Production to start in late 2016 with first models out in 2017

Alfa Romeo’s long awaited yet often delayed SUV has finally been given a name. Fiat Chrysler chief Sergio Marchionne officially christened the SUV with the name “Stelvio”, a reference to a famous mountain pass located in Northern Italy.

Marchionne spoke to Auto Express during a recent factory tour in Italy and one of the most important points he mentioned was Alfa’s plans for its future SUV. According to the boss himself, the Stelvio will focus primarily on being one of the best of its class in on-road ability. From a technical standpoint, the SUV will use a modified version of the Giulia’s all-new architecture, providing engineers the flexibility to offer a range of four-cylinder and V-6 engines for the vehicle, as well as rear- and all-wheel drive systems.

The Stelvio, code named Tip 949 D-SUV, will be part of a range of models that the company plans to launch by 2020. The company initially set that timetable for 2018, but with a planned reduction in manufacturing, product investment, and research & development expected to go through until 2018, Alfa Romeo deemed it more practical to hold off the completion of the mass product launch for another two years. That said, the timetable for the Stelvio is still expected to push through.

Technical details are still being kept under wraps, but there have been some hints coming out of Alfa Romeo that points to a variety of engine options, including a 2.2-liter diesel, a 2.0-liter gas unit, and a 2.9-liter, twin-turbo V-6. The V-6 is the same engine found under the hood of the Giulia, and could be badged as the model’s Quadrifoglio Verde version. Expect to hear more details about the Alfa Romeo Stelvio in the coming months as the preparation for its production phase begins.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

Why it matters

I’m a devotee of the altar of Alfa Romeo and it’s been rough seeing the Italian brand struggle the way it has since the turn of the millennium. But, times have changed now that parent company Fiat Chrysler is determined to bring the company back to its glory days.

I’m excited to see what happens next for Alfa, especially how the Stelvio will come to be. From a business standpoint, it makes a lot of sense for Alfa Romeo to have an SUV that will complement the 4C and the Giulia. These three models could serve as the backbone of Alfa’s future lineup and it’s probably a big reason why Alfa is beginning its planned expansion lineup with the Stelvio.

Once the SUV is released to the market, it would be easier to work around these three models to fill the entire lineup. It has been reported that Alfa’s future mass model introduction would include an executive saloon in the vein of the BMW 5 Series, a pair of SUVs that would flank the Stelvio, and two sports cars that would complement the Alfa Romeo 4C.

With all these plans on the table, there’s going to be a lot of pressure on Alfa Romeo to succeed with the Stelvio. Fortunately, it has the backing of FCA, so it’s going to have a lot of resources at its disposal. There’s going to be no excuse for this model not to succeed.

I’m hopeful that Alfa Romeo can pull this off. So far, details of the Stelvio that have been released are all promising. Now it’s on the company to make sure that it lives up to the hype.

Alfa Romeo SUV

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Quadrifoglio Exterior Spyshots
- image 646416

Read our full review on the Alfa Romeo SUV here.

Source: AutoExpress

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