Alfa plots Performance Hybrids

Stelvio could get same new powertrain as the Giulia coupé (inset)

Giulia coupé and large SUV to be confirmed in June and lead electrification strategy

Alfa Romeo is expected to announce a new range of performance hybrid models, as well as a new large SUV, in June.

The plans will be announced at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Balocco test track by Sergio Marchionne, 14 years to the day after he became FCA’s boss.

Besides the new SUV, a vital model for Alfa’s US ambitions, Marchionne is expected to detail plans for a Giulia coupé, as exclusively revealed by Autocar (28 February). The Giulia coupé will be offered with high-performance hybrid drivetrains as well as the conventional engine options provided by the Giulia saloon on which it is based.

The large SUV will be offered with a mild hybrid and an electric turbo using a 48V electrical system. These power boosters will be sufficient to overcome the additional 200kg the car will carry over the Stelvio, whose platform it will share. A seven-seat option could also be offered on the new model, which is expected to go on sale in late 2019.

The Giulia coupé could be offered in both two- and five-door formats, as with the Audi A5 and A5 Sportback. Different bodystyles would significantly widen its appeal. It is slated for a 2019 launch.

The high-performance energy recovery system (ERS) drivetrains are reputedly a development of the HY-KERS powertrain developed by Ferrari and Magneti Marelli for the LaFerrari, and claimed to be more advanced than the systems used in Formula 1.

There are two powertrains said to be under development, one based on the Giulia Veloce’s 276bhp 2.0 turbo petrol engine, the other using the 2.9 V6 turbo of the Giulia Quadrifoglio. The 2.0 version develops around 345bhp combined, and the 2.9 V6 a mighty 641bhp to create the most potent road-going Alfa yet, with an output only 20bhp short of the Ferrari 488.

Although these powertrains are emphatically performance oriented, they promise plenty of scope for improving fuel consumption and reducing emissions. It is also likely that they will be offered in both the Giulia saloon and Stelvio SUV.

These new models should help improve Alfa’s UK sales performance. Despite the boost given by the Giulia and Stelvio, the brand has pulled out of major sales to rental fleets with the Mito and Giulietta, said EMEA marketing boss Roberta Zerbi.



Hilton Holloway

For the past 25 years, the relaunch of Alfa Romeo has been a staple auto news story. But, finally, it looks as if the brand has gained traction.

It’s thought that Alfa sold around 170,000 cars in 2017 – the majority of them the more upmarket and expensive Giulia and Stelvio SUV – a jump of about 60% on 2016.

Unsurprisingly, it’s the Stelvio that is making the most headway. According to JATO Dynamics, in February this year, the SUV outsold the Porsche Macan across the 28 EU markets. The Stelvio was also well ahead of the Jaguar F-Pace.

No surprise, then, that Alfa will be rolling out an even bigger luxury SUV after the Stelvio has been so well-accepted by the European market. The profit margins for luxury SUVs are especially handsome.

Conventional wisdom said the market for luxury coupés was in irreversible decline, but Alfa’s product planners have probably been keenly eyeing Audi’s success with its A5 coupé and A5 Sportback models and BMW’s strong-selling 4 Series range.

It’s also possible to imagine a five-door Giulia coupé, especially as sales of the A5 Sportback were a stunning 67,700 in 2017.