.Michael Specht Automotive News Europe | June 9, 2017 06:01 CET Alfa Romeo is betting on the Stelvio's fun-to-drive characteristics to boost the appeal of what is expected to become the brand's best-seller. "In the Stelvio you find the pure spirit and the DNA of Alfa Romeo," said Alfa Romeo's Europe chief, Fabrizio Curci. The Stelvio has the shortest steering ratio (12 to 1) in its segment, which helps to give it handling similar to a sports car, Alfa said. Alfa’s engineers succeeded in their target of giving the Stelvio a weight balance of 50-50. To reduce weight many body components are aluminum while the drive shaft to the rear axle is carbon fiber. Despite this, at 1735kg the Stelvio weighs more than rivals such as the aluminum-intensive 1690kg Jaguar F-Pace. The Stelvio, named after an Italian mountain pass in the Alps, is based on Alfa’s Giorgio platform like its sedan sibling, the Giulia. Passengers in the Stelvio sit 190mm higher than in the Giulia, said Alfa’s chief engineer, Roberto Fedeli. The 4690mm-long Stelvio will compete against midsize premium crossovers including the Porsche Macan, BMW X3, Audi Q5 and Jaguar F-Pace. Four-wheel drive was standard in the launch models with torque distribution set at 100 percent to the rear axle, although a maximum of 50 percent can be sent to the front axle. A rear-wheel -drive entry-level model will be added later this year. Interior quality and the materials are good, but not at the same level as a Q5. The luggage compartment holds 525 liters, which is more than the Macan and Mercedes-Benz GLC but less than the X3 and Q5. Fast facts Target buyers: Customers who want to stand apart from German premium brands. Engines: Alfa says the Stelvio's 280-hp 2.0-liter gasoline engine offers best-in-class acceleration, going from 0 to 100 kph (62 mph) in 5.7 seconds. Later this year a 200-hp version will be offered. The 210-hp 2.2-liter diesel engine will be joined by an entry-level 180hp alternative with rear-wheel drive only. Technology: The Stelvio's electromechanical system that combines stability control with a traditional servo brake is a segment first, Alfa says. It eliminates pedal vibration to give a better driving "feel" and allows a much shorter braking distance. Launch date: March Base price: 47,500 euros Where built: Cassino, Italy
Andrea Malan and Luca Ciferri Automotive News Europe | June 3, 2017 06:01 CET
At 2,757 meters (9,000 feet) above sea level, the Stelvio pass is the highest paved road in the Italian Alps. To reach the summit a driver has to make 48 hairpin turns. Alfa Romeo, which chose the name Stelvio for its first SUV, has taken nearly as many twists in its seemingly never-ending journey in search of success. For the struggling Fiat Chrysler Automobiles subsidiary to reach its ambitious sales target and turn its first profit in almost two decades in 2018, it will need the Stelvio to be a star performer. Alfa troubles are well-documented. It is in the midst of its fourth revival bid since FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne joined the company in June 2004. The 5 billion euro turnaround plan presented in 2014 targeted 400,000 units in 2018 and predicted Alfa's volume would rise to 500,000 soon thereafter without providing a time frame. That plan was revised in January 2016, at which time Marchionne said the sales goal would be pushed to 2020. Even with a two-year delay, reaching a volume of 400,000 vehicles is considered ambitious for a brand that sold just 73,000 units worldwide last year. Marchionne said the delay was because of "uncertainties in China" and the "need to guarantee proper global distribution network execution." Product investment at Alfa would be “reduced through 2018" and the brand's planned eight-car product lineup "will be completed by mid-2020," the CEO added.
