Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4: our test drive of a car full of Easter Eggs

The most recent and beloved superhero films in every installment contain numerous references to comics and the past, as well as “easter eggs” after the credits. We wanted to draw parallels with the new Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4 Plug-in Hybrid, which, on the one hand, represents the face of the “Biscione’s” Metamorphosis and, on the other, encapsulates the essence of its entire tradition, with numerous references to Alfa’s past.

These are prices in Scandinavia:

  • Denmark: from 525.000 DKK
  • Sweden: from 599.999 SEK (in Sweden there’s also the Hybrid version)
  • Norway: the PHEV version is not available.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Hybrid: our tops & flops

Perhaps the Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4 won’t have the performance capabilities of the Giulia and Stelvio. Still, it is an intelligent compromise that has quickly boosted the brand’s sales. With a build quality that is arguably unprecedented and finally, cutting-edge technology that is never intrusive but always effective. As an everyday car, it is comfortable. Unfortunately, perhaps the gear shift needs to be understood and the car is very heavy when the battery is slow, but using it correctly makes Tonale one of the most intriguing compact premium SUVs in its category.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

What we like:

  • Design rich in references to the past;
  • “Cannocchiale” (Telescope, in Italian) dashboard;
  • Almost impeccable build quality;

What we don’t like:

  • The gear shift is not very smooth;
  • Reduced rear visibility;
  • Sometimes it’s noisy.

Design of the Tonale: Blending Innovation and Nods to the Past

Attention, the new SUV is not lacking in innovative elements. On the contrary, it is a model targeting a young and dynamic audience, with a classic aesthetic that looks towards the future (the wavy pattern of the headlights, the entirely digital instrument panel, etc.). However, all of this is elegantly contained in elements with a vintage soul.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

For instance, running from the rear to the front projector is the “GT Line,” a line that evokes the shapes of the Giulia GT and alternates with more rounded, bulging, and elegant volumes that recall the more recent Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione.

On the front, the unavoidable trilobe, obviously with the iconic shield, while the front lights, although modern in their LED pattern, evoke the design of the legendary SZ Zagato and the Proteo concept.

Specifically, the new LEDs are the result of a collaboration with another Milanese company, Marelli, which worked to include the dynamic turn indicator with the Welcome and Goodbye feature that activates every time the car is opened or closed.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

Behind, the optical groups present the same wavy elements as the front but are connected in the center and represent the most distinctive part of the car. I noticed that they allow immediate recognition without necessarily reading the name Tonale written in italics.

In this case, there are also easter eggs, such as the rounded and enveloping rear window that again recalls the 8C Competizione. Finally, the wheels, new in design, obviously alloy, but in a modern key, they reproduce the style of the “Telephone Dial” of Alfa Romeo.

How can we not mention the red brake discs, with the Alfa Romeo inscription in cursive perfectly visible?

Interior Quality

During our first contact at the international presentation in Como, we praised the interiors. At Alfa, they were keen to emphasize how much work has been done, and indeed it shows. The quality is significant, and on the test version, the Veloce, there are also Alcantara inserts on the dashboard and seats that have nothing to envy to competitors.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: Alfa Romeo

There are many pleasant style elements, such as the red stitching on the dashboard and headrests, where they recreate the brand’s logo. The digital “Cannocchiale” dashboard stands out, with a display that is always well visible and defined. Some metal elements with Ambient LED lights create a classy environment.

The layout of the interior is very practical: for example, the smartphone housing is finally up to date and suitable for all sizes, serving as a base for wireless charging.

New Customizable and Connected Infotainment

What really changes is that this is an Alfa with up-to-date technology, the best in its category. In addition to the display behind the steering wheel, in the center, there is a second 10.25-inch touch display with the new Android-based infotainment system. Graphically similar to the already excellent one introduced on other models of the group, but with a better processor, and indeed, in operation, it is really smooth. The aesthetics are also more refined, and the definition is higher.

The operation is very simple. On the left, there are six icons that quickly lead to various menus, from home to navigation, smartphone connectivity to the general vehicle settings. On the latter, it is possible to customize the graphics, choose which ADAS to keep, and so on.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: Alfa Romeo

Obviously, there is wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and, in general, pairing with your device is lightning-fast.

