Published on February 9th, 2022 | by Subhash Nair0
Alfa Romeo Tonale Debuts To Fill Italian Compact Crossover Void
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is not for the die-hard fans, but for a new crowd of buyers.
The realities of the market must finally be addressed and not just Fiat and Lamborghini, but other Italian carmakers are finally moving towards more SUV products. Ferrari are working on theirs, and Maserati has a baby SUV, the Grecale, in the pipeline. Now we have Alfa Romeo’s counterpart to the Grecale, called the Tonale.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is intended for the younger, urban customer who wants a taste of classic Alfa Romeo styling in a modern package. It features all the classic design cues of an Alfa – the 5-hole wheel rims, the telescopic instrument cluster, the 3-spoke sports steering wheel, the “Trilobo” and “Scudetto” shield as well as sine-curve headlights. All of this in an SUV shape that’s just 4.53m long, 1.84m wide and 1.6m tall.
What’s new to this Alfa Romeo’s styling is the 3+3 headlights. These, along with the Full-LED Adaptive Matrix headlamps were developed by Marelli and create dynamic turn signals and “Welcome and Goodbye” light effects. “Adaptive Driving Beam” and “Glare-Free High Beam Segmented Technology” are enabled by the technology in these headlamps. It also has cornering lights integrated. The 3+3 look is mirrored round the back with the same sine curve design to the graphic.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is the first electrified vehicle from the brand, however Alfa Romeo are only dipping their toes in the game for now with just a hybrid and plug-in hybrid version on offer. No full-electric model was announced at launch.
In Europe either of these models gets a 1.5-litre 4-cylinder petrol engine with a variable geometry turbocharger. This engine is paired to a 7-speed TCT dual-clutch transmission. A 48-volt “P2” electric motor with an output of 15 kW and 55Nm of torque allows the Tonale to be in motion even with the petrol engine turned off. Electric mode is enabled at low speeds and when cruising. The European market will also get a 1.6L turbodiesel option with a 6-speed dual clutch auto and front wheel drive. In the US market, two plug-in hybrid options will be available: a 1.3L turbo 4-cylinder with a 6-speed auto with a motor for the rear wheels or a 2.0L turbo with a 9-speed auto an all-wheel drive.
In an effort to push the boundaries of technology in cars, Alfa Romeo are using non-fungible token (NFT) technology to create an untamperable record of the car’s service history and vehicle date. This will theoretically help its value on the used market, but let’s see how it all plays out.
The Tonale also features built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistance, and Secure Delivery Services that lets you temporarily unlock the car remotely for couriers to leave packages inside it. The Tonale also integrates other Amazon features and Over-The-Air updates are enabled via 4G connectivity. Inside, the car has a 12.3″ digital screen for instrumentation and a 10.25″ display for infotainment.
Advanced Driver Assistance Systems like “Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control”, “Lane Centering”, “Traffic Jam Assist”, ” Autonomous Emergency Braking, “Drowsy Driver Detection”, “Blind Spot Detection” and “Rear Cross Path Detection” are all present. The Tonale also comes with 360-degree parking cameras.
Here’s the press release with more technical details about the new Alfa Romeo Tonale.
BEST-IN-CLASS DRIVING DYNAMICS COURTESY OF DEDICATED TECHNICAL SOLUTIONS
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), and the fact it is the only model in its class to be equipped with the Integrated Brake System (IBS) and to include fixed shift paddles made of aluminum. The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with 4 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. And to further enhance its exceptional road holding qualities, even on low-grip surfaces, the new Tonale offers two drive solutions: Q4 all-wheel drive in the Plug-in Hybrid e-Q4 version, and front-wheel drive in the Hybrid and diesel versions. The latter are also equipped with Alfa Romeo electronic self-locking differential. The specifications are completed with “Dual Stage Valve” active suspension with 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, never mind the destination.
NEW LINE-UP STRATEGY
Alfa Romeo Tonale introduces a new line-up strategy, making customer configuration even easier. Two trim levels are available – Super and Ti, both with clearly defined specifications that meet the needs of the most discerning customers. The Super trim, the gateway to the unique Alfa Romeo experience, can be customized with the Sprint pack, which includes numerous options with a strong sporty connotation. Alternatively, the Ti trim – which enhances the Tonale’s qualities of elegance and distinctive character – can be added to with the Veloce pack, to reach the peak in terms of performance and sportiness.
