The MiTo MY 2011 gets a new exterior colour, the metal-flake (aluminium and mica together) "Bronzo Metal" (bronze metal) with a shade and red hues, and two-tone interiors accomplished with new upholstery for the dashboard insert and door panels.

Nothing quite sums up the decline of Alfa Romeo over the last couple of years than the announcement of its Geneva presentation: no new models, a shrunken stand, just a quartet of cars, and not even space for one of its plethora of historic legends.

Since last year's edition of the Geneva Motor Show the 147, 159, 159 Sportwagon, Brera, GT Coupé, Spider and 8C Spider have all faded away, with just one model - albeit one that has been an instant hit - the new Giulietta, arriving to plug the gaps. Last year on the occasion of its centenary Alfa Romeo showed off its first-ever car, the majestic A.L.F.A. 24 HP, in Geneva, while the year before the dazzling MiTo GTA concept, which vanished along with so many other recent dreams from the brand, was shown sitting alongside one of the aggressive Giulia GTAs that swept all before them on race tracks more than four decades ago.

There is no mention in the press preview published today of Alfa Romeo's new 1.8 TB-powered KTM-based concept sports car which had been provisionally pencilled in for a Geneva debut, but with insiders constantly saying it was by no means certain it would appear. Barring an opening day last-minute surprise, visitors will be left with just the TCT transmission arriving in the Giulietta and a new paint finish and trim option for the MiTo.

The concept of the scaled back Alfa Romeo stand at the Palexpo will in fact be the overlap of design and technology. The exhibition area will feature a glossy lacquer, leather, steel and mirrored walls. The flooring - featuring inlays of various materials with different shades of black and steel inserts - provides the backdrop for the Giulietta and MiTo models. The entire stand is rendered with “Rosso Competizione” (competition red) walls while the backstage is set with lighted niches housing accessories from the Alfa Romeo Store.

Making its first appearance at the Geneva show will be the new Giulietta which has seen the European public and the international press awarding it 16 prizes so far, including: “Auto Europa 2011” (Italian Automotive Specialised Press Association), "Die besten Autos 2011" (Auto Motor und Sport, Germany), "Greek Car of the Year 2011" (Automotive press, Greece), “Volante d’oro 2010” (Auto Swiat, Poland), “Design Award 2010" (Auto Bild, Germany), "Auto Trophy 2010" (AutoZeitung, Germany), Trophée 2011 (Argus, France - in the "Compacte" category for the Alfa Giulietta 1.6 JTDM 105), "Best Car in Class 2010" (Bilmagasinet, Denmark) and "Women’s car of the year 2010" (Zurnal, Slovenia).

Two examples of the Giulietta will be on display in Geneva: a 235 HP Quadrifoglio Verde 1750 TBi Rosso Competizione (in competition red) and a Distinctive 1.4 MultiAir Turbopetrol 170 HP "Alfa TCT" Grigio Antracite (in anthracite grey) with Start&Stop fitted as standard in order to minimise fuel consumption (5.2 litres/100km in the combined cycle) and CO2 emissions (121 g/km). Specifically, the “Alfa TCT” – which will later also be available with the 2.0 JTDM 170 HP - guarantees driving comfort and a sporty feel well above those offered by conventional automatic transmissions combined with improved efficiency and lower fuel consumption.

At the Motor Show there will also be a slot for the 235 HP 1750 TBi in the Quadrifoglio Verde version, a legendary symbol which has competed on tracks all over the world. Only available on this engine type, this special trim level is distinguished by its sporty lowered ride setting, 17" wheels (18" as an option), an enhanced braking system with callipers painted Alfa red, as well as sporty interiors which include sporty leather and microfibre upholstery. All designed to guarantee the best in driving pleasure and segment-leading active and passive safety. It also offers reduced fuel consumption for this power rating: the “Quadrifoglio Verde” is thus reinterpreted for today, combining the utmost driving pleasure with greater environmental awareness for eco-conscious and ecosystem-friendly sportiness.

The equipment of each Giulietta on display starts with “Blue&Me–TomTom”, the latest development of the Blue&Me system. This is a fully integrated system that allows you to manage telephone, navigation and all necessary driving information functions on a practical colour touch-screen. The device is the result of a partnership between Fiat Group Automobiles and TomTom, the European leader in portable navigation systems, and integrates with the car’s other systems thanks to the Blue&Me system. In addition, the public can examine the “RadioNav” satellite navigator that constitutes the new generation of entertainment and satellite navigation developed by Magneti Marelli for Alfa Romeo. The system incorporates a satellite navigation system, radio with dual tuner, one dedicated to traffic information reception (TMC Pro), the MP3 CD player and European maps loaded onto an SD card that speeds up data access and route calculation times. To guarantee the sharpness and definition of images, it is equipped with a high-definition 6.5 inch colour display.

With a range that is now down to just two models it falls to the MiTo to fill up the remaining space on the Alfa Romeo stand, the B-segment hatchback set to be shown for the first time in MY 2011 specification which will be available for purchase across all the major European countries from April. The MiTo MY 2011 gets a new exterior colour, the metal-flake (aluminium and mica together) "Bronzo Metal" (bronze metal) as well as two-tone interiors accomplished with new upholstery for the dashboard insert and door panels. A new fabric has been developed for the seats, consisting of a smooth, compact elastic mesh yet at the same time fine and shiny like silk, emphasised by the electro-welded graphics with two-tone bronze and black double insert and the “breaked line” titanium sign teamed with the seams on the surrounds and the colour of the dashboard trim. The version carrying the MY 2011 improvements on the stand will be the range-topping “Quadrifoglio Verde” 1.4 MultiAir Turbo 170 HP equipped with new Sabelt sporty seats with a carbon fibre backrest and a stylish version equipped with the 1.4 MultiAir Turbo 135 HP teamed with the innovative “Alfa TCT” twin-clutch automatic transmission and the Start&Stop system.

© 2011 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed