Alfa Romeo is planning a barrage of new models that it hopes will lift sales in the same way that parent company Fiat Auto’s sales have upturned since the launch of the Grande Punto.The Italian premium car brand will strengthen its product range with cars as varied as open-top supercars and upmarket superminis over the next four years; you can see Alfa’s own sketches of the cars in question for the first time in our gallery.
Coming in 2009: Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider
Alfa has announced that it will build a run of 8C Competizione Spiders to follow its rapid sell-out of Coupes, confirmation coming via a presentation to investors last week. The production run could be up to three times the size of the Coupe’s, at 1500, catering both to strong demand for the 8C, and the US market that Alfa is re-entering.The 8C Spider was unveiled last year as a running concept, and will go on sale in 2009; it’s mechanically identical to the coupe, minus the roof, with a 450bhp 4.7litre V8 engine.
Also in 2009: Alfa Romeo ‘Junior’
Preceding the open 8C will be Alfa’s new upmarket supermini and rival to the Mini. It’s been temporarily labelled Junior pending a public competition to find it a proper name, and is due to debut as a concept at the 2008 Geneva show before going on sale here in January 2009.The Junior’s core structure and mechanicals are shared with Fiat’s Grande Punto, but some suspension parts will come from the high-performance Punto Abarth. A unique option will be an adjustable suspension controlled by a Ferrari-style manettino. Engines will feature Fiat’s new Multiair inlet valve technology and will range from a 105bhp 1.4- through to a 230bhp 1.8-litre option for the Junior GTA. The illustration (see gallery) is official, and reveals the rear for the first time.
Alfa’s new 1-series-fighter: the 149
A year later, in 2010, the 147 replacement, codenamed ‘149’, arrives. It uses a largely new platform comprised of the centre section of the Bravo, and new front and rear structures to carry a very sophisticated suspension system rumoured to include active roll control. Safety will be significantly enhanced and the engine range, featuring Multiair and turbo motors, ranges from 120 to 260bhp. Two and four-wheel drive versions will be offered. The 149 will sit further upmarket than the 147, leaving room for the Junior beneath it. Expect prices to start at the £18k mark.
A new flagship saloon: Alfa’s 2011 169
Turin’s follow-up to the poorly received 166 large saloon seems to have been a long time in the works; it’s currently scheduled for arrival in 2011, twelve years after the introduction of its predecessor.Underneath it will be a stretched version of the 159’s versatile platform. This mechanical architecture, co-developed as it was with General Motors, is said to be strong and versatile enough to easily stretch to accommodate a mid-sized executive saloon; it will also accept both six- or eight-cylinder engines, mounted transversely or longitudinally, giving Alfa plenty of engine and drivetrain options.A tie up with Maserati, for use of the Quattroporte’s mechanicals, was rumoured to have been considered by Alfa as a means of replacing its 166, but was ruled out because the architecture would be too expensive for Alfa Romeo, and capacity too low at Maserati’s Modena factory.
And finally, sometime in 2011: an Alfa crossover
Both Alfa and Fiat will launch crossovers in 2010. Fiat brand chief Luca De Meo is hopeful that Fiat’s sporty Bravo-derived crossover, whose competitors include the Nissan Qashqai and the Ford Kuga, will capture the family customers that the company failed to win with the Croma. Alfa’s crossover will offer a sportier blend of abilities, be priced from £19-£30,000 and feature some of the most aggressive styling yet seen in a cross-over if Alfa’s first sketch is accurate (see gallery). It will be based on the part-new platform developed for the 149, and is expected to play a major role in Alfa Romeo’s rejuvenation.