Massimo Vecchio, a Milan-based analyst at Mediobanca, estimates that FCA has so far invested about half of the 5 billion euros earmarked for Alfa. So far, just two of the eight models have been launched: the Stelvio and its platform sibling, the Giulia midsize sedan, which has not kept pace with expectations. Alfa expected to sell 75,000 to 100,000 units of the Giulia globally, but the sedan has not yet been able to reach that level. Marchionne predicted annual global sales of 75,000 to 100,000 Giulias, but since its May 2016 market launch through April 2017, Alfa sold 18,908 Giulias in Europe, according to JATO Dynamics. One disadvantage the Giulia has is that it is not offered as a wagon in Europe, where rivals such as the BMW 3 series and Audi A4 get a significant portion of their sales from that body type. In the U.S., Alfa has sold 1,636 units of the Giulia in the first four months of the year, company figures show. Another disadvantage the Giulia faces is a weak worldwide demand for sedans. The Giulia's slow start means the Stelvio will play a key role in determining whether Alfa reaches its sales and profit goals. One plus for the Stelvio is that global demand continues to rise for premium midsize SUVs, but the segment already includes popular competitors such as the Audi Q5, BMW X3, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLC and Volvo XC60. Last year, European sales in this segment rose 30 percent to about 411,000 vehicles, according to JATO, while in the U.S. volume increased 32 percent to about 360,000, Automotive News Data Center figures show. In an April call with analysts, Marchionne said "Alfa and Maserati together will sell 230,000 units in 2017." Subtract the 60,000 sales target Marchionne has set for Maserati and that means Alfa is looking to sell 170,000 units globally this year.
FCA Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer confirmed that Alfa is on course to reach breakeven in the fourth quarter of this year and Marchionne added that the automaker will become profitable again starting in 2018. Gabriele Gambarova, an analyst at Banca Akros in Milan, says Marchionne's volume target for this year is "quite aggressive," but it could be less challenging if it referred to vehicle shipments rather than retail sales. "The U.S. market could absorb 20,000 units this year between the Giulia and Stelvio," Gambarova said. "In the third quarter, we might be able to get a first hint of how the Stelvio has been received in its key markets." Alfa Romeo declined to comment for this story. IHS Markit is not as optimistic as Marchionne. The market researcher forecasts Alfa will sell 120,000 vehicles worldwide this year, with the Stelvio, which Alfa is currently rolling out in Europe, accounting for less than 25,000 units globally. Through the first three months of this year, Alfa has increased European sales 35 percent to 21,512 units, JATO's numbers show. If Alfa tops 100,000 sales this year, it will be the first time it has done that since 2012. The last time it sold more than 200,000 cars was in 2001. Alfa is poised to get additional help in its quest to return to profitability with the addition of a compact and a large model to round out its SUV lineup at three offerings. The compact SUV is likely to be built at FCA's factory in Pomigliano, southern Italy, where the automaker currently produces the Fiat Panda minicar. Alfa's large SUV is expected to be built in either Cassino, sharing its platform with the Giulia and Stelvio, or in the Mirafiori plant in Turin as a sister model to the Maserati Levante. Neither of these two SUVs is expected to debut sooner than 2019.