MADE IN ITALY AT POMIGLIANO, WITH ITS DEDICATED PRODUCTION LINE AND UNCOMPROMISING QUALITY
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is built at the refurbished “Giambattista Vico” Stellantis plant in Pomigliano d’Arco (Naples) – one of the Group’s most advanced production sites – on a revamped production line dedicated to the new Alfa Romeo model, with a specially created, ultra modern assembly unit. Designed in 1968 by Alfa Romeo and operational since 1972, the industrial complex has produced 5 million cars to date, and has won numerous international awards, including: in 2012, World Class Manufacturing (WCM) Silver certification and the Automotive Lean Production award for best plant in Europe, followed in 2013 by the WCM Gold Medal and the level of the same name. Last year, the plant underwent a major refurbishment to meet the challenges of the future, evidenced by the adoption of the most innovative technologies to build hybrid cars, by the staff training there, and by its respect for the environment.
DESIGN: TRUE TO THE CONCEPT CAR, ITALIAN AND UNMISTAKABLY ALFA ROMEO
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale is presented as a logical consequence of an the exploratory journey the first result of which was the concept car, followed by the mass-production model aimed at vindicating the intensive research and development into its style. The study, numerous historical references, inspirations and development of these important ingredients have enabled the Centro Stile Alfa Romeo to play a major role in the continuity of the concept car’s specifications. The upshot is a captivating car that combines Alfa Romeo stylistic features, reinterpreted in the name of modernity, with the characteristics of Italian design.
The sides are notable for their extended curve below the waistrail, named “GT Line” by Alfa Romeo designers, which runs from the rear to the headlights, giving definition to the car’s body and its “attitude” in profile. In the lower part of the sides, special modeling of the surfaces conveys sensuality and athleticism in the car’s body. All these characteristic elements are deeply rooted in the brand’s DNA, for example the “GT Line” and its clear evocation of the simple, iconic forms of the Giulia GT. In terms of the “modeling”, with its full volumes and sensuality, mention must be made of certain models that have become part of automotive history, such as the 8C Competizione and other brand icons. Cars seemingly far apart in their generation and type, yet these can be easily distinguished by viewing the Tonale from multiple perspectives.
On the front, the new “floating” shield stands out, no longer as part of the bumpers but as a distinctive element. The lower part includes two main side air intakes; together with the shield, they create what has been known for several generations as the “Trilobo”. In the upper part of the front, notable features include headlights that vindicate the concept of “3+3”, another result of the reworking of iconic models such as the SZ Zagato and the Proteo concept car. The 3D geometry of the lights can easily be interpreted as the direct outward extension of the shield. The same concept is emphasized by the sequence of the headlamps as a “welcome light” and when using the turn signals.
The light unit is once again the star in the rear. It reworks the proposal made in the concept car, in a kind of sine curve that passes from side to side of the rear and becomes the unequivocal “light signature” of the Tonale. Returning to certain volumetric elements, the shape of the rear window is worthy of note. Its roundness and now classic fold in the lower centerline characterize the car’s upper rear volume, in a sporty yet elegant way. There are also multiple references here: looking at the upper part – where the daylight opening (DLO), the edges of the side windows and the top of the rear window meet, immediately evoke iconic cars like the 8C Competizione. All this highlights the importance of cross-fertilization from other Alfa Romeo models of diverse segments and generations in the development of the Tonale. The same can be said of another hallmark of the new C-SUV: “teledial” alloy wheels, much appreciated on the concept car and now confirmed in the mass-production model. This is the reworking of the perforated “telephone dial” theme, the result of an evolution that began in the 1960s with iconic cars like the 33 Stradale. Specifically, over time the perforations have gradually been increased in size, first to adapt to technical solutions and concepts, then more and more closely related to needs for brake cooling, lightness and resistance. Such a beautiful outfit also needs great shoes, so the Tonale’s alloy wheels – available in 17″, 18″, 19″ and 20″ – enhance the model’s silhouette.
