The 1999 Alfa Romeo Bella prototype was a hypothetical 2 + 2 coupé version of the flagship Alfa Romeo 166, but it was never put into production.
Bertone’s Alfa Romeo Bella was unveiled at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, with a fundamental purpose: test the possibility of an Alfa Romeo 166 coupé and to see the public reaction. The chassis, in fact, is none other than a shortened one of the 166, sister of the Lancia K and heir of the 164, born in 1998 and designed by the Alfa Romeo Style Center, directed at the time, by Walter De Silva. Bertone’s proposal for a luxury 2 + 2 sports car was the natural evolution of the range, but it was not followed up.
Sport shapes created from the "scudetto"
The tight lines of Bertone‘s Bella arise from the scudetto, Alfa Romeo’s trademark, which was also in relief in the first series sedan: here the shield is basically on the bonnet, and the arrow shaped lines, among the long and thin headlights, accentuate its sporty intentions. The windscreen blends seamlessly into the side window almost without interruption, creating a large pillar inspired by the Lancia Stratos, another Bertone creation: a solution that we see today in many sports cars like the Nissan GT-R with the difference that here, we don’t have any side-rear window. The bodywork, with its essential lines and compact dimensions, continues into a very simple rear design with two light strips on both of the sides of the rear window.
A V6 that did not had any follow-up
If the interior with red leather and the non-anatomical seats suggested more comfort than sportiness, the rear seats were basically folding seats, which were designed more as an expandable trunk rather than to transport passengers. Bertone in fact, introduced an original solution which expanded the available luggage space. The rear seats can in fact be moved, creating enough space to carry a surfboard or a bicycle. At Bertone, the compactness of the Bella had suggested the use of a 4-cylinder 2-liter, but in the end the choice fell on the Busso V6, with its power increased to 225 hp, manual gearbox and front-wheel drive. The prototype was running, and was therefore tested by journalists in Geneva: ready for production, for some reasons it remained only a concept car. In order to see the next Alfa Romeo production coupè made by Bertone we had to wait 4 years for the Alfa Romeo GT, but that’s another story…