AUTOMOTIVE NEWS EUROPE MONTHLY MAGAZINE This story is from the June issue Automotive News Europe's monthly magazine. The Stelvio will play a key role in determining whether Alfa reaches its sales and profit goals. PRINTED FROM: http://europe.autonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20170603/ANE/170529781&template=printartANE
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Premium Mid-size Sedan Named “Car of the Year” by Top Gear Magazine Starts at $37,995 MSRP & Record-Breaking 505-hp Quadrifoglio at $72,000 MSRP •All-new Giulia lineup combines Italian craftsmanship, class-leading performance, state-of-the-art technology and a passion for driving for the premium mid-size market •Giulia nameplate reflects a 55-year heritage of Alfa Romeo's lightweight, performance sedan tradition and over 105 years of brand history, carving its legend on road courses around the globe •Stunning Italian design and crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Frosinone, Italy •All Giulia models feature a near perfect 50:50 weight distribution, class-leading power and performance and an eight-speed automatic transmission with available column-mounted paddle shifters with gear shifts in less than 100 milliseconds •Giulia is very well-equipped with standard premium features, including a 280-hp turbocharged and intercooled 2.0L engine delivering 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, DNA Mode, leather interior, bi-xenon headlamps, dual exhaust, carbon fiber driveshaft, flat-bottom steering wheel, 7-inch TFT and much more •Giulia Ti (Turismo Internazionale) adds 18-inch aluminum wheels, genuine wood interior accents, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment with SiriusXM and much more •Giulia Ti Sport adds Quadrifoglio-inspired unique front and rear fascias, 19-inch dark 5-hole aluminum wheels, 12-way power high-performance leather seats, aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters, sport steering wheel, genuine aluminum interior accents, gloss-black window trim surround and colored brake calipers •State-of-the-art Q4 all-wheel-drive system available on Giulia and Giulia Ti •Giulia Quadrifoglio features distinct styling and the most powerful engine ever developed in a production Alfa Romeo with an all-new 505-hp 2.9L bi-turbo intercooled V-6, carbon fiber hood, roof and rear spoiler, adaptive performance suspension, DNA Pro with Race Mode, torque vectoring, carbon fiber active aero front splitter, carbon fiber interior accents, 3D Navigation and much more •Giulia and Giulia Ti go on sale in January 2017 with an MSRP of $37,995 and $39,995, respectively •Giulia Quadrifoglio goes on sale this month with an MSRP of $72,000 December 8, 2016 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Alfa Romeo today announced pricing for the highly anticipated 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia lineup. “The all-new Giulia is the result of our 105 years of passion for Italian style, craftsmanship and performance,” said Reid Bigland, Head of Alfa Romeo. “Crafted in Italy, the Giulia lineup sets an entirely new benchmark for the segment as the world’s fastest four-door production sedan, featuring class-leading engines, an all-new exclusive architecture, stunning design and state-of-the art technology, available starting from $37,995 MSRP.” Built around the driver, Alfa Romeo Giulia designers focused on simplistic elegance, with an emphasis on incorporating the essential elements for performance. Inside, Giulia’s high level of craftsmanship starts with an asymmetric-styled instrument panel, featuring a driver-focused cockpit crafted with an array of available leathers with accent stitching, plus trim bezels in aluminum, wood or carbon fiber – all for a bespoke look that could only be crafted in Italy. A Formula-1-inspired steering wheel features a thick-rim profile that transmits the chassis’ direct-steering feel and neatly groups the vehicle controls and the engine start button. Behind the steering wheel, the Giulia features a full-color 7-inch thin-film transistor (TFT) instrument cluster straddled by two large white-on-black face analog gauges. Giulia Quadrifoglio stands as the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car ever with its 2.9L bi-turbo V-6 engine producing a class-leading 505 horsepower and 443 lb.-ft. of torque. The Giulia and Giulia Ti models feature an all-new, all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbo engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission delivering a class-leading, standard 280 hp and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. With its muscular proportions and a pure design ethos of passion, lightness and simplistic elegance clothing its class-leading technical layout with near perfect 50/50 weight balance, the all-new 2017 Giulia exudes stunning and functional Italian style with a finesse of Alfa Romeo heritage, athletically taut lines and sculptural details. 