By on October 28, 2013

800px-Alfa_Romeo_8C_2300_Spider_Corsa_1932_red_vr_TCE

From remarks by Alfa Romeo executives it appears that the Fiat owned brand is going to distinguish itself from competitors by what it doesn’t plan to offer: advanced electronic aids that could possibly interfere with the emotional part of driving enjoyment. Maurizio Consalvo, in charge of product planning for Alfa Romeo was quoted in Autocar as saying, “Customers want a mechanical car with minimal electrical interference.”  In addition Alfa Romeo’s head of marketing, Alberto Cavaggioni, said that the brand’s commitment to drivers’ emotional connection to their cars means that it may not offer some advanced safety features like autonomous emergency braking. Cavaggioni said, “We can look at our cars from an emotional point of view or from a technical point of view. We give the Alfisti all that’s needed [in electronic aids], but not more. At Alfa we give the maximum fun to drivers. We don’t put safety into the discussion, apart from our NCAP scores.”

While other European manufacturers like Volvo, Mercedes and Volkswagen are developing and promoting electronic driving and safety aids that can control the car without driver input, Alfa wants to retain its reputation as a driver’s car. At the same time, due to economies of scale and common sourcing of components, the brand will likely offer at least some electronic features as blind-spot monitoring, rear parking sensors and the like that are offered by Fiat’s other brands including Chrysler.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

49 Comments on “Alfa Romeo: “Customers Want a Mechanical Car With Minimal Electrical Interference.”...”


  • avatar

    I just want something with reclining leather seats that goes really fast and gets really sh!tty gas mileage.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I like the idea and agree. Less is more.. I am not sure if this de-contenting disguised though.. I would say, yes, it probably is.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    Alfa might be able to pull this off so long as they don’t go chasing volume.

  • avatar
    EquipmentJunkie

    I’ll believe it when I see it, but I’m paying very close attention.

  • avatar
    doug-g

    Historically, little of the electrical stuff on an Italian car worked anyway so this should be an easy goal for Alfa Romeo to meet.

    • 0 avatar
      Waterview

      +1 You win COTD

      You also could have added that Alfa drivers like oil leaks and poor assembly quality as they seem to have mastered both of those “qualities” as well.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      That’s right, they’re just leaving things out which would normally break. Good for them, even if they disguise it as “less interference.”

      I accidentally burned up the apple pie; I’m eating healthier lately.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    This will happen when we get $1.00 gas again!

  • avatar
    Defender90

    It’s just encouraging that someone high up has actually said it out loud, maybe more people will be encouraged to speak out.
    Now if Land-Rover would say this re the next Defender, then I’d be ecstatic. (Fat chance of course).

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Hallelujah. This and Baruth’s article really struck a chord with me. When I consider what makes a car high quality, or luxurious, an infotainment package is not on the list. The drive train layout and configuration are important. As is the build quality, suspension configuration, material quality, and overall design. Elegance is in simplicity.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Kerosene-fueled headlights: $100
    All natural, full open skies, green-house-less air conditioning: $250
    Hand cranking your vehicle in the snow: priceless

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I was about to buy some kettle bell weights but I’ll just hold-off till I have to manually crank windows again. And the engine… just alternate arms.

  • avatar
    Nostrathomas

    So why the hell is there no Manual transmission in the 4C?

    Hello Mcfly!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      mike89

      Because they don’t have a manual that can handle the torque while being small enough to fit in the chassis. Plus, in Europe AT are considered by many a premium, reserved to high-end vehicles like Mercedes, while manuals are for the poverty-spec econoboxes. And last, a dual-clutch auto shift faster than you. Even Ferrari and Lamborghini don’t offer a manual anymore, because no one (among the people who can afford them) wants them.

      • 0 avatar
        Nostrathomas

        “they don’t have a manual that can handle the torque while being small enough to fit in the chassis”.

        Design/Engineering fail.

        “In Europe AT are considered by many a premium, reserved to high-end vehicles like Mercedes, while manuals are for the poverty-spec econoboxes.”

        But they just said they want to be about driving excitement, not luxury. An automatic transmission offers no emotion whatsoever.

        “a dual-clutch auto shift faster than you.”

        Who cares? I’m not Schumacher. I just want to have fun. 3 pedals = fun city.

        “Even Ferrari and Lamborghini don’t offer a manual anymore, because no one (among the people who can afford them) wants them.”

        Ferrari/Lambo cater to rich idiots who care more about how they look then what they drive (as is their prerogative). An Alfa should be a higher-end Miata..never the fastest, but almost always the most enjoyable.

        I have a Cayman in my garage, and my dad has an old Spider. Not that a Cayman is fast, but the Spider is slow as balls, but with the top down and some great roads, its twice as enjoyable as my car.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You’re so right.

        Manual = poverty
        Auto = high luxury

        There’s nothing in the middle. No middle class. No average buyers. Everyone in the EU is either dirt poor or ultra rich. Good job.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    A simple “OFF” button would be fine.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Aww, no faulty electronics? Will they at least give us the “Leaky Gaskets & Missing Bolts Package” standard, or will it be an option?