The Tonale’s interior design, which draws inspiration from Alfa Romeo’s racing history, evokes its passion, courtesy of its dynamic and powerful forms. The lines balance harmony and effort, and there is a tangible feeling that the entire vehicle is always ready to go.
Everything is focused and aimed at the driver, even though the interior is also designed for the comfort of their passengers. The sporty and high-tech environment – as seen in the cool solidity of aluminum and the warmth and softness of leather and Alcantara – also reflects the personality of a young, metropolitan and dynamic customer.
Among the most characteristic elements of the new model, the standouts are the “telescopic” instrument panel, with its clear Alfa Romeo stylistic matrix, and the compact steering wheel with a sporty shape, which ensures a precise and direct feeling from the steering. The wheel is also embellished by the exclusive aluminum shift paddles.
The central tunnel houses an essential Alfa Romeo feature: the new D.N.A. driving mode selector, and the “driver-oriented” dashboard is characterized by the air conditioning vents: the central ones are slim, with the external vents in the famous “turbine” shape. All this is embellished by the diamond texture theme – seen on the vents, central tunnel and handles, inspired by precision mechanical processing with laser engraving. The dashboard also includes an insert lit from behind with an ‘unexpected backlight’ effect: when the panel is off, a graphic appears, and when on, that graphic vanishes and a new background is shown, using the multicolored backlight. The same 3D features can be seen in the seat fabrics, from the basic versions all the way to the gradient effect with contrasting background color in Alcantara and vegan leather, on the highest-spec versions. The ergonomic seats are the perfect fit for everyday use, in a young and dynamic style resulting from the use of neoprene fabrics commonly seen in sportswear. The Tonale’s interior is therefore an extraordinary, inclusive experience, made possible by an immersive, welcoming passenger compartment with the dynamic features appreciated by fans of driving.
RECORD-BREAKING TECHNOLOGY: FOR ALFA ROMEO, SOFTWARE AND CONNECTIVITY ENHANCE THE DRIVING EXPERIENCE AND PROTECT RESIDUAL VALUE
In a world exclusive, Tonale debuts non-fungible token (NFT) technology, a true innovation in the automotive sector. Alfa Romeo is the first automaker to link a car with an NFT digital certificate. The technology is based on the “blockchain card” concept, a confidential and non-modifiable record of the main stages in the life of an individual vehicle. This distinctive off-board feature emphasizes the innovative nature of Alfa Romeo. Upon customer’s consent, the NFT will record vehicle data, generating a certificate that can be used as a guarantee of the car overall status, with a positive impact on its residual value. On the pre-owned car market, NFT certification represents an additional source of credibility for owners or dealers to count on. In the meantime, buyers will be reassured in their choice of a second-hand car.
Amazon Alexa, to always feel at home
The major new features in the Alfa Romeo Tonale include built-in Amazon Alexa voice assistant features, so you can always “feel at home” in your car, making the everyday experience even more straightforward and convenient.
Courtesy of the “Secure Delivery Service”, you can choose the Tonale as the place to deliver the packages you’re expecting, by unlocking the doors and letting the courier leave them inside the car, all completely safely. You can also receive constant updates on vehicle status from the comfort of your home, find out the level of charge and/or fuel, search for points of interest, find your car’s latest location, send remote locking and unlocking commands, and much more. “Alexa” can also be used to ask to add products to your shopping list, to search for a restaurant nearby or to adjust lights or heating connected to your home automation system, all while remaining focused on the road.
Large display and smooth, intuitive HMI interface
As standard, the Alfa Romeo Tonale comes with a new infotainment system consisting of two large displays – totaling 22.5″, a record in the segment – and a sophisticated, smooth and intuitive Human Machine Interface (HMI), to put all the features at your fingertips. With a customizable Android operating system and 4G connectivity with Over-the-Air (OTA) updates, the new infotainment system also offers content, functionality and services that are always kept up to date.
In the middle of the instrument panel, featuring the historical “telescopic” design, the standout is the new fully digital 12.3″ TFT screen, to access all the car’s data and the settings for the autonomous driving technologies. The cluster can also be reconfigured, using three layouts: Evolved, Relax and Heritage, the latter inspired by the brand’s iconic models.
