What's the news?
In what is something of a rarity - a proper motor show surprise - Alfa Romeo has brought along its all-new Tonale compact SUV to the Geneva show.
It's a really rather gorgeous thing, with the familiar deep-vee Alfa grille, flanked by LED headlights that seem to nod their electric heads to the triple-lens light layout of the old 159 saloon and Brera coupe. Further back, it's clearly related to the larger Stelvio, but the body surfacing is much smoother and tauter, and the rear door handles are hidden, giving it (car designer cliche klaxon) a much more coupe-like side view.
Underneath, we know that the Tonale will use the same basic chassis and component set as the Jeep Renegade and Compass, so it will be sized to compete with the likes of the Audi Q3 and BMW X1, as well as Jaguar's E-Pace and the upcoming Mercedes GLB.
Crucially for Alfa, the Tonale will be its first plug-in hybrid. It will share its powertrain, which mixes an electric motor and battery with a turbocharged petrol engine, with the Jeep Compass and Renegade 4x4e models, which have also been launched at Geneva.
That should give the Tonale an electric-only range of around 50km, and CO2 emissions below the 50g/km mark, which should allow it to sidestep any city-centre emissions-based vehicle ban. Combined power is 240hp and because the electric motor is mounted on the rear axle, the Tonale can have four-wheel drive without the need for a heavy transfer box or a propshaft to the rear wheels.
Speaking at the Tonale's unveiling, Alfa Romeo boss Tim Kuniskis vowed that the hybrid tech would enhance the driving experience as well as cutting the company's CO2 emissions. "We've put the driver at the centre, with incredible steering feel," he said. "The Tonale will have a distinct personality and timeless design that evokes the passion of its designers."
Oh, and the name? Well, just as the Tonale will sit beneath the Stelvio in the Alfa lineup, so the Tonale pass, which runs through the Italian Alps, sits some 300 metres lower down than, you've guessed it, the Stelvio Pass.