    Seriously, I understand Alfa Romeo trying to find a pretty unique market in which to situate itself, but this market seems like it’s too small to be worth it. Just ask Lotus…

    • 0 avatar
      3Deuce27

      Reg; ” unique market”

      The future has only two Auto/Transportation markets, Mass market vehicles built to the lowest price point, and Niche market vehicles.

      Advanced prototyping and manufacturing techniques will allow MFG’s to quickly change or put a new vehicle on the market without a lot of the current high front end development costs.

      Alfa knows its place and sees the future.

    • 0 avatar
      Acd

      The Leaky Gaskets & Missing Bolts Package will officially be listed as an option however all Alfas will be equipped with this package.

      Even the model year left-overs that will then be rebadged as a Special Edition (limited to the number of last years models sinking up to their axles at the port) consisting of cheesy badges, a tape stripe package of questionable taste and a dash plaque proclaiming its number which will then allow future owners to write fantastic Ebay ads describing how rare, special and desirable these limited editions are and how fortunate for you that one has become available.

  • avatar
    wei

    blind spot monitoring and rear parking sensors etc. really wouldn’t “detract from the driving experience”… .

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Well, a) enthusiasts like to be macho and proudly proclaim that they don’t need such aids, even as greenhouses shrink and blind spots grow…and b) European automakers like to charge you out the wazoo for these devices, so blind-spot monitoring and rear parking sensors would likely show up as an options package on a trim priced at $20K over the base trim…

      • 0 avatar
        Acd

        These will have to be ordered in order to get the upgraded sport seats or leather trim which also require premium sound and heated mirrors unless ordered with metallic paint and then that will require adding the moonroof.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      An annoying beep or flashing light every time something happens that any decent driver should already be aware of would certainly detract from the driving experience. But only if it couldn’t be easily disabled.

  • avatar
    E46M3_333

    I have to agree. Even ABS and air bags are worthless if you’re a good driver. I’ve always worn a seat belt, and in 35 years of driving I’ve had to brake hard enough to lock up the tires exactly once.
    .
    .

  • avatar
    djn

    Long time Alfa owner. Electronic gadgets not wanted. Maybe ABS is ok. AM radio all thats needed.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    Given all the equipment that is now mandatory, there isn’t much Alfa can get away with leaving out. Sooner or later some kind of backup sensor device will be mandated, so that leaves blind spot warning, active cruise, and nav.

    • 0 avatar
      LeMansteve

      +1

      “Customers Want a Mechanical Car With Minimal Electrical Interference”

      It’s all relative. Compared to a 1990s Alfa, today’s most basic Alfas are supercomputers. Probably what the quote means is, their customers don’t want electrical systems that don’t contribute to and/or interfere with the pure performance of the car. Examples given are blind spot monitoring and rear-view cameras.

      Also I suspect most customers will forget the numerous performance contributions made possible by way of “electronic interference”: fuel injection, electronic throttle with variable mapping (“sport button”), variable valve timing and lift, variable-length intake runners, magnetorheological dampers, etc, etc, etc. I am not familiar with Alfa models, but I wouldn’t be surprised if at least half of these features find their way into their performance models.

  • avatar
    Morea

    Consalvo is only saying what many Alfisti are asking for so give him credit for listening to his customers. Whether there are enough Alfisti worldwide to support the marque is an open question. They really only want one gadget-free sports sedan to make them happy, Alfa can fill out the rest of the line-up with gadget-filled cars for everyone else.

    @djn No radio needed, just listen to the engine. Also, ABS is suspect since you can’t modulate brake force near lock up without the stupid ABS nanny interfering. “Sorry, Dave, I am afraid I can’t let you late brake into that corner. It is for your own good.”

    • 0 avatar
      jpolicke

      If that’s what the Alfisti demand, then they need to stop waiting and find something old and used. No one can make a car meet 2013 emissions specs without electronics. The various regulators around the world are not going to grant Alfa a waiver from ABS, airbags, etc to make “purists” happy. At best you’ll get a switch to turn off the ESC.

      • 0 avatar
        Morea

        On second thought, in ten years all cars will be computer driven.

        It will be universally considered unsafe to drive your own car.

        Enjoy it now while you can boys!

        • 0 avatar
          Morea

          Here ya go:

          “Data Shows Google’s Robot Cars Are Smoother, Safer Drivers Than You or I

          Tests of Google’s autonomous vehicles in California and Nevada suggests they already outperform human drivers.”

          http://www.technologyreview.com/news/520746/data-shows-googles-robot-cars-are-smoother-safer-drivers-than-you-or-i/

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    “Alfa wants to retain its reputation as a driver’s car.”

    What reputation? For years now, they’ve had a reputation for making cars that don’t do anything very well besides look nice.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      They’ve been sinking into irrelevance since about 1998. They’re just a play thing for Fiat, who will eventually drop them, or make them a trim package of other Fiat sports models.

  • avatar
    walker42

    I love this! Go even more retro and give us some windows and pillars we can see out of.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India