Embedded in the dashboard is an innovative 10.25″ touchscreen inspired by the latest smartphones, to satisfy the tastes and needs of any customer. The system has been developed to work with widgets, graphic components designed for intuitive interaction with all the features, which can be customized via quick and easy drag and drop. Every user can create their own homepage, where each of the car’s features is an app in itself. With a simple horizontal scroll, the screens for Alfa D.N.A., radio, media, phone, satnav, aircon, connected services and ADAS can be arranged the way you want. It is up to the driver whether to use the rotary knob or touchscreen.
Alfa Connect Services
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is equipped with “Alfa Connect Services”, the tool that offers advanced on-board connectivity and a range of services for your safety and comfort. First and foremost among these, “My Navigation”, consisting of apps to remotely search for destinations and Points of Interest (PoI). Also included in the pack are the Send & Go function, whereby customers can send a destination directly from their smartphone. “My Remote” includes various services such as: remote control of the car’s functions (opening/closing doors or flashing the lights) via smartphone or smartwatch; vehicle location; control of certain parameters (speed and area) and notifications if these are not respected. The “My Wi-Fi” service provides the option to share the internet connection between multiple devices on board, up to a maximum of 8 of them. Using “Alfa Connect Services”, drivers can also access “My Assistant”: in the event of a collision or emergency, the occupant can contact the dedicated (24/7) call center for help. In an accident, the call is made automatically to the national assistance phone number, or if the vehicle breaks down, the driver can call for roadside assistance, with the vehicle providing its coordinates so the rescue can take place. The pack also includes a reporting service, to send information to Alfa Romeo on the health of their car, in a monthly email. With “My Car”, you can keep the car’s condition and parameters under control using the App ” My Alfa Connect”; “My Alert”, to alert the owner if theft is attempted; and “My Fleet Manager”, designed for fleet management.
Sporty cockpit, “tailor-made” for the driver
All you need to do is get on board to realize that the new model is focused on the driver, with their emotions and desire for an exhilarating driving experience. The proof lies in the driver’s seat that has been “tailored” like fabric, with the diagonal tunnel, slightly undulating dashboards and instruments facing the driver. All the controls are at your fingertips and are easily accessible, both the physical ones and the digital controls, accessed from the central display. As such, customers can enjoy an engaging driving experience free of distractions, where passion and safety coexist. This is also evidenced by the “Wireless Mirroring” function for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as standard on the Tonale.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY AT THE SERVICE OF TOP SAFETY AND COMFORT
The Tonale is equipped with new Alfa Romeo Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for Level 2 autonomous driving, for automatic handling of acceleration, braking and remaining within lane while maintaining maximum driving safety and leaving the pleasure of sitting at the wheel intact.
In detail, the Alfa Romeo Tonale enables Level 2 autonomous driving by combining the forward-facing camera, which longitudinally and laterally monitors all the car’s surroundings, and the “Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control” (IACC) and “Lane Centering” (LC) systems. Specifically, the IACC system makes use of “Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control”, which automatically adjusts the car’s speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front, and the “Traffic Sign Recognition” and “Intelligent Speed Control” systems. The former uses the on-board camera to recognize traffic signs, reports them on the display, and alerts the driver of the current speed limit. The latter suggests the driver reduce their speed to the limit detected. If the driver accepts, the cruise control settings are automatically adjusted. Conversely, the LC system controls the sideways movement of the car to keep the vehicle in the center of the lane, even in heavy traffic conditions.
Innovative systems at the service of safety
The new Alfa Romeo Tonale comes with active and passive safety features, suitable for everyday driving needs. As well as front, side and curtain airbags, innovative devices and technologies that perfect the interaction between the driver, the vehicle and the road come as standard across the range. Examples include “Autonomous Emergency Braking with Vulnerable Road Users”, to alert the driver of danger and bring the vehicle to a complete stop to avoid or mitigate a collision with and recognize the presence of a pedestrian or cyclist; and “Drowsy Driver Detection”, which checks the vehicle’s movements to detect any driver fatigue. Once a certain threshold has been exceeded, the system emits beeps and/or visual warnings, recommending the driver stop for a break. The Tonale’s features are enhanced by “Rear Seat Reminder Alert”, to detect an item placed on the rear seat through the tailgate. When the car is turned off, the device alerts and reminds the driver that the item is there. On demand: “Blind Spot Detection”, which monitors rear blind spots and reports any approaching vehicles; “Rear Cross Path Detection”, for notifications of vehicles approaching on the sides when reversing; and “360° View Camera”, offering an all-round view of the car’s surroundings on the 10.25″ digital touchscreen with dynamic grid. With four high-definition cameras positioned on the front grille, rearview mirrors and tailgate.
