Alfa Romeo has denied rumours from within the company that it is developing a V8 for use in its next generation of saloons, saying that in today's poor economic climate it would not make commercial sense.

"No front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive Alfa Romeo will use a engine larger than a V6," said a senior Alfa source today.

Fiat does, however, have access to Chrysler's forthcoming 3.6-litre Pentastar V6, which it could equip with its new Multiair valve train to improve efficiency. Chrysler's powertrain division is now being run by Fiat's product engineering boss Paolo Ferrero.

The Multiair technology could also be fitted to V8 Maseratis, offering improved performance for less fuel consumption.

At the beginning of this decade, Fiat's Powertrain engineers worked on a V8 in collaboration with General Motors, designed to fit the Premium platform that underpins the Alfa 159 and Saab 9-5. It never progressed beyond a prototype stage.

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