It will be “higher” than Alfa’s previous E-segment offering, the 166 saloon of 1998-2007, said Imparato. However, it will be lower than traditional SUVs in the segment, in a bid to boost aerodynamic efficiency and provide engaging dynamics.
It will be based on the same EV-only STLA Large platform as the next Stelvio and the Giulia saloon’s replacement. This new platform has been designed to suit the kinds of cars offered by Stellantis’s premium brands (Alfa, DS, Lancia and Maserati).
Its 800V electrical architecture enables ultra rapid charging, so a substantial chunk of the new Alfa SUV’s long range – up to 500 miles – could be replenished in less than 30 minutes by the most powerful public chargers.
The biggest car to wear Alfa’s famous ‘scudetto’ shield grille will be sold in Europe, but the key markets for it are the US and China, said Imparato.
“If I stay [just] in Western Europe, I will never [build the car], because the volumes are small and because I don’t know how the segment will evolve,” he explained. Using the STLA Large platform gives Alfa the option to fit up to three motors to its new SUV – a layout that has already been associated with a 1000bhp-plus Quadrifoglio performance version of the forthcoming electric Giulia.
The SUV will also come with Tesla-rivalling levels of digital functionality, thanks to Stellantis’s new STLA Brain electronic architecture, which will allow the option of handsfree driving as well as a far more intuitive infotainment interface than that in current Alfa models.
However, Alfa said that, despite it being able to pick from a full range of software-powered options, its future cars will be focused far more on the handling and driving experience than flashy tech. “The drivability of the car, that’s where I put the energy,” said Imparato.
Despite the switch to an EV-specific platform removing the constraints of combustion-drivetrain proportions, Alfa feels it’s important to retain the traditional rear-wheel-drive visual focus of its larger cars.
“I think an Alfa Romeo is a driver’s car. We have to put emphasis in the rear muscles so it really looks rear-wheel drive,” design chief Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos told Autocar.