Sources report Alfa Romeo could pull a strategy U-turn and launch a flagship saloon rival to the BMW 5-series and Mercedes E-class, CAR can reveal. Insiders have confirmed that the E-segment vehicle (read: exec saloon) is sketched in for 2015 arrival, using Maserati underpinnings.
Didn’t Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne kill any Alfa exec saloon rumours last year?
Yes, but times have changed! When CAR interviewed Marchionne in 2012, the Fiat Group boss quelled talk of a successor to the defunct Alfa 166 (pictured, right), saying the brand had to concentrate on replacing the current Mito supermini, Giulietta hatchback and pretty-but-dead 159 saloon. Marchionne told us “I’ve got a lot of work to do in the B, C and D-segments…so I would not expect to do a [bigger] Alfa ‘E’ car for a long, long time.’
Now the plan is back on the table, thanks to the resurgence of another brand in the Fiat stable: Maserati, and its push towards a 50,000 sales per year by 2015 target.
An Alfa-styled saloon on Maserati’s platform? Tell me more…
Alfa’s ‘new 166’ has been fast-tracked thanks to Maserati’s new Ghibli. A sports saloon sitting beneath the Quattroporte limo in the Maserati range, the Ghibli will rival regular established super-saloons, like the BMW M5, Mercedes E63 AMG and Jaguar XFR-S.
The rear-wheel drive Ghibli uses a shortened Quattroporte platform with downsized engines – which Alfa Romeo will borrow to create is very own executive saloon model. It should make for agile driving dynamics, all for a fraction of the cost of developing a bespoke Alfa chassis.
What’s going under the bonnet of the new Alfa Romeo exec saloon?
The new Alfa will share twin-turbocharged V6 petrol and diesel engines with the Ghibli, putting out around 300bhp. For Europe, expect turbocharged MultiAir four-cylinder engines to enter to range, and the option of all-wheel drive (the Ghibli platform has been engineered with 4x4 in mind).
>> Would you be tempted by an Alfa 166-successor instead of the German exec saloons? Click ‘Add your comment’ to sound off