► Alfa Romeo prepares eight new cars
► Two crossovers, two estates…
► … plus sports cars and new hatches
Alfa Romeo is at a crucial juncture in its comeback plan. The new Giulia is launching now, to a generally warm reception. But behind the scenes the chiefs in Turin are working around the clock to prepare the next batch of eight new Alfas to keep up the pressure on the established - mainly Germanic - competition.
There’s a brace of crossovers, a Giulia estate and not one, but two new Giuliettas on the drawing board. If they get it right, might this product onslaught be enough to propel Alfa back to the good times? We’re about to find out. Read our scoop dossier for the full story.
Two new Alfa Romeo crossovers
Putting even more pressure on the team is the smaller of two crossovers, which is due to go into production later in 2016 after an expected world debut at the Paris motor show. Two major new products within six months? That's a logistical and production challenge for any car maker, let alone smaller Alfa.
The compact crossover, potentially badged Stelvio or Kamal and codenamed Tipo 949, is in the mould of the Merc GLC and BMW X4. No boxy 4x4 ugliness here, promise Alfisti types. A range of four- and six-cylinder engines is expected.
Then in 2018 its big brother, a full-size Alfa SUV, is due. The company simply cannot ignore the market’s insatiable appetite for crossovers.
The Giulia station wagon
Following this year’s launch of the Giulia saloon, we’ll see the 3-series-rivalling station wagon in 2017.
It will add a sleek, sporting estate car rump to the four-door’s silhouette. We hear it’ll have better load-lugging ability than the yesteryear 159 shooting brake, which famously had less boot space than its saloon counterpart!
**UPDATE: February 2017 - Alfa's had a change of heart, and cancelled its Giulia Sportwagon plans. Click here for the full story **
A new Alfa Romeo Giulietta too
If you needed proof that Alfa is serious about its comeback, check out the plans for the Golf-baiting Giulietta. The successor will have two versions: in addition to the Giulietta hatchback, product planning has signed off a compact sportwagon - a risky decision in view of the proximity to the potentially more popular and profitable Giulia estate.
The marque apparently needs the volume generated in Europe’s hottest segment which is also growing in the US and China. The so-called C-segment continues to provide a growing share of profits and sales.
Cost remains a Damocles sword that hovers over every strategic decision. Should Alfa go down the cheap route and replace the Giulietta with fresh bodystyles crafted onto an evolutionary front-wheel drive platform? Or should the entry-level models also be based on the more advanced, but more expensive, RWD/AWD Giorgio construction kit?
Although time is running out, a decision - likely to be in favour of Giorgio - will have to wait until summer 2017, according to CAR’s sources.
Sports cars: a distant dream on the wishlist
A definite must-have for Alfa Romeo is a new sports car. Since the proposed Mazda MX-5 spin-off was diverted to Fiat and Abarth, the stage is wide open for a standalone Alfa coupe and a spider competing in the same size and price bracket as the overweight and underpowered Brera.
This promising pair of fun cars is expected to become available in late 2020 or early 2021. And, yes, they’re likely to feature the same rear-wheel drive platform as the rest of the Alfa range. Let’s just hope they sizzle in the looks and dynamics departments as much as an Alfa sports car should…
Farewell Alfetta: the 166 successor is dumped
No longer part of the future Alfa line-up is the full-size saloon known as Alfetta. Although notchbacks do well in many markets, the volumes are claimed not to add up, and the brand probably does not need a three-box model in the highly competitive A6/5series/E-class mould.
Read CAR magazine's Alfa Romeo reviews here