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The Alfa Romeo Arna is a subcompact automobile produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo between 1983 and 1987.

Launched at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show, the Arna was a product of a short-lived partnership between Alfa Romeo and Japanese manufacturer Nissan; the car's name was an acronym meaning Alfa Romeo Nissan Autoveicoli. The Arna was essentially a twin of the N12 series Nissan Pulsar / Nissan Cherry (also known as the Nissan Cherry Europe in selected European markets and the Nissan Pulsar Milano in Japan), but featured Alfa Romeo engines carried over from the Alfasud, as well as an Alfa transmission and front suspension. It did however use an independent rear suspension from Nissan. The body panels of the car were constructed in Japan by Nissan, then shipped to the then-new Alfa factory in Pratola Serra, near Naples, for assembly. Italian-built cars badged as Nissan Cherry Europe can be readily identified by their rear lighting clusters, which match those of the Arna rather than the Japanese-built Cherry.

The Arna was however not a success, and production ceased after only four years, most likely because the Arna exhibited the worst qualities of each of its parents. The Arna featured tempestuous mechanicals and indifferent build quality courtesy of Alfa Romeo, married to a Nissan body of questionable build and frumpy styling, with insipid handling common to Japanese cars of the time. This mismatch of technical strengths served to kill the sales of the Arna very rapidly. The Arna is listed as number 26 in the Richard Porter book, "Crap Cars".

Models

The Arna was initially sold as a 3-door L and a 5-door SL and was fitted with the Alfasud 1.2 boxer engine (63 PS). In 1984, a 3-door TI version, with an 86 PS (63 kW; 85 hp) 1.3 litre boxer-four engine, was introduced, which was capable of reaching 170 km/h (110 mph) top speed. In November 1984 (model year 1985) came a more powerful 1.2 engine in the same trim configurations with 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp), while there were no external differences there were light alterations to the interior. Later, there were also some TI trim cars built with 1.5 litre engines, sold also as the Nissan Cherry Europe GTI. The more powerful 1.5 TI/Cherry GTI had a top speed of 175 km/h (109 mph).

Engines

  • 1.2 L (1,186 cc) Flat-4 63 PS (46 kW; 62 hp)
  • 1.2 L (1,186 cc) Flat-4 68 PS (50 kW; 67 hp) at 6,000 rpm
  • 1.4 L (1,350 cc) Flat-4 71 PS (52 kW; 70 hp) or 86 PS (63 kW; 85 hp) at 5,800 rpm
  • 1.5 L (1,490 cc) Flat-4 95 PS (70 kW; 94 hp)

Today

In 2000 (when Jeremy Clarkson famously blew one up on Clarkson's Car Years), it was reported that only 340 Alfa Romeo Arnas were still registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in United Kingdom. As of July 2011, there are three Arnas registered in the United Kingdom, all with SORNs.