Another technological gem is the integration with Amazon Alexa, useful for those who already have the Amazon ecosystem at home and can thus manage all the functions of the car even more easily, without having to learn another way of interaction.

Finally, thanks to the MyAlfa app, you can manage everything related to the car, the status, the fuel level, the position, and so on: all functions that will be improved because the infotainment has 4G connectivity and supports Over-The-Air updates.

The First Car with NFT Technology

On a B2B level, the Tonale stands out for NFT technology, which Alfa Tonale is the first to exploit and which allows maintaining high residual value levels for the car.

The technology is based on the concept of a “blockchain card,” a secret and unmodifiable digital register on which the main information about the individual car is recorded.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

Depending on the customer’s selection, the NFT will report data on the vehicle’s life, thus generating certification that can be used as a guarantee of the good maintenance of the vehicle, consequently supporting its residual value.

In the used car market, NFT certification will represent an additional source of credibility on which the owner/dealer can rely, while the buyer will be reassured in choosing the car.

It Looks Good, But It Drives Exceptionally Well

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4 plug-in is the latest addition to the lineup, and as they say, the best always comes last. Also because is the only available in Scandinavia In Alfa Romeo’s new “From 0 to 0” strategy, leading the brand to produce only electric cars by 2027, the epitome of power combined with the Q4 all-wheel drive could only be represented by the highest form of electrification, derived from the “cousin” Jeep Compass but significantly improved.

Firstly, the power: 280 HP is certainly felt, providing remarkable acceleration and, in general, a much more vibrant performance, both guaranteed by the electric component, a protagonist in the system. This is crucial as the small 1.3-liter, 180 HP engine, powerful as it is, would struggle to bear the mass and weight of the car on its own, especially when the battery is depleted.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

The noticeable improvement in the gearbox is appreciated, being smoother and quicker in engagements, without the hitches caused by the micro-hybrid technology of the 160 HP variant with the battery on the transmission. In Dynamic mode, shifted to sequential and paired with the large metal paddles behind the steering wheel, it’s truly delightful. It’s just a shame that it has 6 gears, not 7 or 8: on the track (I did two laps at Balocco), there’s no problem, but since this car is not designed for circuits, on the highway, you feel that the internal combustion engine is running a bit high, although nothing transcendental.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

The weight management is excellent, attributed to two factors. Firstly, the weight distribution itself, shifted 53% to the front and 47% to the rear, much better than all the competitors that tend to be too front-heavy. Secondly, the suspension tuning, which can be managed through the central D.N.A. rotary switch, is very soft, preventing the car from “collapsing” into potholes as seen in other plug-ins, even in Dynamic mode when the suspensions are a bit stiffer.

Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4
Image: NordiskBil

Powerful but not sporty because that role is taken by the larger Stelvio with its Giorgio platform. Despite often feeling like the engine has been limited, this also results in good fuel consumption values. Starting with electric ones: the EV range is declared at 80 km on the WLTP cycle, slightly lower in real-world conditions but still capable of covering the estimated daily needs between 20 and 30 km.

When the internal combustion engine kicks in, the total consumption average is 5.40 liters per 100 km, quite good considering the weight and equipment. The 19” wheels, although very attractive, certainly complicate matters.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4 charges only in AC with a maximum power of 7.4 kW, allowing a 100% recovery in 2.5 hours. At 3 kW, the domestic power level and likely the most commonly used for a plug-in, it takes 5.5 hours. Like all vehicles in the Stellantis group, it is possible to combine an eCharging Solutions offer from Free2Move, with a single card capable of activating more than 500,000 charging points in Europe, at discounted prices by choosing one of the available subscriptions.

ADAS

The already mentioned technology returns in ADAS, with one of the most complete sets in Alfa Romeo Tonale Q4. Among these, the Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control stands out, which together with Lane Centering automatically adjusts speed and trajectory, keeping the car in the center of the lane and at a distance from the vehicle.

Then there is the Autonomous Emergency Braking, the Drowsy Driver Detection to monitor the driver’s drowsiness, and the Blind Spot Detection for the blind spot. Finally, the Rear Cross Path Detection identifies vehicles approaching laterally during reverse maneuvers.

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