We will have this week a workshop visit the Centro Stile of the FCA Group, where we will also be able to have an interview and talk with the designers who created the stunning Alfa Romeo Tonale and Fiat Centroventi. Both cars are very important harbingers of things to come, both for Alfa and Fiat.
The Tonale concept car is the Italian brand’s first plug-in hybrid compact SUV, and after its global debut in Geneva, it was first seen in Italy at the 58th edition of the “Salone del Mobile.Milano”.
The Tonale concept car embodies all Alfa Romeo’s trademark language of beauty: it is a compact UV for urban use with a sporty personal In keeping with the Alfa Romeo manifesto, every detail is designed around the driver, with driving pleasure delivered through ergonomics, use of premium materials and, above all, unrivalled dynamic handling. Furthermore, the Tonale concept car is the Alfa Romeo take on electrification.
The front end displays the trademark trefoil and the distinctive Alfa Romeo shield, which acts as a bold focus point. Completing the design of the front end and accompanying this iconic element are “3 plus 3” light clusters which in turn evoke the proud look of SZ and Brera.
The rear of Tonale is characterized by an enveloping rear window completed on the top by a suspended wing that exalts continuity with the clear sunroof. As for every Alfa Romeo, design is characterised by a distinctive touch. The rear light clusters are more like a graphic sign than an optical lighting element, a sort of signature created directly by the hand of an artist.
On the sides, the full and elegant volumes recall the Duetto or the Disco Volante Spider, while the “Linea GT” of Tonale reinterprets the pouncing stance and feeling of safety conveyed by the award-winning GT junior.
Several celebrated style elements are picked up in its design to become a tangible manifestation of the brand’s history in a performance which elicits a modern approach to new Alfa Romeo anatomy. The “teledial” wheel, for instance, is an element which hints to the traditional DNA of Alfa Romeo. The design of 21-inch rim of Tonale invokes the concept of a rotary telephone dial through a light architectural structure for a clear, high-impact interpretation of the circular theme. This style choice dates back to the 1960s, when it was sported by the iconic 33 Stradale.
The cockpit of Tonale is boldly designed around driver but also to accommodate passengers in comfort. The contrast of premium materials, such as cool solidity of aluminium that meets the warm softness of leather and Alcantara, enhance the emotions of both driver and passengers. Inside, there are translucent panels and a backlit central tunnel. The DNA mode selector, one of the key elements of Alfa Romeo, is perfectly at ease on the tunnel.
Comes the Concept Centoventi…
Fiat Concept Centoventi is fundamentally a “blank canvas” ready to be painted to suit the customer’s tastes and needs at any time of his life or day, without no customisation restrictions linked to the specific time of purchase. In fact, it will be produced in just one livery, which customers will be able to personalise using the “4U” program, with a choice of 4 roofs, 4 bumpers, 4 wheel covers and 4 external wrappings. So, just like modern devices, this vehicle can be updated with the greatest freedom and imagination in its colours, interior configuration, roof configuration, infotainment system and even battery range. And this is one of the concept car’s strong points: owners no longer have to wait for new special editions or facelifts, as they can “change” their cars any day they like. It is made even more revolutionary by the presence, at the launch, of 120 additional accessories that will generate a genuinely new business model, as well as a community of Fiat Concept Centoventi fans.
In other words, Fiat Concept Centoventi is the response to a real design and business challenge, which embodies the functional spirit of the brand and pays tribute to its 120 years of history, at the same time, with a modern take on some trademark style elements that hint to the Panda of the 1980s. Fiat Concept Centoventi is inspired by Italian design and embodies Fiat’s “less is more” concept, which means getting rid of everything unnecessary and complex in a car to provide more space for people (More You), for attention to the environment and the community (More Care) and for the brand’s DNA in terms of values and looks (More Fiat). By playing these three cards, Fiat Concept Centoventi revolutionises the idea of electric mobility, in town and out, successfully overcoming the tougher and tougher challenges – in terms of traffic, regulations and costs of ownership – while simultaneously making the most of the new opportunities offered by electricity.
Soon we will treat you in these columns with a fascinating tale about what we heard, saw and experienced at the Centro Stile in Turin… stay tuned!
Hans Knol ten Bensel