Alfa Romeo Readying an SUV for the Nuclear Family: Report

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

We’re talking one of those 1950s Leave It To Beaver-type families, not those downsized 1980s-onward broods. Yes, the range-topping utility vehicle under development by Fiat Chrysler’s sporty Alfa Romeo division will likely boast three rows and seven seats, according to UK publication Autocar.

It’s far removed from the diminutive Alfas of yesteryear, such as the 2000 GT Veloce driven by the titular character in Shaft In Africa, but it’s necessary to seduce the space-hungry American market. It’s also just one of several new products expected to be announced by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne next month.

According to Autocar, the big announcement will come at FCA’s Balocco, Italy test track ( formerly the Alfa Romeo proving grounds).

There, Marchionne will announce a new, larger SUV based on the Stelvio platform and weighing roughly 450 pounds more than its smaller stablemate, the publication reports. Key to getting the heavier vehicle up to speed is a 48-volt electrical system aiding a mild hybrid drivetrain and electric turbocharger. The on-sale date should arrive in late 2019.

Joining the new SUV in the Alfa lineup is a model we’ve already told you about, but which isn’t yet confirmed. A Giulia coupe takes the longed-for (but problem plagued) sedan and lop offs two doors, with more than one performance hybrid powertrain on offer. A five-door sportback remains a possibility. At Alfa, hybridized engines aren’t looking to save the planet — they’re only there to add extra grunt when the driver nails the throttle, saving Alfa the expense of developing costly new engines.

It’s believed the new powertrains adopt a Formula One-style energy recovery system derived from the LaFerrari. Displacement of the existing 2.0- and 2.9-liter Giulia engines would remain the same. Power gains, at least under heavy loads, would skyrocket, from 276 brake horsepower in the stock turbo four to 345 in the mild hybrid version. The twin-turbo V6 could make as much as 641 combined bhp.

Making the greatest use of the Giulia and Stelvio’s Giorgio platform is key to FCA’s global ambitions for the resurgent Alfa brand. The slow roll-out of new models didn’t deliver the early sales figures once predicted by Marchionne, and China proved a thorn in FCA’s side. Still, the brand grew 62 percent, globally, in 2017. Thanks to greater availability of the Giulia and the recent appearance of the Stelvio, the brand’s U.S. volume grew 328 percent in the U.S. over the first four months of 2018. (That’s 7,639 vehicles, for those of you counting — over 2,000 more than the downward-pointing Fiat brand sold in the same time frame.)

[Image: Alfa Romeo]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on May 14, 2018

    +1000 for the Shaft in Africa mention. The movie starts with Shaft coming back to his Alfa after a morning run, to find some guy stealing the hubcaps off of it.

  • AlfaRomasochist AlfaRomasochist on May 14, 2018

    As a certified Alfa nut with 4 kids this is right in my wheelhouse. If it ends up being at least as good to drive as our old CX-9 but with Giulia / Stelvio styling this will be hard to resist.

  • Jeff Self driving cars are not ready for prime time.
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  • MKizzy Why else does range matter? Because in the EV advocate's dream scenario of a post-ICE future, the average multi-car household will find itself with more EVs in their garages and driveways than places to plug them in or the capacity to charge then all at once without significant electrical upgrades. Unless each vehicle has enough range to allow for multiple days without plugging in, fighting over charging access in multi-EV households will be right up there with finances for causes of domestic strife.