Four-wheel drive and plug-in hybrid engine for the model at the top of the Alfa Romeo range. Plenty of comfort for a family car too, but with outstanding performance in Dynamic driving mode: prices starting at 51,600 euros

    Gianluigi Giannetti

    November 17th

    – Balocco (VC)

    It’s a transitional Alfa Romeo, but the journey is fun. It will immediately reduce the average CO2 emissions of a range by 40% destined to become fully electric by 2027, but it is already popular today for its comfort and driveability. Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 has a total power of 280 HP and is the only variant to have all-wheel drive, albeit electronic and without any mechanical connection between the front and rear axles. The rechargeable hybrid powertrain allows up to 80 km of zero-emission range, but also decisive pace. With a list price of 51,600 euros for the special version and 55,900 for the Veloce trim level, it literally sets Alfa Romeo’s transition into motion towards an electrified, yet fun, future.

    TONALE PLUG-IN HYBRID, as it is

    The CEO of Alfa Romeo, Jean-Philippe Imparato, was quite clear about the success of Tonale: “We expect 35,000 orders by the end of the year, with a portfolio that has reached six months”. Until now, the price list was supported by the Hybrid VGT versions with the 1.5-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol engine in the 130 and 160 HP petrol variants, together with the 130 HP 1.6-litre diesel variant. The leap needed was to put a more sharply electrified, as well as powerful, edition at the top of the range. Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4, with its 280 HP, arrives at the right time to deal with an inevitably German competition, but of an even higher level. The aesthetics remain identical, with 4,528 mm in length, 1,841 mm in width, 1,601 mm in height that outline the shapes of a modern C-SUV with a strong link to the Alfa Romeo design of all time.

    The element that really distinguishes it must be sought with some attention in the frame of the rear left window where the Alfa logo appears in its electrified variant with the traditional forked tongue replaced by the two pins of an electric plug. The battery charging flap is located on that side, while a similar one on the right side allows access to the fuel tank.

    The interiors are also unchanged, featuring the brand new integrated infotainment system and a total of 22.5″ high-resolution screens, i.e. the 10.25″ touchscreen in the center of the dashboard and the 12.3″ display behind the steering wheel which, also in this case, it uses the symbol of the electrified Biscione. It changes color according to the state of the electric motor, whether off, on or charging, and provides all the information relating to the power and recharging status. The general finish of the interior is good with the absolute peculiarity for Tonale of having an inverted quality of the plastics compared to the competition, ie greater in the coverings of the lower parts of the passenger compartment and perhaps more negligible in the dashboard, with the upper portion embossed and not of great impact. of front and rear passengers, the luggage compartment capacity has been reduced, going from 500 liters in the mild hybrid petrol versions to 380 litres, thanks to the positioning of the voluminous inverters right above the rear electric motor.

    TONALE PLUG-IN HYBRID, mechanics and powertrain

    As is known, Tonale does not share anything on a technical level with the range of C-segment SUVs branded Peugeot, Opel and Citroen. The Italian was developed on the platform Small Wide already used by Jeep Compass with MacPherson type suspension both at the front and at the rear and an enormous work of fine-tuning the geometry and calibration of the shock absorbers and steering. With models such as the Peugeot 3008 and the Opel Grandland, there is not even any kinship at the level of the rechargeable hybrid powertrain which is specific here and in common with the Jeep suppliers. The 15.5 kWh capacity batteries occupy the central portion of the floor, weigh around 120 kg and are made by the specialist Catl, the world’s leading manufacturer.

    The system uses a 1.3-litre 180 HP 4-cylinder turbo petrol engine coupled to a six-speed automatic gearbox made by the Japanese Aisin which transmits traction to the front wheels. The 122 HP peak power electric motor takes care of transferring movement to the rear wheels, thus creating four-wheel drive without any connection between the two axles. The E-Save function allows you to recharge or maintain the battery level when the internal combustion engine is on, while the Regenerative braking function allows you to recover energy during the deceleration or braking phases and store it in the battery pack. The range in electric mode communicated by Alfa Romeo is 80 km in the urban cycle, 69 km in the mixed cycle, while acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h takes place in 6.2 seconds, with a top speed of 206 km/h. h which, of course, is limited to 135 km/h in zero-emission gear. The current homologation of plug-in hybrid cars leads to declared CO2 emissions of 26 g/km with petrol consumption of 1.14 liters per 100 km.

    TONALE PLUG-IN HYBRID, what’s up

    Ease but not anger, Alfa Romeo but not Quadrifoglio. The Plug-in Hybrid Q4 280 HP version conquers the top of a range which, as the CEO of the brand Jean-Philippe Imparato reiterates, will not have an even more powerful edition, but will play well the high-level compromise card between comfort and performance, achieved here with the rechargeable hybrid. The package works without trying or finding flaws in a guide that is still easy and within everyone’s reach. The work done on the platform, already seen in Jeep, has led to more than valid adjustments in terms of stiffness and trim composure, but without excessive “bindings” transmitted into the passenger compartment. The steering remains as lightning-fast as on the other Tonales, different from any other competitor and even surprising in the round and rapid response that recalls the masterpiece created with Giulia and Stelvio. There is less mechanical mastery here, much more electronics.

    The Alfa DNA drive selector now also takes into account the Q4 traction, coordinates the action of the engines and gearbox, modifies the sensitivity of the suspension. In “Natural” mode there is the most favorable balance between the electric and internal combustion engines, automatically, with more comfort and an eye on consumption. The reactions are that of a fast family sedan. The Dual Stage Valve suspension is standard on the Veloce and has electronic shock absorbers with independent damping curves, in this case they ensure smoothness and isolation on less regular surfaces. With the DNA in “Dynamic” mode, however, what we expected arrives, with the steering at maximum response speed and the suspension that reduces body movements, therefore everything needed for more gratifying and efficient cornering behaviour. Shifting to manual mode takes advantage of the increased throttle response and allows you to hold the gear longer without interference.

    Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Q4 entertains, without anger but with great speed with the management of the four-wheel drive which becomes pleasantly more nervous and also brings the electric Torque Vectoring function, i.e. the increase in thrust applied to the external rear tire at the cornering by containing or completely eliminating understeer. The electric motor at the rear, in the strait, even gives some hint of oversteer. The soundproofing of the passenger compartment really gets into a crisis over 180 km/h, the too close position of the two levers of the auxiliary controls of the indicators and the windscreen wipers with the aluminum paddles of the gearbox, standard only on the Veloce, annoy in the most demanding passages , but Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 is not Stelvio. No excesses are needed. It is a well-built bridge to electrification. Which can also be traveled even quickly.

    Tonale Plug-in Hybrid, configurations and prices

    With the confirmation that we will not see a Tonale Quadrifoglio, the Plug-In Hybrid Q4 grabs the head of the range with two trim levels, Ti and Veloce. It will also be available in the Special Launch Edition, priced at 51,600 euros, which offers as standard inserts on the bodywork in titanium, a special badge on the mudguards and black “Tonale” badge, 20″ alloy wheels, metal pedals and Brembo brake calipers painted in red.The higher specification Veloce has a price of 55,900 euros.

    merits and defects

    Here’s what we liked and least of the latest addition to the Alfa Romeo family:

    Like it: The design is pleasant and maintains the Alfa image even in the details. The hybrid engine has a really funny face and combines quite well with the electronic management of driving dynamics, even with the Torque Vectoring function.

    Do not like: The interior is well done, but some elements are plastic with a simple look. The paddles on the steering wheel, standard only on the Veloce trim level, are too close to the secondary controls. Improved soundproofing at high speed.

    Data sheet

    Alfa Romeo Tonale Plug-in Hybrid Q4
    Dimensions (mm):
    length4,528
    length1,841
    height1.601
    step2,636
    suspensionsbefore and after McPherson
    curb weight1,835kg
    trunk capacity385l/1,430 max
    power train
    heat engine4-cylinder petrol turbo
    displacement1,332 cm3
    power180hp/132kW
    rear electric motor
    power122hp/90kW
    total hybrid system power280hp/206kW
    CO2 emissions26 g/km
    average consumption:1.14 l/100 Km
    range in electric mode82 km city / 69 km medium
    Performance
    acceleration 0-100km/h6.2 sec.
    full speed206 km/h
    electric top speed135 km/h
    Price
    Tonal Plug-in Hybrid Q4 Special51,600 euros
    Tonal Plug-in Hybrid Q4 Veloce55,900 euros



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