The Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid: the energy that moves everything
The Alfa Romeo Tonale has made its dynamic debut, taking to the roads at Tempio Voltiano around Lake Como, where Alessandro Volta invented the first battery. The Alfa Romeo Tonale marks the brand's ‘metamorphosis' into a new era of electrification.
While Alfa Romeo has radically evolved and launched itself into a new, technological, sustainable and electrified era, the new Tonale maintains the brand's DNA of Italian sportiness and the functions and connectivity on board make it the most technological Alfa Romeo to date. It combines quality with dynamic features to reinvent sportiness in the 21st century.
Fitted with a range of efficient hybrid engines, the Alfa Romeo Tonale will be available in two trims for UK drivers – Ti and Veloce. Alfa Romeo will also offer an exclusive EDIZIONE SPECIALE version of the Tonale for the new model's launch phase.
An exclusive for Alfa Romeo, the 160hp 48v Hybrid Variable-Geometry Turbo (VGT) engine is making its debut. The 1.5-litre petrol engine is paired with a 7-speed Alfa Romeo TCT dual-clutch transmission and the 48-volt 15 kW and 55 Nm P2 electric motor (135 Nm thanks to the 2.5:1 transmission ratio) and can propel the wheels even when the internal combustion engine is turned off. Thanks to this technical solution it is possible to travel in electric mode up to 15kW in every situation in which it is necessary, including driving at low speeds, parking and cruising, in order to provide an authentic hybrid driving experience.
The Alfa Romeo Tonale still maintains the performance credentials expected of the brand, capable of zero to 60mph in 8.8 seconds and on to a maximum speed of over 130mph.
PERFORMANCE AND EFFICIENCY
To maximise performance and efficiency, a second generation 48-volt lithium-ion high performance battery is used. Its 0.8 kWh capacity is more than twice that of batteries commonly used on BSG hybrid systems, while providing a high-power output of up to 22 kW. The new battery has a volume of about 11 litres and does not affect the size of the boot as it is installed under the central tunnel, between the front seats. The dual voltage system with DC/DC converter from 48 to 12 volts manages the interface with the electrical architecture of the vehicle.
Designed to optimise thermodynamics, and therefore to save on fuel consumption, the new 4-cylinder turbocharged engine has a high compression ratio (12.5:1), a new cylinder head with compact combustion chamber, dual variable valve timing and special ‘high-tumble' intake ducts.
This 160hp version is exclusive to Alfa Romeo. Thanks to a new variable-geometry turbocharger it can combine great responsiveness at lower speeds and high power for a sportier drive, all while maintaining a high level of efficiency.
A belt starter generator is also installed in both engines to guarantee fast and silent transitions when restarting. The Intelligent Brake System optimises the ‘auto-recharge' feature and uses mixed regenerative braking to maximise the recovery of kinetic energy during deceleration to improve efficiency.
The new Tonale also provides customers with a range of features to enhance driving experience, including:
- Silent Start, to start up the vehicle using EV mode only
- Energy Recovery, to recover energy that would otherwise be wasted as the car decelerates (e-coasting) and during braking (regenerative braking)
- Boost & Load Point Shift, e-Boosting allows increased torque on the wheels; by calibrating the (engine or braking) torque delivered by the electric motor, it can optimise the operating point of the petrol engine
- Electric Drive, enabling the vehicle to travel using only the electric motor
Further functions are also available to prioritise the EV capabilities of the new Tonale:
- e-Creeping uses the electric motor to provide the start-up normally available in vehicles with automatic transmission, at a speed that can vary from zero mph to the equivalent of the petrol engine idling in first gear, or in reverse
- e-Launch, to start the vehicle using only the electric motor
- e-Queueing, for the car to keep going in a traffic jam, in a stop and go pattern
- e-Parking, to simplify parking manoeuvres, making them practical and quiet
SOFTWARE AND CONNECTIVITY
In a worldwide exclusive, NFT technology makes its debut in the Tonale. An entirely new feature in the automotive sector, Alfa Romeo is the first manufacturer to link an NFT digital certificate to a vehicle. The technology is based on the concept of the blockchain card, a confidential and unmodifiable digital register where the main information of each vehicle gets recorded. Based on the customer's selection, the NFT generates a certification in which the data of the vehicle's lifetime gets recorded. This certification can be used to ensure that the vehicle has been well-maintained and therefore supports its residual value. The NFT verification is seen on the pre-owned car market as a further source of credibility which aids the owner/reseller, but also reassures the buyer when choosing a second-hand vehicle.
The Tonale adopts next-generation electronic architecture which is capable of system and program updates in Over The Air (OTA) mode, adding new contents to the original configuration as soon as they come available. Standing out among the technological innovations, Alexa built-in-voice AI provides the convenience of hands-free, voice-initiated interactions, making it easier to keep hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. By simply asking Alexa, Tonale customers can control vehicle functions including playing music, listening to audiobooks, getting directions, checking traffic, managing their smart home devices and more. With the Alexa ‘MyAlfa' skill, customers can also receive ongoing updates on vehicle status from the comfort of their home. For example, you can find out the level of charge and/or fuel, search for points of interest, find the car's latest location, send remote locking and unlocking commands and much more.
There is also the standard, brand-new, built-in infotainment system which offers content, functionality and up-to-date services thanks to the customisable Android operating system and the 4G connectivity with Over The Air (OTA) updates. The system is made up of a 12.3-inch digital screen and a 10.25-inch main touchscreen which, with a total size of 22.5-inch, is the largest in the segment.
The sophisticated and fluid multitasking interface allows the driver to have all the information within view without taking one's eyes off the road, providing a smartphone-like experience, and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality as standard.