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia •Manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) for the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia is $37,995 (excluding $995 destination) •Optional Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system available for $2,000 MSRP •Alfa Romeo Giulia features an all-new, all-aluminum, 2.0-liter, direct-injection turbocharged engine that generates a class-leading, standard 280 horsepower and 306 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, Giulia launches from 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds, on the way to a top speed of 149 mph •The all-new, well-equipped Alfa Romeo Giulia comes standard with leather seats, 10-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar, bi-xenon headlamps with signature LED daytime running lights and LED tail lamps, dual exhaust, back-up camera with dynamic gridlines and rear park sensors, bright chrome window trim surround, remote proximity sensor with push button start, remote start, 7-inch full-color TFT display and much, much more •Available Sport Exterior Package ($1,250 MSRP) adds unique front and rear fascias, 18-inch aluminum sport wheels, gloss black window trim surround and colored brake calipers 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti •MSRP for the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Ti model is $39,995 (excluding $995 destination) •Optional Q4 AWD system available for $2,000 MSRP •In addition to the expansive list of standard features in the all-new Giulia, Giulia Ti adds even more luxury and convenience offerings, including standard 18-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents, an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display, SiriusXM, heated steering wheel, heated front seats and more •Available Ti Sport and Ti Lusso packages (priced at $2,250 MSRP each) provide drivers with two unique offerings that further accentuate the bold characteristics of Giulia Ti •Ti Sport adds unique front and rear sport fascias, 19-inch dark 5-hole aluminum wheels, gloss black window trim surround, colored brake calipers, 14-way front power sport leather seats, including 4-way lumbar and power side bolsters, along with manual thigh extenders, sport leather steering wheel and aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters •Ti Lusso includes Luxury Pieno Fiore Italian leather seats with cannelloni inserts, 12-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar, leather-wrapped dash and upper door trim with accent stitching, genuine wood trim in dark grey oak or light walnut, luxury steering wheel and more •Ti Performance Package adds an adaptive performance suspension, mechanical limited slip differential and aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio •MSRP for the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio model is $72,000 (excluding $1,595 destination) •Includes the iconic hand-painted Quadrifoglio (four-leaf clover) badge that is symbolic of legendary Alfa Romeo race cars and high-performance production cars •As the “halo” model in the lineup, Giulia Quadrifoglio highlights Alfa Romeo’s motorsport knowhow with an all-new, best-in-class, 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine that earns the title of the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car engine ever and the quickest with a class-leading 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, plus it enabled a record-setting 7:32 Nürburgring lap time – the fastest ever by a four-door production sedan •Giulia Quadrifoglio also includes unique exterior styling, carbon fiber hood, roof, rear spoiler and side sill insert, carbon fiber active aero front splitter, DNA Pro with Race Mode and adjustable performance suspension, 19-inch aluminum wheels with Brembo brakes, high-performance leather seats with 14-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar, leather-wrapped dash and doors with accent stitching, carbon fiber interior trim and much more All three Giulia models offer: •Near perfect 50/50 weight distribution, segment-leading torsional rigidity and the most direct steering ratio on the market, thanks to Giulia’s all-new, rear-wheel-drive Giorgio architecture •Unique Italian style and craftsmanship to the premium mid-size sedan segment •A 55-year heritage of Giulia’s lightweight, performance sedan tradition and more than 105 years of brand history, carving its legend on road courses around the globe Global recognition Since its reveal, the Alfa Romeo Giulia has captured several third-party accolades, including: •Top Gear Magazine: Giulia Quadrifoglio named ‘Car of the Year’ •The Car Connection: Giulia named “2017 Driver’s Choice Award for Best New Luxury Car” •Hispanic Motor Press: Giulia Named 2017 Auto del Año© (Car of the Year) in Mid-size Sedan Segment •Auto Bild and Bild am Sonntag: Giulia named the most beautiful car of 2016 as it wins “Golden Steering Wheel” •Italian Union of Motoring Journalists: Giulia wins “Auto Europa 2017” award •2016 Miami International Auto Show: Quadrifoglio named “Star of the Show” Giulia and Giulia Ti models The 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Giulia Ti have entered the market to continue a 55-year nameplate heritage of high-performance sport sedans. The Giulia Ti honors the historic Turismo Internazionale sport sedan racing class, which was dominated by Alfa Romeo in decades past. Today, the all-new Giulia and Giulia Ti are the resulting product of over 105 years of Alfa Romeo history, innovation and experience, all combined to deliver a class-leading driving machine with unmistakable Italian style. The all-new 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Giulia Ti radiate this Italian style, craftsmanship and performance through a comprehensive list of standard features, which include an all-new, all-aluminum 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged and intercooled engine delivering a class-leading standard 280 horsepower and 306 lb. ft. of torque, DNA Mode featuring Dynamic, Natural and Advanced Efficiency modes, 8-speed automatic transmission, class-exclusive carbon fiber driveshaft, dual exhaust with bright tips, 4-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Electronic Stability Control and eight airbags. Additional standard features include bi-xenon headlamps with LED daytime running lights, LED tail lights, bright chrome window trim surround, keyless entry with proximity sensor, remote start and 17-inch aluminum wheels. On the inside, Giulia features standard leather seating, 10-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar, driver memory system, piano black accent trim, flat-bottom leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated F1-inspired push button start, ambient lighting, 7-inch TFT, 6.5-inch infotainment system with rotary controller, rear back-up camera with dynamic grid lines and rear park sensors, 8-speaker audio system, dual zone automatic climate control and more. In addition to the expansive list of standard features in the all-new Giulia, Giulia Ti adds even more luxury and convenience offerings, including standard 18-inch wheels, genuine wood interior accents, an 8.8-inch widescreen infotainment display along with heated steering wheel and heated front seats, while available Sport and Lusso packages further add to the performance and style of Giulia Ti. When equipped with optional Q4 AWD system, Giulia and Giulia Ti models deliver even more all-season traction and performance capability thanks to the system’s ability to transfer up to 60 percent of the 2.0-liter direct-injection all-aluminum turbo engine’s torque to the front axle. Giulia Ti also offers drivers three key packages, providing drivers a unique collection of available features that further accentuate the bold Alfa Romeo characteristics: •Ti Sport adds unique front and rear sport fascias, 19-inch dark 5-hole aluminum wheels, gloss black window trim surround, colored brake calipers, 14-way front power sport leather seats, including 4-way lumbar and power side bolsters, along with manual thigh extenders, sport leather steering wheel, aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters •Ti Lusso includes Luxury Pieno Fiore Italian leather seats with cannelloni inserts, 12-way power front seats including 4-way lumbar, leather-wrapped dash and upper door trim with accent stitching, genuine wood trim in dark grey oak or light walnut, luxury steering wheel and more •Ti Performance Package adds an adaptive performance suspension, mechanical limited slip differential and aluminum column-mounted paddle shifters Giulia Quadrifoglio Bearing the iconic Quadrifoglio badge, the all-new Giulia Quadrifoglio embodies the essence of Alfa Romeo’s motorsport legacy. The beating heart of this ultra-high-performance sedan is an all-aluminum direct-injection 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine, delivering a best-in-class 505 horsepower, as well as earning the title of the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car engine ever and the quickest with a class-leading 0-60 miles per hour (mph) acceleration in 3.8 seconds. Combined with an 8-speed automatic with column-mounted paddle shifters, which shifts in less than 100 milliseconds, the culmination of these performance attributes is a record-setting time at the Nürburgring of 7:32, making the Giulia the fastest four-door production sedan in the world. The Giulia Quadrifoglio achieves these unprecedented figures with exclusive enhancements for ultimate performance. The carbon fiber hood, roof, rocker panel moldings, rear deck-lid spoiler, and segment-exclusive drive shaft and active aero front splitter combine with aluminum body components for maximum weight savings. The 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 supplies its 505 horses to the 19-inch staggered aluminum wheels (19 x 8.5-inch front and 19 x 10-inch rear), wrapped with Pirelli P Zero Corsa three-season high-performance tires, through a torque vectoring differential, for increased performance in every corner and on every straight away. Harnessing the immense power of the Giulia Quadrifoglio is a high-performance brake-by-wire Integrated Brake System with Brembo six-piston front and four-piston rear calipers. Available ultra-high-performance Brembo carbon-ceramic material (CCM) brakes deliver a 50-percent weight reduction while enabling 60-0 mph stopping performance in an impressive 102 feet. The performance of the Giulia Quadrifoglio is foreshadowed by its uniquely elegant, yet aggressive, sense of Italian style. High-performance front and rear fascias exude the Giulia Quadrifoglio’s confidence, backed by over 105 years of Alfa Romeo legacy. Flanking the iconic “Trilobe” grille, bi-xenon headlamps with auto-leveling technology stare in the face of the competition. Sculpted, athletic lines and a powerful stance make the Giulia Quadrifoglio as pleasing to look at as it is to drive. Inside, the Giulia Quadrifoglio includes performance front leather and Alcantara® seats, featuring 14-way power, including 4-way lumbar and power bolsters and front adjustable thigh support. Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber Sparco® racing seats are also available to provide maximum lateral support during extreme cornering. Further interior features include Quadrifoglio-exclusive leather-wrapped steering wheel with column-mounted aluminum paddle shifters, leather-wrapped instrument panel with accent stitching and genuine carbon fiber interior accents. Other advanced technology features unique to the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio include the four-mode Alfa DNA Pro Drive Mode Selector that adds Race mode, Quadrifoglio-tuned adaptive suspension, Quadrifoglio instrument cluster with 200 mph speedometer and engine cylinder deactivation system. Other standard Quadrifoglio features include 3D Navigation, Blind-spot Monitoring and Rear Cross Path detection. Ultra-high performance options further optimize the lightweight design and track-proven capabilities of Giulia Quadrifoglio: •Ultra-lightweight carbon fiber Sparco racing seats provide maximum lateral support during extreme cornering thanks to more aggressive bolstering, and are designed to be the lightest in the segment, while providing comfort for long road trips •Ultra-high-performance Brembo CCM brake system features six-piston front and four-piston rear aluminum monoblock front brake calipers with two-piece 15.4-inch (390 mm) front and 14.2-inch (360 mm) rear CCM rotors. The CCM rotor design delivers a 50-percent weight reduction compared to cast iron discs, further reducing unsprung mass to improve handling, while enabling a 60-0 mph stopping performance in an impressive 102 feet About Alfa Romeo Since its foundation in Milan, Italy, in 1910, Alfa Romeo continues to design and craft some of the most stunning and exclusive cars in automotive history, all while building on a racing heritage that includes some of the most talented and storied drivers and victories. Crafted by Alfa Romeo artisans at the Cassino plant in Italy, the all-new 2018 Stelvio lineup is a testament to Alfa Romeo’s perfect balance of engineering and emotion, creating a premium mid-size SUV for driving enthusiasts that stands out in one of the largest and fastest growing segments in the U.S. Born from the world’s greatest driving road – Stelvio Pass – the all-new 2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio sets a new benchmark in performance, style and technology in an SUV that could only be Italian. The innovative Q4 all-wheel-drive (AWD) system – standard on all Stelvio models, including the Quadrifoglio, provides additional driving confidence and superior control. Infused with Italian passion, craftsmanship and innovation, the all-new Alfa Romeo Stelvio will conquer the winding road for which it is named. As the first of a new generation of vehicles on an all-new platform, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia and Giulia Ti models embody Alfa Romeo’s La meccanica delle emozioni (the mechanics of emotion) spirit, delivering race-inspired performance with a class-leading 280 horsepower, advanced technologies that include the available Q4 all-wheel-drive system, seductive Italian style and an exhilarating driving experience to the premium mid-size sedan segment. As the “halo” model in the lineup, Giulia Quadrifoglio highlights Alfa Romeo’s motorsport knowhow with a best-in-class, 505-horsepower, 2.9-liter bi-turbo V-6 engine that earns the title of the most powerful Alfa Romeo production car engine ever and the quickest with a class-leading 0-60 mph time of 3.8 seconds, plus it enabled a record-setting Nürburgring lap time of 7:32 – the fastest ever by a four-door production sedan. The handcrafted 2017 Alfa Romeo 4C Coupe represents the purest form of La meccanica delle emozioni, with its race-inspired, mid-engine design and state-of-the-art, Formula 1-inspired carbon fiber monocoque chassis that enables an incredible power-to-weight ratio and with advanced technologies, including the all-aluminum 1750 turbocharged and intercooled engine with direct-injection and dual variable-valve timing, which enables supercar-level performance, including 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds. Follow Alfa Romeo brand news and video on: Website: www.alfaromeo.com Newsroom: FCA US Media Website Facebook: Alfa Romeo USA Instagram: @alfaromeousa Twitter: @alfaromeousa
Nick Gibbs Automotive News Europe | November 16, 2016 18:30 CET -- UPDATED: Nov. 16 23:45 CET - adds details LOS ANGELES --
Alfa Romeo today unveiled the Stelvio, its first SUV, promising that its performance and driving dynamics will be better than rivals such as the Porsche Macan. The Stelvio will enter a booming segment for premium midsize SUVs. Its success will be key to reviving the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brand's sales in the U.S. and in its home region of Europe. Alfa premiered the high-performance Quadrifoglio version of the Stelvio at the auto show here. The variant uses the same 505-hp turbocharged gasoline engine as the range-topping version of the Giulia midsize sedan. Alfa described the Stelvio Quadrifoglio's performance as "staggering." The car's 2.9-liter V-6 turbocharged engine is "Ferrari inspired," it said. The engine uses the same bore and stroke dimensions as Ferrari's V-8 engine and was designed by Gianluca Pivetti, a former Ferrari engineer. Alfa said it gave the Stelvio Quadrifoglio more power than the top-performing Macan, which offers 440 hp, in a bid to claim that it has the fastest conventionally powered SUV in the segment.
Alfa says the Stelvio Quadrifoglio can go 0 to 60 mph (0 to 97 kph) in 3.9 seconds. Porsche's fastest Macan goes 0 to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, according to the automaker's U.S. website. Alfa has given the Stelvio Quadrifoglio a sportier design than the standard variant. Its styling tweaks include carbon-trimmed side skirts, front intakes to feed air to the engine intercoolers and four tailpipes. As a result of the changes to the regular car, the Quadrifoglio "looks more like a sports sedan than a traditional SUV in this segment," Alfa said in a statement. The Stelvio Quadrifoglio has a four-wheel-drive system called Q4 that directs power to the rear wheels in most conditions. When the car detects wheel-slip, it can then send up to 60 percent of available power to the front wheels. Power through the rear wheels can also be varied to either side via a torque vectoring system that aids performance and traction, Alfa said. Other technology includes a braking system that combines electronic stability control with a traditional brake booster that the brand says improves braking performance. Both this and the torque vectoring system are also available on the Giulia. The Stelvio lineup will include a mid-range performance version using a 280-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. In Europe the car also will be available with versions of Alfa’s new 2.2-liter diesel. Their power outputs were not disclosed. The Stelvio was named for Italy's highest mountain pass, a road famous for its challenging driving conditions. The Stelvio is the second car after the Giulia to be launched on the Giorgio rear-wheel-drive platform that Alfa says will eventually underpin eight separate models.
A smaller SUV will be next off the largely steel platform, media reports say. Alfa Romeo described the Stelvio's design as uncluttered and "distinctly Italian." The brand admitted in 2014 that its recent cars had not been true to its heritage and vowed to return to building vehicles that blended performance, style and driving ability. The Stelvio will provide Alfa Romeo with an "opportunity for volume," analyst IHS Markit said. It said the model is crucial for U.S. sales because the premium midsize SUV/crossover segment where it will compete is the most popular premium price-class segment. The Stelvio measures 4680mm long, 1650mm tall and 2160mm wide. Also among its competitors will be the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Mercedes GLC. The Stelvio will go on sale in Europe in the first quarter of 2017. U.S. sales will start in the second quarter of next year. The SUV is built on the same platform as the Giulia and will be produced in the same factory in Cassino, Italy.