Comfort and well-being on board, to be shared
The Alfa Romeo Tonale brings the secrets of Italian hospitality to the world of premium C-SUVs: exclusivity, good taste and elegance coexist in its interior. While the passenger compartment offers the right space for passengers, the front ensures a complete feeling of control and domination of the road, made possible most of all by the high driving position that does not detract from the driving pleasure typical of a sporty Alfa Romeo car. It also guarantees well-being for everyone on board, with its dual-zone air conditioning, sophisticated infotainment system, ventilated and heated front seats, pleasant ambient light, and a 14-speaker sound system by Harman Kardon. The Alfa Romeo Tonale is one of the few models in its class to offer the “Semi-Automatic Parking” system, which indicates the space available to park in and completes the car’s entry and exit maneuvers itself. Again in the name of maximum comfort, the new model includes an electric tailgate and a wireless charging pad – in front of the gear stick, to place and charge your smartphone in total safety and comfort. In short, the Tonale is aimed at fans of the tangible pleasure of Italian conviviality, comfort and taste.
The advancement of driving modes, managed in the Alfa D.N.A. system
From its debuts in the Giulietta, Mito and 4C, via its development in the Giulia and Stelvio, we now come to the Tonale. This is the advancement of the Alfa D.N.A. driving mode selector, with specific functions related to the electric powertrain. In the Tonale, “Dynamic” mode is designed with a specific calibration of the accelerator pedal, ensuring more effective braking and more direct steering wheel response. “Natural” mode continues to maintain the best performance optimization and automatically manages the compromise between the use of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine. In everyday use, energy savings and consumption are not therefore at the expense of performance. “Advance Efficiency” mode is calibrated for maximum energy efficiency in the Hybrid version, while AE mode in the PHEV configuration runs the model in full-electric.
STATE-OF-THE-ART ELECTRIFICATION, WITH SOLUTIONS DESIGNED TO ENHANCE THE BRAND’S DNA
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is fitted with a range of efficient hybrid engines that highlight the brand’s concrete commitment to a future oriented toward sustainable mobility. This is a natural stage in the brand’s journey toward a propulsive synergy that can enhance performance and driving dynamics, with full respect for the environment. After all, with the Tonale the brand has not simply adapted to the new standards; it has reinterpreted its DNA in the direction of energy, harmony with the environment, efficiency and intuitiveness when managing driving modes. In fact, this new technology means the new Alfa Romeo model can ensure an authentic “hybrid experience”. Two levels of electrification are available – Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, marking Alfa Romeo’s first step in the process to electrifying the line-up.
The 160-hp Hybrid VGT (Variable-Geometry Turbo) engine makes its exclusive debut in the Tonale. This version is equipped with front-wheel drive and a new hybrid technology. Its variable-geometry turbocharger paired with 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch transmission and the 48-volt 15-kW, 55-Nm “P2” electric motor makes it possible for the 1.5-liter gasoline engine to propel the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is turned off. Alfa Romeo has opted for this technical solution to offer an authentic electrified experience. The transmission enables startup and travel in electric mode at low speeds and when parking and cruising, ensuring the typical performance of a gasoline engine but with consumption (gas + electric) comparable to a diesel engine’s, with an extremely linear power delivery and really consistent acceleration.
The entry point to the Tonale world is the 130-hp Hybrid version, the new 4-cylinder 1.5-liter turbo gasoline engine with 130 hp of output and 240 Nm of peak torque, paired with the exclusive 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and built-in 48-volt 15-kW and 55-Nm “P2” electric motor.
