► F1-inspired Alfa Romeo supercar draws near
► Unveiled on 30 August 2023, on sale mid-decade
► Swansong farewell to twin-turbo V6
The 2024 Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale supercar has now been unveiled – but you can chart how CAR magazine broke the story more than a year ago in our scoop story here.
The new Alfa Romeo supercar is an important milestone for the brand, which always relies on its athletic DNA, despite not consistently having a sports car in its range.
Alfa had earlier hinted that the supercar might be called 6C, dropping hints on its social media channels about this historically significant potential name.
This graphic below, dropped at the end of an official Alfa Romeo Instagram video, is purportedly a hint that the 6C badge is being lined up for the mid-engined supercar expected in the next few months. The name has been trailed in recent weeks with hashtags #Courage #Creation and #Converge.
The CEO of Alfa Romeo, Jean-Philippe Imparato, is launching the supercar depicted in our artist’s impression in the gallery to reflect how his strategy has clawed the car maker back into the black.
The project was first revealed by CAR magazine in mid-2022 and the chief exec describes the range-topper as ‘a very exciting, very selective, very expensive’ sports car.
His comments ramp up excitement in the new Alfa Romeo supercar – seen as a swansong for its brilliant twin-turbo V6 engine and a move to take a flavour of its Formula 1 team onto the road.
A dream that comes from the top
Brand CEO Imparato is determined to deliver some Alfa Romeo halo cars. ‘I absolutely have two dreams: 33 Stradale and Dueto,’ he told CAR back in January 2022. ‘If one day, I’m able to say okay, “Alfa Romeo is secure now”. [Then] Dueto and 33 Stradale are my favourite options for the future. I would like to bring [them] onto the market. We can dream…’
CAR has already scooped the electric Dueto – a successor to the famed 1960s Spider – one of 10 projects ‘on the table’ according to Imparato.
And a follow-up to the 33 Stradale (above)? That’s one of the most beautiful Alfas in history, which used the mid-engined chassis and V8 engine of the Tipo 33 racing car. In 1967, Franco Scaglione designed a clean, curvaceous and utterly stunning body for the roadgoing Stradale version. Only 18 were built.
An electric or petrol-powered supercar?
Imparato has decreed that Alfa Romeo will only release electric cars from 2025 – which means any petrol-powered supercar needs to arrive quickly. Revealing a new halo car in 2023 would be in line with the hints of head of design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos: ‘We will surprise you. Maybe. At some point. Soon,’ he teases.
Could it be electric? Lotus is working on mid-engined electric cars which stack battery modules vertically behind the driver in what it calls a ‘chest’ design. But Mesonero-Romanos has ruled out such an approach from Alfa Romeo, using Stellantis’s new STLA electric platforms.
CAR magazine directly asked the design chief whether Alfa would deliver a petrol-powered halo car, to be met with a grin and a shrug. ‘I think you know what that means, but I’m not saying anything,’ he replied enigmatically.
Alfa has a sensational engine in the 503bhp, twin-turbo V6 developed for the Giulia and Stelvio Quadrifoglio. It’s also been extended to 533bhp for the stripped-out Giulia GTAm supersaloon (below).
The base engine would be sensational in a lightweight supercar – adding electric modules would be expensive and complicated, though a V6 hybrid would offer some symmetry with the F1 racer’s drivetrain. Also, Ferrari F1 supplies the Alfa’s engine – and former Ferrari engineers worked on the Giulia’s V6 too.
Will the Sauber F1 operation be involved?
Since 2019 Alfa Romeo has partnered in Formula 1 with the Sauber Formula 1 team. Alfa CEO Imparato reviews continuation in F1 annually, but he sees true links between the series and his road-car operation.
‘Formula 1 is a kind of parallel with [where] Alfa Romeo wants to be today and new product,’ he told CAR. ‘It’s consistent with my history, because Alfa has been living since 1910, in a world of performance and in the world of Formula 1. It’s totally consistent with my DNA and the only motorsport discipline that [stretches] worldwide is F1.’
And Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos has strong links with the Sauber operation, with design sharing an office building with Cristiano Fiore who’s in charge of the Formula One Motorsport operation. ‘We do some work with Sauber,’ he says.’ We have a business in common.’
Alfa Romeo road cars have been tested in Sauber’s wind tunnel – and it would be perfect for honing the aerodynamics of a future supercar. We will find out for sure on 30 August 2023.
A carbonfibre chassis?
Alfa Romeo announced plans for a new mid-engined supercar in 2018, in the Fiat-Chrysler era. But this was shelved when Alfa’s comeback sales did not keep up with expectations.
Now Stellantis is in charge, and development work could be restarted. It was due to use a carbonfibre monocoque chassis and wear carbon body panels, and the mid-engined 4C of 2014 also had a carbon chassis. There’s also more carbonfibre know-how in sister brand Maserati with its MC20 supercar, and the Sauber F1 team.
The aborted Alfa supercar was tipped to combine the twin-turbo V6 (above) with an electrified front axle, to give all-wheel drive. Imparato told CAR in 2022 that his preference is for rear-wheel drive Alfa sports cars – unless that compromises performance. ‘Why not rear-wheel drive if I have the performance? If not, I prefer to be all-wheel drive.’
Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos joined Alfa Romeo in summer 2021, and because he inherited the Tonale SUV he has yet to reveal his design philosophy.
But the ex-Seat/Cupra designer has outlined his intentions to CAR: he wants his Alfas to trigger an instant emotional and ‘visceral’ response. ‘When you talk about Alfa Romeo, about Italian, about emotions, [I want people to think]: “I love it, I love it!” This is the main thing, which is very easy to say but very difficult to do.’
Like all designers, Mesonero-Romanos (above) is obsessed with great proportions, and wants his Alfa Romeos to nimble-looking with clean surfacing.
‘Alfa Romeo used to be daring and very progressive; just think of the BAT models from Scaglione which were really at the forefront of innovation. And during the ‘80s, Alfa became not so daring, I would say. I want to come back again to this daring attitude, to make sure we are progressive.’
One thing’s for sure: the mid-engined supercar won’t be retro – even if it’s a spiritual successor to the 33 Stradale.
‘I loved the Alfa Romeo Montreal from Gandini. But if I had to do something like that again, I wouldn’t bring necessarily those elements. [Instead] I will try to think about the spirit of a car – in this case one that was very horizontal, very agile. I will try to analyse what is its spirit, what inspires me and then from there given all the constraints that we have in a new project, I try to build it into a new philosophy to make sure that the feeling is the same.’
‘Our cars are going to be daring. But don’t expect retro cars – our cars are going to be full Alfa Romeo.’
And nothing would be more full Alfa Romeo than a new, F1-inspired supercar.
Read our Alfa Romeo reviews