compact controversy – launch of the Alfa Romeo Junior

The Alfa Romeo Milano Alfa Romeo Junior is the Giulietta and Mito hot hatchbacks’ successor.


Update 16 April 2024: You just gotta love the Italians. After having been launched as the Alfa Romeo Milano, an Italian government official declared that the use of the name ‘Milano’ is banned by law. So folks, here we have the Alfa Romeo Junior. Compact controversy indeed!

Sean and I were having a chat about Alfa Romeo the other day. I mentioned that if it was not for the fact that sedans and hatchbacks don’t sell as well today, Alfa Romeo would build a hot-hatch successor to the Giulietta if they had their own way.

Giulietta Veloce

Barely a day later, this news drops. Sporty at heart, compact in size and Italian style at first sight, the Alfa Romeo Milano Alfa Romeo Junior was presented to international press in Milan at the historic headquarters of the Automobile Club Milano where Alfa Romeo was founded in 1910.

Boy, does the Milano Junior court controversy. I’ve read stories in other publications worldwide to this effect. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so we invite you to draw your own conclusions. As for me, I LOVE it!

The name ‘Junior’ comes from Alfa Romeo’s past. On September 26, 1966, the GT 1300 Junior was unveiled in Balocco to appeal to a younger and newer audience of buyers.

Despite the lack of the name “Giulia,” it was the leader of a new Alfa Romeo generation. Indeed, similar versions of the Spider range would also be identified with the Junior.

With sales of over 92,000 units, the GT 1300 Junior soon became the overall best seller in the line-up, and a true status symbol of its time.

bold exterior

The Milano’s Junior’s design is quintessentially Alfa Romeo; aimed at those looking for a car not only to be a ‘means of transport,’ but rather for symbiosis, a bond that can bring out ‘authentic emotions.’

The new Milano Junior, with its compact dimensions (length of 4.17 meters, width of 1.78 metres and height of 1.5 metres), encompasses the uniqueness of the Alfa Romeo Centro Stile‘s original and modern Made in Italy design.

Typical of the brand expressed in the balance of proportions and purity of lines.

Alfa Romeo’s stylists have modelled this ‘skin’ with artisanal care to breathe life into a sinuous and exciting design that catches the eye at first sight.

This creates a genuine emotional connection between the driver and the car, even going as far as resulting in a strong desire to caress it. Trust me folks, this describes me to a tee.

The proportions are set out with stylistic features relating to tradition, such as the limited overhangs, the muscular wheel arches, and the iconic ‘truncated tail,’ a reference to the legendary Giulia TZ.

One unique new feature is the new shield in the Leggenda and Progresso variants. Perhaps the most famous and recognizable signature in the automotive world. This is banked by ‘3+3’ and adaptive Full LED Matrix headlights.

elegant cabin

The same inspiration of sportiness can be found inside the car, with the generous use of premium materials. Most of all, the instrument panel brings back the historical ‘telescope’ design, persuading you to wrap your hands around the steering wheel, start the engine, and make the best of a unique driving experience.

The middle of the cluster features a fully digital 10.25-inch TFT screen, to access the car’s data and the settings for the driving technologies.

Oriented towards the driver, a 10.25-inch touchscreen system comes with intuitive widgets that can be customised via drag and drop. Every user can create their own unique homepage, where each of the car’s features is a widget in itself.

To further embellish the interior, the air conditioning vents are shaped in a quadrifoglio or four-leaf clover, the symbol par excellence of Alfa Romeo sportiness.

Finally, Sabelt sports seats feature an enveloping backrest that combines ergonomics and structural lightness.

Despite its compact size, the Milano Junior boasts the largest boot in its battery-electric vehicle (BEV) class with a load capacity of up to 400 litres.

The Milano Junior also comes with features such as the “Alfa Romeo cable organiser” storage compartment located under the bonnet, a handy place to store the charging cable. For easy access, proximity access enables owners to unlock and lock your car quickly and easily without human intervention.

driving passion

The team that coordinated the development of the Milano’s Junior’s driving dynamics is the same one that developed the Giulia GTA at the Balocco testing centre in Vercelli province, with the clear aim of the new Milano Junior achieving best-in-class driving characteristics.

The car touts the most direct steering in the segment with a 14.6:1 steering rack, specially calibrated to be extremely precise. In the VELOCE variant, the sports suspension has been lowered by 25mm, and the front and rear anti-roll bars are extra sporty to guarantee high levels of corner grip.

Front brakes are over 380mm with four-piston monobloc callipers, and a Torsen limited-slip differential is included as standard. The high-performance 20-inch tyres are also specific to electric vehicles.

The Milano Junior will also include the Alfa D.N.A. system – Dynamic, Natural, and Advanced Efficiency. On the Q4 hybrid version, a rumoured fourth mode known as Q4 will be available for low-grip conditions.

All this forms the basis of a compact car with pure, recognisable Alfa Romeo sportiness.

The Alfa Romeo Milano Alfa Romeo Junior is equipped with “Alfa Connect Services,” a tool that offers onboard connectivity and a range of services such as “My Navigation,” enabling drivers to search for destinations and points of interest, as well as real-time alerts on traffic, weather and speedcams. Thanks to over-the-air (OTA) technology, the car’s maps and software are always kept up to date.

Via the My Alfa Connect smartphone app, customers can also interact with the car using “My Remote,” with various services such as remote control of the car’s functions and notifications if these are not respected. E-Control also offers the option to remotely manage start-up and stopping, to schedule charging, or if necessary, to heat or cool the interior before getting into the vehicle.

Another innovation is the integration of the Hey Alfa virtual assistant and ChatGPT (A.I.) which use voice recognition to give you a useful, discreet ‘copilot’ on your travels, for information, and advice and to meet all the driver’s needs.

In the EV ELETTRICA variant, Alfa Romeo has opted for a “Hybrid Synchronous Motor”. Available in two power versions, 156hp or 240hp, output should be sufficient for an engaging and sporty drive. The 54-kWh battery is quoted to offer “a very good ratio of rated to usable energy”.

Specifically, in the 156hp version, you get up to 410 km of range (WLTP), or 590 km (Urban). At 100-kW DC fast charging stations, it takes less than 30 minutes to charge the batteries from 10 to 80%.

Next up, the hybrid IBRIDA variant adopts a 136hp 48V variable-geometry turbo (VGT) architecture alongside a 1.2-litre 3-cylinder engine. The battery and a 21-kW electric motor are built into the 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox, to ensure efficiency. Power will be sent to either front-wheel or Q4 all-wheel drive. The engine can even shut off, giving you electric drive up to 150 km/h.

The top-of-the-range launch version, dubbed SPECIALE will be available with both IBRIDA and ELETTRICA (156hp) powertrains.

Spring for the SPECIALE, and you get the “Progresso” badge, matte sports finishes in Brera red, and 18-inch ‘Petali’ alloy wheels. The interior comes with exclusive features such as a ‘Spiga’ vinyl and fabric interior, a leather steering wheel, and an electric driver’s seat with massage functionality.

Controversial? Sure.

Still an Alfa Romeo? Let us drive it first.

Photo Credits: Alfa Romeo


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vivek max r.

Vivek is an automotive enthusiast, future-tech explorer and has just started getting into bikes. He believes that because science is always evolving and never settled, we should never stop looking for better ways to be more sustainable and eco-friendly.

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