It’s true that the next 5 years will prove pivotal to how Alfa Romeo places itself in the car market, keeping the momentum going after the 4C with the launch of the new Giulia, the Italian car maker has reminded everyone (yet again) that it really can make beautiful sports cars that drive as good as they look. In taking on the established competition in the junior executive class, the Giulia is setting a standard any future Alfa Romeo’s must not only match but in some cases exceed. With talk of a possible return to F1 after a long abscence, looking likely as a ‘junior team’ to Ferrari, Alfa’s road cars, indeed it’s image, is going to have to continue to rise to the challenge, a task they have begun with the Giulia.
Next up from Alfa will be the Stelvio SUV, which is expected to make its debut at the 2016 Paris Motor Show this October. The five-seat crossover, its first into the very competitive market of the SUV, will use Alfa’s Giulia rear-wheel drive platform from the Giulia and will likely share it’s engine lineup, including the 2.0 litre petrol and a 2.2-litre diesel. A high-performance Qudrifoglio Verde version with Alfa’s 505 horsepower 2.9-liter twin-turbocharged V6 is also rumoured to be in the works. A break from the norm’ for Alfa, the Stelvio has huge importance for the brand, not only will it do battle with the BMW X3, Audi’s Q5 and Mercedes GLC, already well established SUV’s, but take on the Range Rover Evoque, a car with a loyal following which has been on the market a few years enjoying good sales. The Alfa purist’s may not like the idea of an SUV, but times have changed, peoples demands of a car are different to what was expected or wanted 20 years ago, Porsche acknowledged this with the Cayenne, a car that Porsche fans the world over revolted in when it was launched, but it’s success has probably single handed saved Porsche, Alfa finds itself wanting the same with the Stelvio, it should feel confident, early spy photo’s and leaked information on the car certainly indicate that it’s on the right track.
Reports of a a seven-seat Alfa Romeo SUV may be premature right now, as a lot will depend on the success of the Stelvio, but should it happen it may arrive as early as 2018. It would certainly make sense to offer a 7 seater, something not all prestige brands do, therefore creating itself a customer niche.
‘New 166’ – with Alfa Romeo putting itself squarely up against the BMW 3 series with the Giulia, it seems inevitable that a 5 series rival is on the drawing board, not having produced a car of this size since the 166, Alfa Romeo will need to do their research not only in design but that the brand is now strong enough to bring a car like this to market, where it will not only compete against the BMW but also the impressive Jaguar XF and Mercedes E Class, penciled in for 2020 this would be an important car for the Italian marque. An executive saloon has to drive as good as it looks though, not simply be a stretched version of a smaller car, so Alfa will have to do it’s homework, the car will also need to be available as an estate, or ‘sportswagon’, as well as this, a Hybrid version will also need to be available to succeed in this class. Fiat and Maserati have both confirmed hybrid model will be able within 3 years, so we can expect this technology to be shared with Alfa Romeo.
Giulietta replacement; the 5 door stylish hatchback has recently undergone a midlife refreshment, a few tweaks here and there to keep it mixing with the pack. It’s replacement, due in 2018, may get rear wheel drive, the same as the Giulia but a shortened platform, a decision on this isn’t expected until mid 2017, they may still go with front wheel drive though, it not having hindered the success of the current Giulietta, although you have to hope from a driving point of view, RWD will be the option. It’s styling will naturally take cues from it’s bigger sister, the Giulia, gone will be the hidden back door handles, a 3 door version is also under discussion, with thoughts of a high performance version being developed to rival the Focus RS and Golf R32. Alfa Romeo hasn’t took on the established high performance hot hatch market since the 147GTA, but rumours suggest the next Giulietta may be developed with a top of the range performance model in mind.
And what of the 4C? Well reports suggest it will cease to be in 2020, with no replacement expected. To offset this, we can expect a new 2 door GT to be launched in 2018, based on the Giulia, Alfa is planning on the GT to also be available as a convertible, as it continues to develop new models for different markets. A sporty 2 door 4 seater will be a tasty proposition for those normally tempted by other manufacturers.
In between all this, we can expect the Giulia Sportswagon to arrive late 2017, possible offering a 4 wheel drive version, although this version may be held back until the Stelvio has been launched. The MiTo as well is expected to undergo some changes, Alfa has confirmed that for the now the car will stay in it’s range but exactly what a new, now overdue, version will be remains to be seen. If the Stelvio proves a success, can we expect the next MiTo to be a 3 door version of it’s new SUV?
The new model’s certainly prove Alfa Romeo’s intention to push on in it’s plan to reestablish itself as a main player in the prestige and executive markets. What it need’s to do is ensure any delay’s in these cars coming out are avoided, it cannot simply afford to wait, for whatever reason, for new cars to be put back 12-18 months, having laid out it’s plans, with the groundwork done and momentum gathering since the Giulia, Alfa really deliver on it’s promises, if it does this, then it’s going to be a very exciting future for one of the most exciting, charismatic car makers out there.