EXCELLENT DYNAMICS PLACE TONALE AT THE TOP OF ITS CLASS
Perfect weight distribution
The Alfa Romeo Tonale offers maximum driving pleasure thanks to specific technical solutions. One element that contributed to this goal was the perfect weight distribution between the two axles – specific to the Alfa Romeo tradition of construction—which required special management of mass and materials, carried out both by working on the car's layout and by placing all the heavier components as centrally as possible. The Tonale versions equipped with front-wheel drive use the excellent balance of masses to optimise torque delivery on the ground and handling through corners.
Direct steering and aluminium shift paddles
The steering ratio (13.6) enhances the engaging and instinctive driving experience in any situation and at any speed. The adoption of the geometry in the independent front suspension reduces rebound in a natural way, accentuating the precise and intuitive steering feeling, limiting the application of software filtering and optimising control of front wheel steering. The sportiness is further enhanced by the aluminium shift paddles: a hallmark of the brand and a one-off in this class.
Integrated Brake System (IBS)
Unique in its class, the new Alfa Romeo Tonale adopts the Integrated Brake System (IBS), an innovative electromechanical system that combines stability control with conventional servo brakes. The system guarantees instantaneous brake response thanks to the integration between electronics and mechanics, together with significant weight optimisation, optimal feeling and the total absence of pedal vibrations. In addition, the IBS manages the blending between regenerative braking (to maximise energy recovery) and dissipative braking (achieved through the braking system), in a manner totally undetectable to the driver. Tonale adopts standard fixed calipers by Brembo, with four pistons and self-ventilated discs at the front and solid discs at the rear to guarantee impeccable braking performance.
Dual Stage Valve electronic suspension
Developed in conjunction with Marelli, a historical technology partner of Alfa Romeo, the electronic shock absorbers with Dual Stage Valve provide a choice between performance and comfort. The electronic shock absorbers feature a special electroactuated valve within the shock absorber that provides independent damping curves.
Two modes are available: Comfort and Sport. Comfort ensures the smoothest performance on uneven roads, while Sport mode predominates in the D.N.A. Dynamic and ESC Off selections, which reduces body movements and increases vertical rigidity, aimed at improved vehicle dynamics in corners. Finally, by pressing the dedicated button on the DNA selector, the calibration of Dynamic mode can be activated or deactivated.
Dynamic Torque Vectoring Alfa Romeo
The front-wheel drive versions offer an electronic self-locking differential as standard, which guarantees perfect traction for a smooth driving experience while emphasising the agility and sporty character of the Tonale. The system is built into the DNA selector and exploits the effect of the braking system by simulating a limited-slip mechanical differential. When combined with the MacPherson front suspension, it ensures sporty and effective driving dynamics by controlling the vehicle's stability and by redirecting the power to the appropriate wheels when accelerating in corners. The system also provides improved greater control on slippery surfaces, as well as greatly reducing understeer, transferring torque from the inner to the outer wheel, to ensure longitudinal acceleration and consequently better road holding.
Independent MacPherson suspension with Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology
Made with Alfa Romeo's DNA in mind, the suspension scheme provides for a MacPherson-type architecture. The geometry on the front axle is optimised for rapid and precise changes of direction, emphasising the steering feeling typical of the brand. This reduces steering distortion, limiting the application of software filtering and optimising control of front wheel steering. In the rear, the exclusive three-arm geometry ensures rapid response when engaging and the highest level of lateral acceleration on corners. Finally, the suspension on the Tonale uses Frequency Selective Damping (FSD) technology—developed in collaboration with Koni, a historical technology partner of Alfa Romeo – to improve performance by ensuring perfect road holding and simultaneously improving comfort in all driving conditions.
Innovative technology at the service of safety and comfort
The new Alfa Romeo Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) for Level 2 autonomous driving, which Tonale is equipped with, allows for automatic handling of acceleration, braking and remaining within lanes while maintaining maximum driving safety and leaving the pleasure of sitting at the wheel intact.
Alfa Romeo Tonale enables Level 2 autonomous driving by combining the Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control (IACC) and Lane Centring (LC) systems and the forward-facing camera, which longitudinally and laterally monitors the car's surroundings. IACC automatically adjust the car's speed to maintain a safe distance from the vehicles in front, along with Traffic Sign Recognition and Intelligent Speed Control.
The LC system controls the sideways movement of the car to keep the vehicle in the centre of the lane, even in heavy traffic conditions.
Comfort and well-being on board
Along with a spacious interior, comfort and well-being for everyone on board is further ensured by its dual-zone air conditioning, sophisticated infotainment system, ventilated and heated front seats and a 14-speaker sound system by Harman Kardon. The new model includes an electric tailgate and a wireless charging pad in front of the gear stick, to place and charge your smartphone in total safety for the highest experience in comfort.
The Tonale is one of the few models in its class to offer the Semi-Automatic Parking system, which indicates the space available to park in and completes the car's entry and exit manoeuvres itself.
The advancement of driving modes, managed in the Alfa D.N.A. system
The Alfa D.N.A. driving mode selector, from its debuts in the Giulietta, Mito and 4C, via its development in the Giulia and Stelvio, now arrives in the Tonale with specific functions related to the electric powertrain.
In the Tonale, Dynamic mode is designed with a specific calibration of the accelerator pedal, ensuring more effective braking and more direct steering wheel response. The Natural mode continues to maintain the best performance optimisation. In this mode, it automatically manages the use of the electric motor and the internal combustion engine to allow for everyday energy and consumption savings without giving up performance. Lastly, Advance Efficiency mode is calibrated for maximum energy efficiency in the hybrid version.