In an “X-Files” television episode called “Teliko,” the show changed its usual tagline during the title sequence from “The truth is out there” to “Deceive, Inveigle, Obfuscate.” Both taglines would apply to the mystery around the name of Alfa Romeo’s coming subcompact SUV.
For the longest while, based on information from unnamed sources, the urban runabout twinned with Europe’s Jeep Avenger was expected to be named the Alfa Romeo Brennero, honoring Italy’s Brennero Pass (Brenner Pass in English). Then automaker design head Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos said something to Autocar over the summer that led Autocar to write, “that name was ruled out by Mesonero-Romanos.” Autocar didn’t quote the designer’s words used to dismiss the expected name, it only quoted what came next, Mesonero-Romanos saying, “The model name is now decided. it will be Italian and it will be beautiful. But more than that, I cannot say for now.”
— Alfa Romeo (@alfa_romeo) December 6, 2023
The decided, Italian, beautiful name is Brennero. That’s what we get from an automaker post on X bearing the caption, “Maybe we’ve known it all along,” and a 15-second animation flashing four GPS coordinates. One coordinate picks out Alfa Romeo’s history museum, the Museo Storico, another the Balocco Proving Grounds, another the Stelvio Pass, and finally, the Brennero Pass. This post could be considered Alfa answering its own question from June of this year — a month before Mesonero-Romano’s supposed denial — with the caption, “A game-changing #SportyUrbanVehicle is on the horizon. What will be the name of our new Alfa Romeo? Take a guess in the comments below.”
Speculation has gathered around a few hard points. The Brennero sits on the CMP/e-CMP platform utilized by the Avenger, the Fiat 600, the Peugeot 2008, and the DS 3 Crossback. In electric form, it fits the Avenger’s 54-kWh battery and front axle e-motor making the same 154 horsepower and 192 pound-feet of torque, and will likely get around the same 248 miles on a charge on the WLTP cycle. As the new entry-level offering beneath the Tonale, if the Brennero adopts Avenger dimensions, the Brennero will be about 16 inches shorter than the Tonale, its roof about three inches lower.
More speculative speculation supposes there could be a dual-motor all-wheel-drive Brennero evolved from the drivetrain in the Avenger 4×4 Concept. And assuming the Alfa offers a mild hybrid powertrain like the Avenger, there are a couple of possibilities like the 1.2-liter ICE and a combined 154 hp from the Avenger or a more powerful setup used by Peugeot.
Automaker CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato said of the model, “You will see that it will be an Alfa Romeo. … We are spending time on designing that car with the same spirit. And the drivability of the car, the performance of that car, will be driven by the tuning that we do on the Tonale.” He delayed the Tonale after deciding it needed more time in the development oven. We don’t know what was done, but we said of the Tonale in our First Drive, “This thing’s fun.”
The Brennero isn’t expected to come to the U.S., but European drivers could welcome a subcompact that’s zippier than most early next year. And based on a reported leak from a UX designer working on display graphics, the Brennero might be a lot flashier, too.