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New Alfa Romeo Milano tests its mettle ahead of April 2024 launch

Alfa’s new small SUV with come with petrol and fully-electric power

Alfa Romeo’s new Milano SUV will be revealed on 10 April in Milan, but before then we’ve spotted it testing on the public road for the first time, revealing a few key design details. The Milano is scheduled to arrive in UK dealerships in September and will be available as a fully-electric car - Alfa Romeo’s first full-EV.

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Rather than the upcoming ‘Smart Car’ platform from parent company Stellantis, the Alfa Romeo Milano will be based on the same e-CMP platform as the Jeep Avenger and Fiat 600e, so we can already speculate over the Milano’s technical details. Alfa claims the Milano will “offer best-in-class driving dynamics and handling”, with its development being handled by engineers who worked on the 4C and 8C sports cars, Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio, and the hardcore Giulia GTA saloon.

Alfa Romeo Milano: design

In terms of styling, we’ve already had a sneak peek at the undisguised car courtesy of some leaked pictures. What we can’t see on this camouflaged test car is Alfa’s iconic scudetto grille, but those leaked design images show it’ll get one - just not as big as the ones on the current Guilia, Stelvio or even the Tonale. We know it’ll gain a large lower grille and a new variation of Alfa Romeo’s phone-dial wheels, along with a hidden rear door handle in the C-pillar. 

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This is the first time we’ve seen the rear of the car in any form (aside from a tiny avatar in the leaked dashboard pictures), but what is immediately obvious is the dramatic rear window line sloping into a raised bootlid, almost giving a duck-tail look. There’s a roof spoiler too for a more sporty look and the Milano will get separate rear lights instead of a full-width light bar. This is also the mild-hybrid petrol version, with its twin-exit exhaust tips.

Alfa Romeo Milano: technical specifications

The new model will be built at the same factory in Poland as the Jeep Avenger, and will share that car’s batteries and motors. But Alfa boss Jean-Philippe Imparato has reiterated it will have a sharper focus on handling agility compared to its sister cars.

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It aims to achieve those sharp driving dynamics through “direct and extremely precise steering geometry, to guarantee quick cornering with a high level of grip.” The Milano is now in the final stages of development, undergoing further testing at Alfa Romeo’s historic proving ground in Balocco, Italy.

When asked directly how the Milano would feel different from the Avenger and 600e, Imparato replied: “The answer to that will come on the test track at Balocco. This car follows the platform strategy of the [Stellantis] group, of course. I’m glad for that, because it brings me profits. But always with a touch of Alfa Romeo. When [Stellantis group boss] Carlos Tavares asks me what I want Alfa to be a champion of, I always reply: ‘Handling.’”

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The Milano will be available globally as a pure EV, and a mild-hybrid petrol – the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder configuration as the 600 and Avenger. But Imparato said that as it stands, it is destined to come to the UK in electric form only – presumably because of our Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate’s requirement for a minimum percentage of each brand’s cars to be EVs.

“Since the beginning this car is full electric and hybrid for all the countries except the UK, where we will be only electric,” he said. “It’s a question of compliance in the United Kingdom; it’s what you want as a market.”

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This was also the original stated policy for the Avenger, however, Jeep has since launched petrol-powered versions of its baby SUV in the UK. Tellingly, Imparato added, “We are totally ready to feed the expectations of the UK with a hybrid version – no problem. I’m ready to switch, depending on the requests of the British market.”

Imparato also revealed that the EV will be launched with four-wheel drive only. This means that Alfa and Jeep now both plan to launch e-CMP-based vehicles with two driven axles (a new feature for the platform) within the next 12 months. Imparato described the launch spec of the Milano as “perfo”, for performance, and said the car would appear initially with Veloce and Special Edition trim levels.

Alfa Romeo Milano

Alfa Romeo Milano: pricing

Alfa’s boss declined to issue sales projections, or specify pricing, but he cited both the MINI Countryman and Volvo’s EX30 as potential rivals for the car. “This is the playground for Alfa Romeo,” he said, “in terms of pricing”. Given the four-wheel-drive launch powertrain, that would give the Milano a possible starting figure of just under £40,000 – a little higher than that of the Avenger.

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The Milano name was revealed in December 2023, and last used by Alfa Romeo on US-market versions of the 75 saloon back in the late eighties. Imparato said he was glad to end speculation suggesting the car would be called Brennero or even Junior. He believes the Milano will give Alfa renewed appeal with buyers of its recent lower-end models, such as the Mito and Giulietta.

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“Milano will be an answer to those people who have those cars,” Imparato told us. “We know that they have been expecting something from Alfa Romeo that fits their expectations for the next step. Alfa Romeo has always been about beauty for all, and this means that, at some point in time, you have to face the customer who wants a car that is premium but more accessible to them. This is the signal we want to send with Milano.”

Alfa Romeo Milano Quadrifoglio?

The Alfa boss also refused to rule out the possibility of a high-performance Quadrifoglio version of the Milano in the longer term. “We have a launch version of Milano,” he said, “and afterwards, based on customer feedback, based on what they are ready to pay, we will open the next step in Quadrifoglio compatibility of the car. We want first to test the acceptance and the level of target price and monthly instalments.”

Alfa currently has a plan to launch a new model every calendar year until 2026, meaning the Milano will be followed by two further vehicles, using Stellantis’s new STLA architecture.

At least one of these cars is expected to be a flagship SUV, but Imparato said, “I do not give up on the sedan [saloon] side, despite the fact that this segment is suffering. When you speak about electrification, you speak about aero, you speak about sedans. That’s a conviction for me; this silhouette will come back. I don’t want to become a purely SUV brand.”

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Senior news reporter

A keen petrol-head, Alastair Crooks has a degree in journalism and worked as a car salesman for a variety of manufacturers before joining Auto Express in Spring 2019 as a Content Editor. Now, as our senior news reporter, his daily duties involve tracking down the latest news and writing reviews.

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