This latest rendering of the upcoming Alfa Romeo Junior is a close representation of what the final production model will look like, showing that the Italian designers have remained true to a concept sketch previously released by Alfa. The 2008 Junior has been confirmed for production and is pegged to go head-to-head with BMW’s popular Mini, Audi’s upcoming small car, and even the Fiat 500. Further evidence of the model’s release was detailed at an investor meeting in November last year. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne gave details on Alfa’s future model ranges for 2008-2009, which included some concept sketches and potential price tags.

Presented at the meeting was a sketch of the Junior, which depicted a hatch with coupe-like styling and a three-door configuration. The new Junior is expected be built at Fiat’s Turinese plant in Mirafiori, Italy, alongside the Fiat Grande Punto, which shares the same platform as the baby Alfa. A base model will feature Fiat Group’s new 1.4L turbo engine developing around 150hp, while a high-performance model will adopt a 1.8L JTB direct injection turbo four-cylinder producing 220hp.

This performance variant may carry the title ‘4C Junior’ as homage to the stunning 8C Competizione supercar. The front-wheel-drive hot hatch will pick up Alfa’s innovative Q2 self-locking differential, which can transmit torque between the two front wheels, in addition to an aggressive bodykit and racing style alloys.

Production is scheduled for early 2008, with the first models to hit showrooms midway through the year, priced at €16,000 and up. The release of the Junior will also coincide with the re-launch of the Alfa brand in the US towards the end of 2008, however, it’s unlikely to be sold Stateside due to problems with pricing.