Top performance is guaranteed by the exclusive 275-hp Plug-in Hybrid Q4, the most powerful version in the line-up in terms of performance and level of electrification. The advanced hybrid system combines the 1.3-liter MultiAir turbo gasoline engine from the Global Small Engine family – to provide traction to the front wheels – with the electric motor, to which the rear wheels are connected. The system has a 15.5-kWh battery and delivers a total output of 275 hp. This makes it the sportiest offering in its class, with 0-100 km/h acceleration in just 6.2 seconds. The Plug-in Hybrid version is equipped with Q4 all-wheel drive – that is, front-wheel drive using the internal combustion engine with the rear-wheel drive provided by the electric motor – for an unparalleled level of safety and driving pleasure. The Tonale Q4 is also the most efficient Plug-in Hybrid C-SUV, with range in electric mode of up to 80 km in the city cycle and over 60 km in the combined cycle. Again in the name of maximum efficiency, a full battery charge takes 2.5 hours when using the 7.4-kW fast charger.
All the specifications of the Hybrid versions
The new 4-cylinder turbocharged engine has been designed to be the best fit for hybrid usage, to optimize thermodynamics, and therefore to save on fuel consumption. Its specifications include the fact it operates on the Miller cycle; it has a high compression ratio (12.5:1); a new cylinder head with compact combustion chamber; dual variable valve timing; and special ‘high-tumble’ intake ducts. It also features the all-new high-pressure direct injection system, operating at up to 350 bar.
Designed exclusively for Alfa Romeo, the 160-hp version adds a new variable-geometry turbocharger, capable of combining great responsiveness at lower speeds and high power for a sportier drive, all while maintaining a high level of efficiency. The input powertrain delivers an output of 130 hp and peak torque reaches 240 Nm.
A belt starter generator is also installed in both engines, to guarantee fast and silent transitions when restarting. The Intelligent Brake System optimizes the ‘auto-charge’ feature; it uses mixed regenerative braking to maximize the recovery of kinetic energy during deceleration, to improve efficiency.
This new hybrid technology means Alfa Romeo Tonale can provide customers with an authentic ‘hybrid experience’ in the name of top performance and high efficiency. All this, thanks to the pairing of the new 1.5-liter gasoline engine and electric motor, also providing an extra boost to optimize responsiveness. The driving experience also becomes genuinely versatile and relaxing, given the various features available, including:
- “Silent Start”, to start up the vehicle with no need to turn on the gasoline engine, using EV mode only
- “Energy Recovery”, to recover energy that would otherwise be wasted as the car decelerates (e-Coasting) and during braking (Regenerative Braking)
- Boost & Load Point Shift, “e-Boosting” allows increased torque on the wheels thanks to the electric motor that supports the gasoline engine; moreover, by calibrating the (engine or braking) torque delivered by the electric motor, it is possible to optimize the operating point of the gasoline engine
- Electric Drive, enabling the vehicle to travel using only the electric motor, with the gasoline engine turned off.
The new Tonale can run in various driving scenarios using only the electric motor (therefore with the gasoline engine turned off). This is made possible by the wide range of EV capabilities, which include:
- e-Creeping uses the electric motor to provide the start-up normally available in vehicles with automatic transmission, at a speed that can vary from 0 km/h to the equivalent of the gasoline engine idling in first gear, or in reverse
- e-Launch, to start the vehicle using only the electric motor
- e-Queueing, for the car to keep going in a traffic jam, in a “stop & go” pattern
- e-Parking, to simplify parking maneuvers, making them practical and quiet.
EV capabilities are available depending on battery charge status and the output required.
BEST-IN-CLASS DRIVING DYNAMICS AN AUTHENTIC ALFA ROMEO
One of the primary objectives behind the design of the Alfa Romeo Tonale was to achieve maximum driving pleasure. One element that contributed to this goal was the perfect weight distribution between the two axles – specific to the Alfa Romeo tradition of construction. This required special management of mass and materials, which was done both by working on the car’s layout and by placing all the heavier components as centrally as possible. Specifically, the Tonale versions equipped with front-wheel drive use the excellent balance of masses to optimize torque delivery on the ground and handling on corners; the latter is further emphasized in the Q4 all-wheel drive version by the torque available on the ground for each axle.
