The Giulia Sport Wagon may have disappeared from Alfa Romeo's product plans, but Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says Alfa -- which is launching its first crossover, the Stelvio -- will soon have two more crossovers. Marchionne, speaking at FCA's Balocco test track in Italy with the brand's Instagram followers, said: "Two Alfa Romeo models will be added, positioned one below and one above the Stelvio," the Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera reported Feb. 12. The Stelvio shares the Giulia's Giorgio platform and was unveiled in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show. It is expected in U.S. dealerships in the second quarter. Like all Alfa Romeos, the two new crossovers will be built in Italy. Marchionne said in the same interview that one would be made near Turin in "late 2018 -- early 2019." Alfa Romeo brand head Reid Bigland told the British magazine Autocar in November that a Giulia-based Sport Wagon would be revealed next month at the Geneva auto show. But FCA European head Alfredo Altavilla said in January that the Giulia Sport Wagon had been scrapped because it too closely resembled the Stelvio.February 20, 2017 @ 12:01 am Entire contents © Crain Communications, Inc.Use of editorial content without permission is strictly prohibited. All Rights Reserved.
Alfa's relaunch costs will be recouped by platform-sharing with Maserati, Dodge, Jeep, Marchionne says
Nick Gibbs Automotive News Europe | February 2, 2017 12:03 CET
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will offset the high costs of relaunching Alfa Romeo by sharing the brand's Giorgio platform with Maserati, Dodge and Jeep, CEO Sergio Marchionne said. Alfa Romeo lost money last year and will lose money again this year before it gets the benefit of its new models, the Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV, Marchionne told analysts on Jan. 26 after FCA presented its fourth-quarter earnings. He confirmed on the call that other FCA brands will use Alfa's rear-wheel/all-wheel-drive platform. Alfa's relaunch has probably cost the automaker "in excess" of 2.5 billion euros so far, Marchionne said. FCA said in 2014 that it would invest 5 billion euros in relaunching Alfa through 2018, though it later moved the timeframe to 2020. Marchionne said the Giorgio platform was designed to underpin "the whole Maserati development beyond 2018," as well as large Jeeps and the next generation of rear-wheel Dodge vehicles. "The investment in Alfa Romeo and certainly the technical investment in the architecture was something that was designed to benefit more than Alfa," Marchionne said. "I'm happy that we have finally found clarity of thought in the extension of these architectures well beyond Alfa." Alfa launched the Giulia midsize sedan, the first car to use the Giorgio platform, in Europe and the U.S. last year and will begin sales of the Stelvio in the first quarter in Europe and in the second quarter in North America. Marchionne did not specify which models from other FCA brands would use the platform, except to say that it would be used for larger Jeeps. A source familiar with the automaker's plans said Dodge would use a lower-cost version of the platform as a basis for the next Charger performance sedan, Challenger sports car, Journey midsize SUV and Durango large SUV. It could also underpin a new Dodge midsize car based on the Giulia as well as the next Chrysler 300C. Maserati would use an upgraded version of the platform on all its models, including the next Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, GranTurismo and Alfieri sports cars and possibly for a midsize SUV to sit below the Levante, the source said. FCA said in May, 2014, that it would invest 5 billion euros in Alfa Romeo to add eight new models and increase its annual unit sales by nearly a fifth to 400,000 vehicles by 2018. In January of last year, FCA backtracked on Alfa's goals. It presented a new plan that extend the time frame for the brand's original five-year plan by two years to 2020. The new plan had no volume indications for Alfa. The launch dates of Alfa's next models after the Giulia and Stelvio are uncertain. Alfa will begin sales of the Stelvio in the first quarter of this year.
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By Matt Posky on December 22, 2016 Ferrari Alfa F1 2016
FCA and Ferrari boss Sergio Marchionne said that he would love to see Alfa Romeo returning to the Formula 1 Championship with its own team, provided that they are never, ever as good as Scuderia Ferrari. Instead of being a genuine F1 contender, he imagines Alfa as the junior varsity team designed to condition future talent for its big-league brother. “Alfa Romeo in F1 could become a fine breeding ground for young Italian drivers,” Marchionne said after announcing GP2’s Antonio Giovinazzi as Ferrari’s new third driver at the company’s annual Christmas media event. “For that very reason we are thinking about bringing it back, as our competitor, to racing, to Formula One. It’s important for Alfa to return.” Ferrari recently finalized a deal with Giovinazzi, placing the Italian F1 rookie in the shadows of Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. It’s the first time since 2009 that Ferrari has fielded an Italian driver. Alfa Romeo’s return to Formula 1 is a bit of a Catch-22, however. Getting back into high-profile racing would no doubt help boost sales of the brand, but Alfa will first need to sell enough Giorgio platform vehicles to rationalize the expense. According to Motorsport, even a best-case scenario could place the timeline a couple of racing seasons away. “The problem is that, at the moment, because of the launch of road cars that will come out soon, there already numerous commitments from a financial point of view,” Sergio told reporters. “With the launch of the Giulia and the Stelvio we have to wait for a bit, but I hope to be able to bring it back.” That said, Alfa very nearly managed to get itself onto a starting grid this past year with Red Bull. However the proposal ended up in violation of FIA rules and was scrapped before anything was set in motion. The Italian automaker has not participated in Formula 1 since its abysmal final season in 1985. “The worst car I ever drove was the 1985 Alfa Romeo 185T,” Ricardo Patrese told Motorsport in 2000, “I didn’t get any championship points in in and quite apart from the fact that it was not reliable and competitive, it was also not very nice to drive, because the turbo lag was very uncomfortable.” Embarrassments aside, the brand that helped bring Scuderia into existence might still deserve better than being a training ground for its best drivers. Ferrari has been supplying power units — some with Alfa Romeo badging — to rival teams for a while now. Alfa doesn’t need Ferrari and could technically exist as a standalone operation. “Alfa Romeo are capable of making their own chassis, just as they are capable of making engines,” Sergio told Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper in an interview. The first two Formula One world championships in history were both won by Alfa Romeo cars, piloted by Italian Giuseppe ‘Nino’ Farina and Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio. Enzo Ferrari himself started out racing and managing a team for Alfa before setting up Scuderia in 1939. Now Ferrari just includes a small Alfa logo on the livery of its F1 cars, in an claimed bond of passion, sportiness, and shared values that are supposed to somehow unite them as brothers. “It’s incredible how the Alfa marque remains in people’s hearts,” the Ferrari president said during last year’s conference at the Italian team’s Maranello headquarters. “For that very reason we are thinking about bringing it back, as our competitor, to racing, to Formula One. It’s important for Alfa to return.” [Source: Reuters] [Image: Ferrari]
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.