One of the first rumors to come out of the Fiat/Chrysler tie-up was that Alfa-Romeo would replace its expired 166 flagship with a large, RWD sedan based on Chrysler’s updated LX platform. But with Lancia getting its own rebadge of the new Chrysler 300, and a possibly LX/LC-based entry-level Maserati in development, it seems that Alfa’s opportunity for a flagship rear-drive sedan has passed. Auto Motor und Sport reports that, rather than developing a large Alfa flagship, the brand will top out (in sedan terms) with its forthcoming, 159-replacing Giulia front-drive D-segment effort. That might not come as terribly shocking news to the brand faithful, as Alfa’s have been almost exclusively front-drivers for some time… but the fact that no fizzy, crackling Alfa-typical V6 is planned for the brand’s midsized flagship might come as a letdown (instead, look for turbocharged four-bangers making between 120 and 235 HP). All of which is very interesting in light of CEO Sergio Marchionne’s recent diagnosis of Alfa’s woes, in which he argued
I mean it’s got this incredible appeal which goes back, you know, to the time they used to be on the racetrack, and it’s the embodiment of a lot of things which are typically Italian; sportiness, lightweight, and everything else. And what happened is that when Fiat bought them back in the end of ’86 we Fiatized Alfa. Fiat was front-wheel drive; Alfa was rear wheel drive. So now all the Alfas are front-wheel drive. And we put Fiat engines inside the Alfas, and Alfa started losing more and more of its DNA as a car company.