Fiat exec Antonio Baravalle has confirmed that Alfa Romeo is preparing a new small car, likely to be called the ‘Racer.’ According to 4Car, the Racer is due next year and will be built off the same platform used for Fiat’s Grande Punto, sharing the same front struts and rear torsion beam suspension set-up. The engine range will include a revised version of Fiat’s new 1.4L turbo unit developing 180bhp, as well as a 1.8L turbo version with 230bhp. The new supermini also picks up Alfa’s latest Q2 limited-slip differential.

Alfa is moving to a new naming practice where its cars will now be labeled with actual names instead of the current numeric system. Interiors will feature a more modern design, dropping the retro-look found in today’s models. The interiors of the facelifted 159 sedan, Brera and Spider will also feature the new design trend in preparation for the brand’s re-launch in the US in 2010.

The next-generation 149 small hatch should appear three months after the Racer is released and gets its own unique platform. New features will include a sophisticated double wishbone-based suspension system, a move that has double the development cost of the new 149. This will be followed by the introduction of Alfa’s first crossover model and new 169 sedan.