The 147 was launched at the Turin Motor Show in June 2000 as a replacement for the Alfa Romeo 145 and 146 hatchbacks, and is based on the running gear of the larger 156 saloon. It was sold with 1.6, 2.0, and 3.2 litre petrol engines, and a 1.9 litre diesel engine. A sequential, paddle operated 'Selespeed' transmission was available from launch.
Two trim levels were available, Turismo and Lusso. The 147 was the first Alfa Romeo to have dual zone climate control and electronic traction control. The model was in production for ten years, making it one of the oldest small family cars on sale in Europe at the time of its replacement by the Alfa Romeo Giulietta in the end of May 2010. In total, around 580,000 cars were made.
During 1999, Alfa Romeo confirmed that it would soon be replacing its 145/146 hatchbacks with an all new model, which was unveiled as the 147 at the Turin Motor Show in June 2000, with the first customers taking delivery of their cars in October 2000 on the markets for left hand drive, and the right hand drive versions for the United Kingdom going on sale within a month later. Shortly after its launch, it was voted European Car of the Year, narrowly beating the new Ford Mondeo to the accolade.
Alfa Romeo 147 (facelift)
Alfa Romeo 147 (facelift)
The 147 was facelifted in the end of 2004: new front grille, new headlights, new rear lights and the interior was changed on all models besides the GTA version. A more powerful diesel engine arrived and suspension was also tweaked.
In 2006, the 147 1.9 JTD Q2 version was launched with a front Torsen limited slip differential. Alfa Romeo presented a new limited edition 147 called Ducati Corse at the 2007 Bologna Motor Show. The car had a JTD diesel engine and Q2, a front Torsen limited slip differential.
The 147 was replaced by the Giulietta in May 2010.
High performance versions
Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
The hot hatch 147 GTA model was launched in 2002. The GTA used a 3.2 V6 engine, produced 250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp) and had a top speed of 246 km/h (153 mph). It has a widened body (15 mm at each side) to accommodate the 225/45R17 tyres.
Most models have six speed manual transmissions; whilst a smaller number of other models use the semi automatic Selespeed system. In total, 5,029 147 GTAs were built, 1004 of which were Selespeeds.
London based after market tuner Autodelta has produced a "bored out" version of the GTA, sporting a 3.7 litre V6, producing 328 bhp (245 kW), and a split axle differential gear for the front wheels. Autodelta has also made a Rotrex supercharged version, producing 400 bhp (300 kW).
Connect is an on board information system: an on board telematic system located in the central console that via its 5 in (130 mm) monitor gave access to satellite navigation and hands free GSM phone as well as allowing you to adjust the radio and CD player settings. If subscribed to the CONNECT system by simply pressing the green button, you would be connected directly to a member of the service team for assistance.
The handling of 147 was praised in some reviews, in spite of criticism regarding the light (sensitive) steering, which makes some drivers feel less involved. However, light steering does help during parking maneuvers. Other criticisms of the 147 included a cumbersome gearshift, unsupportive seats and the lack of interior space compared to its rivals.
The car became well known for its engine note, which is unusually mellifluous for a car of its class. The 147 suffers from fairly poor resale value in Great Britain.
The 147 GTA and 147 Autodelta GTA have been road tested by Jeremy Clarkson, and featured on television show Top Gear, with a power lap around the track by The Stig. In his review of Autodelta 147 GTA car for The Sunday Times, Clarkson described the acceleration as "Ferrari throttle? Forget it. When you stamp on the accelerator it's like you've hit the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive.
Suddenly all the stars are fluorescent tubes" and the handling as "...A corner was coming. And then it was a distant speck in my rear view mirror. I vaguely remember turning the wheel and I have a dim recollection of being astounded by the grip...and then the moment was gone. No, really, the damn thing is a barnacle...".
The Alfa Romeo 147 has won more than twenty seven awards including the following:
The 147 JTD of Markus Lungstrass in the 2005 Sachsenring DMSB Production Car Championship
In Europe, there was a one car racing series, European Alfa 147 Challenge for Alfa 147 Cup race cars starting from 2003. In 2005, this series was driven alongside with World Touring Car Championship, winner of the season of 2005 was Irish driver Eoin Murray. The car used on the series was Alfa 147 GTA Cup producing 220 bhp (160 kW) from its straight-4 1970 cc Twin Spark engine.
Alfa Romeo 147 2.0 TS (200 bhp) is used by Czech rally driver Martin Rada, finishing second in N3 group (21st in total) on Rally Monte Carlo in 2009, and later finishing first in group 8 on Rally Monte Carlo 2012 (42nd in total)