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By Craig Cheetham





There's a stunning new Italian supercar readying itself to wow the crowds at this year's Frankfurt Motor Show - and it's not a Ferrari or Lamborghini. These are the first exclusive pictures of Alfa Romeo's new rear-wheel-drive performance machine, the Evoluta - and the car will be ready to take on the likes of the Porsche 911 by 2006.

The striking coupé, designed in-house by the company's Centro Stile in Milan, Italy, is based on the Maserati GT Coupé platform and will be the first of a raft of Alfas that will switch from front to rear-wheel drive. Rear-drive platforms are also being developed for the 156, 166 and GTV, all of which will be in production within a decade.

The prototype - set to take centre stage at Frankfurt - marks a radical U-turn in the Italian company's thinking. The Evoluta name was revived from a sports car prototype developed three years ago by Alfa, but canned before being unveiled to the public following a change of management.
Now, though, new Alfa chief Daniele Bandiera is hoping the marque's thoroughbred heritage and sporty image will turn around its fortunes, which have declined over the past three years. By unveiling the Brera concept at the Geneva Motor Show in 2002, Alfa revealed its intentions to return to its sporting roots. The Evoluta will be more or less production-ready by the time it makes its public debut.

The car will feature traditional styling cues, such as Alfa's trademark shield grille and concealed door handles, but it will be similar in size, performance and price to Porsche's 911. And as with its German rival, the Italian giant will rely on the classic looks of its past models to add emotion to the car's design. The low, lean body echoes the look of the classic 1958 2600 coupé, with its distinctive side strakes and hunkered rear end, while the chopped off tail is similar to that of the exotic RZ Le Mans car.

Alfa says the Evoluta will be built in limited numbers, and production is likely to be franchised out to one of Italy's top design houses - with Pininfarina and ItalDesign billed as likely candidates. Only 1,000 cars will be made annually, and are likely to be left-hand drive, certainly for the first two years.

But before production can start, Alfa has to decide what will power the Evoluta. It's probable that the show car will have a 4.2-litre Maserati V8 under the bonnet, but production versions are likely to come with an all-new engine.

At the moment, the firm is deciding whether that will be a supercharged version of the 156 GTA's 3.2-litre V6, tuned to develop in excess of 400bhp, or an entirely new unit. Sources inside Alfa suggest the car will come with a new V8 - created by parent company Fiat through its collaboration with General Motors. The 4.0-litre alloy unit will also power several American GM cars, as well as flagship Vauxhalls and Opels - but will be tuned to punch out at least 450bhp if it goes into the Evoluta.

Two gearboxes will be offered - a six-speed manual or a Selespeed automatic, with steering wheel controls. Expect a price of around £65,000 when the Evoluta hits showrooms in 2006.

Meanwhile, Alfa is busy working on a number of other niche products, in-cluding a small SUV, based on the Kamal concept shown in Geneva this year. The GT Coupé will be in production by the end of the year, while four-wheel-drive powertrains are being developed for GTA versions of the 147 and 156.

The next-generation rear-drive platform, which will underpin the 157 and 167, will make its debut in an all-new executive car in three years' time.

Gabriel,
2001 CL Type S
2001 Lexus RX300 Silversport
 

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Great illustrations. Looks pretty sweet!

'03 AT Sedan | Brilliant Silver | Willow Leather | Sport | Premium | Aerokit w/Spoiler | Nav
 

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can't wait to see what this actually looks like without all the distortion. Seems like it will be cool.


2003 G35C | 5AT | DG + Willow Leather | Nav | Premium | Performance
 
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