The most direct steering in the segment and exclusive aluminum shift paddles
In any situation and at any speed, driving the Tonale C-SUV is always natural and instinctive, partly down to the most direct steering ratio in the segment (13.6). The steering feeling – as precise and direct as can be expected from an Alfa Romeo – is emphasized by the adoption of the geometry in the independent front suspension. Rebound is reduced in the most genuine way, limiting the application of software filtering and optimizing control of front wheel steering. The sportiness is further enhanced by the aluminum shift paddles: a hallmark of the brand and a one-off in this class.
Integrated Brake System (IBS)
Unique in its class, the new Alfa Romeo Tonale adopts the Integrated Brake System (IBS), an innovative electromechanical system that combines stability control with conventional servo brakes. The integration between electronics and mechanics, significant weight optimization, optimal feeling and the total absence of pedal vibrations guarantee the system an instantaneous brake response. The adoption of fixed calipers by Brembo, with 4 pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and full discs at the rear, contributes to the improved braking performance.
“Dual Stage Valve” electronic suspension
The “Dual Stage Valve” electronic suspension provides a choice between performance and comfort. Developed in conjunction with Marelli – a historical technology partner of Alfa Romeo, the electronic shock absorbers feature a special electroactuated valve within the shock absorber that provides independent damping curves. Two modes are available, Comfort and Sport. The former is the preset calibration in the D.N.A. Advanced Efficiency and Normal selections, to ensure the smoothest performance on uneven roads. Conversely, Sport mode predominates in the D.N.A. Dynamic and ESC Off selections, which reduces body movements and increases vertical rigidity, aimed at improved vehicle dynamics on corners. Finally, by pressing the dedicated button on the DNA selector, the calibration of Dynamic mode can be activated or deactivated.
Alfa Romeo electronic self-locking differential
On the Hybrid (130 hp and 160 hp) and 130-hp diesel versions, all with front-wheel drive, the Alfa Romeo electronic self-locking differential comes as standard, to guarantee perfect traction for a smooth driving experience, emphasizing the agility and sporty character of this car, with a further positive impact in terms of safety. Built into the DNA selector, the system exploits the effect of the braking system by simulating a limited mechanical differential. Specifically, combined with the MacPherson front suspension, it ensures sporty and effective driving dynamics by controlling the vehicle stability, and by redirecting the power to the wheels when accelerating on corners. The system also provides improved greater control on slippery surfaces, as well as greatly reducing understeer, transferring torque from the inner to the outer wheel, so as to ensure longitudinal acceleration and consequently better road holding.
Alfa Romeo Q4 hybrid all-wheel drive
The Plug-in Hybrid Q4 version of the Tonale is equipped with Alfa Romeo Q4 hybrid all-wheel drive, to ensure ideal traction for safe travel on snow and ice. The combination of an internal combustion engine and an electric motor – on which Q4 traction is based – provides higher torque than a car with a conventional combustion engine. It also offers the option of high-precision adjustments at both startup and in four-wheel drive mode on more demanding terrain, when a lower transmission ratio is required. Therefore, when road surface conditions turn wet, slippery or icy and more traction is needed, the Plug-in Hybrid Q4 version of the Tonale becomes an authentic 4×4, with all the safety advantages that go with it. In detail, the system automatically activates the internal combustion engine on the front axle, which starts to drive the front wheels. At the same time, the electric motor in the rear starts up, delivering up to 275 hp of peak power for a high-performance, fun and safe drive.
Independent MacPherson suspension with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology
The suspension scheme, suitably customized for Alfa Romeo’s DNA, provides for a MacPherson-type architecture. Specifically, the geometry on the front axle is optimized for rapid and precise changes of direction, emphasizing the steering feeling typical of Alfa Romeo. This reduces steering distortion, limiting the application of software filtering and optimizing control of front wheel steering. In the rear, the exclusive three-arm geometry ensures rapid response when engaging and the highest level of lateral acceleration on corners. Last but not least, the Tonale’s suspension uses Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology – developed in collaboration with Koni, a historical technology partner of Alfa Romeo – to improve performance by ensuring perfect road holding and simultaneously improving comfort in all driving conditions.