Alfa Romeo’s future model range is set to be topped by a large sedan or SUV from 2027 – bringing plans announced more than a decade prior to fruition.
Alfa Romeo is developing a new flagship electric car for launch in five years’ time – but the company is yet to decide if it will be a sedan or SUV.
Speaking to global media including Reuters and Autocar on Friday, Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato confirmed a new flagship model will be developed in the US for launch in 2027 – the same year the company’s model range is due to go electric-only.
“Our offer for a large size vehicle must fit international markets – American, Chinese, European,” Imparato told media, as quoted by Reuters.
“Knowing that the DNA of Alfa Romeo is [sedan] and sportiness, the answer will probably not be an SUV,” said Imparato, as quoted by Autocar.
“I want to reinvent sportiness for the 21st century, providing a high level of range and a high level of performance while also protecting the customer in terms of roominess – but without destroying the aerodynamics, which is a key driver of our future development.
“At some point in time, we will have to evolve the concept of what an SUV is in 2027. But for me, aero means a [sedan of sorts], which ties into Alfa’s DNA,” he told Autocar.
“We want to find the right mix,” he said. “It’s a decision we will take by the end of this year,” he said, via Reuters.
The car will reportedly be developed in the United States – likely to be a first for the brand, which Reuters reports will help “[tailor] the design for overseas markets” – however it will be sold globally.
“I highly value that we’re selling cars in America and China and Asia. If I want to be consistent, firstly we go premium and secondly we go everywhere in the world, then I have to be present in the premium ‘E’ [large car] segment.”
It remains to be seen if the car is built in the US, with Reuters citing Imparato: “Producing in the US is not something we have decided and it is something we don’t want to decide now.”
All current Alfa Romeo models are built in Italy – something emphasised by former parent company Fiat Chrysler, when a proposed Alfa Romeo-badged version of the Mazda MX-5 roadster was scrapped and passed to Fiat to become the 124 Spider, as the car would not be built in Italy.
“One of the key points for the new [company] strategy is that Alfa Romeo will be made in Italy … the use of a platform that has been developed elsewhere, and because the car would be manufactured outside of Italy, was the main point in deviating from this project,” Alfa Romeo design chief Lorenzo Ramaciotti told Drive in 2015.
Confirmation of a new large car for 2027 follows comments from Alfa CEO Imparato in March, when he told the Netherlands’ AutoWeek that two large flagship models were in the works.
“I haven’t told anyone before, but since we want to be the global premium brand of Stellantis and because everyone in the world knows our brand, I want to bring a high-end SUV to the market,” Imparato said.
“How exactly are we going to shape that is another question, but above a D-segment [mid-size] model, there will also be an E-segment [large] car with very high performance.
“We are going for the most profitable segment, targeting models such as BMW’s X5, X6, and the 7 Series. That decision was made recently, and with that we can also target growth markets like China.”
The new large car will be electric – like all Alfa Romeos globally from 2027 – and is likely to be based on the STLA Large platform, currently being developed by Alfa’s newly-formed parent company Stellantis.
This architecture can support battery packs with capacities between 101kWh and 118kWh, electric motors developing between 125kW and 330kW each, all-electric driving ranges up to 800km, and 0-100km/h sprint times as low as two seconds.
Alfa Romeo fans will recall this latest announcement is not the first time a new large sedan or SUV has been confirmed by the Italian brand.
A five-year new-model roadmap announced in 2014 was planned to see a new large car launch between 2016 and 2018 – alongside two SUVs during the same period, one of which was likely to be a large BMW X5-sized offering.
Come 2018, both large models were nowhere to be seen. Alfa Romeo’s latest five-year plan (2018 to 2022) had dropped plans for a standalone large car, opting instead of a long-wheelbase, China-oriented version of the mid-size Giulia – though plans for the large SUV remained.
A subsequent update to the company’s future product plans in 2019 saw both enlarged models scrapped, in favour of updated versions of the mid-size, standard-wheelbase Giulia sedan and Stelvio SUV – plus two small SUVs, initially earmarked for 2021 and 2022 launches (but were later delayed).
Information seen by Drive suggests work on the long-wheelbase Giulia had commenced when the 2018 product roadmap was announced, with prototypes being tested with 48-volt mild-hybrid systems.
Under new owners Stellantis, Alfa Romeo has plans to show or introduce one new model every one to two years – commencing in 2022, with the Tonale small SUV (branded as a “C-segment” car in Europe), due in Australian showrooms in the first half of 2023.
The smaller of the two baby SUVs announced in 2019 is finally slated to arrive in 2023 or 2024 – a year or two later than planned – and is expected to become Alfa Romeo’s first electric car.
Replacements for the current Giulia and Stelvio are expected to follow after 2025.
Alfa Romeo CEO Imparato told media including Reuters and Autocar on the same call last week the company will reveal a new sports car in the first half of 2023, inspired by the iconic 33 Stradale of the late 1960s.
While the car shown early next year is expected to be a concept, rumours suggest it may evolve into a limited-run production model by 2025, as Alfa Romeo’s last newly-introduced petrol car before it goes fully electric from 2027.
“For the moment, I have two scenarios: full [internal combustion engined, without hybrid tech] or full [electric]. I can tell you it will be very exciting, very selective and very expensive,” said Imparato, as quoted by Autocar.
“You will see something in that field in terms of sportiness in the first half of 2023. We use one word to define the brand and it is sportiness.”
“I can say yes [it will be inspired by the 33 Stradale], but I can’t say anything else. We have so many fantastic ideas based on our iconic history,” he added, likely referencing his previously-announced desire to revive the iconic ‘Duetto’ Spider of the 1960s.