The rebirth of Alfa Romeo will step up a gear with the arrival of its first new-generation mainstream model in 18 months’ time, according to company executives.
Damien Dally, Alfa’s UK brand manager, said all-new mainstream models, developed under the testing regime of Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne, would start to arrive in the UK late next year.
Dally also revealed that the first new model range was unlikely to be the 159-replacing Giulia. This means that Alfa’s long-awaited compact SUV model will be launched first, an understandable move because SUVs continue to sell well in the depressed European market.
The mainstream Alfa performance engine is expected to be same all-aluminium, four-cylinder, 1750cc unit that has been launched in the Alfa 4C sports car. It develops 240bhp and 236lb ft of torque from just under 2000rpm in the 4C.
Because the carbonfibre-chassis 4C weighs just 895kg (compared, for example, with 1680kg for an all-wheel-drive Brera coupé), this engine can propel the 4C to 62mph in 4.2sec and should return an average of 42mpg. Indeed, the 4C is lighter than Alfa’s Mito.
The 4C’s combination of lightness and a powerful, downsized engine will also be reflected in the new-generation Alfas, according to Dally. Although no more details have been revealed, the mainstream production models are expected to be lighter than rival models.
Alfa is also emphasising that the new engine has been designed and built by Fiat Powertrain, which also produces Ferrari’s V12 engines. Alfa’s own internal 4C presentations make much of the fact that most of the 4C is sourced from Italian suppliers.
However, as Autocar reported last week, plans to build the new-generation Maserati and Alfa models in Italy have been called into question by Marchionne, after a dispute with an Italian union.