the Giulia and Stelvio to sync with each other globally, the Tonale will feature a few different configurations for those in Europe and North America.
European customers will be able to choose from 2 different trim levels (Super and Ti). The entry-level Super trim, is far from being a base model. It can be customized with the “Sprint” Package, which includes numerous options with a strong sporty connotation. The upper-level Ti trim enhances Tonale’s qualities of elegance and distinctive character. The Ti trim can be equipped with the Veloce package, to help peak Tonale’s performance and sportiness attributes.
In North America, 3 different event trims are available. Instead of offering a package to enhance the Tonale, Alfa Romeo has gotten rid of the Super model from North America and starts the lineup with the well-equipped Sprint. It is followed by the Ti trim. Instead of offering a Veloce package on Ti, the Veloce is its own model, making it the top-trim on Tonale for North America.
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale will be built at the Giambattista Vico Stellantis plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, Naples, Italy. The plant is one of the company’s most advanced production sites and has recently been revamped to accommodate the new Tonale and its soon-to-be stablemate the Dodge Hornet. Since 1972, the facility has produced more than 5 million vehicles.
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale will begin arriving in showrooms throughout North America in the first quarter of 2023. Those living in Europe will be able to order an “Edizione Speciale” launch edition in April.
European-Spec 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale Veloce Image Gallery: