Alfa Romeo Giulia Will Get Ferrari V-6 Engine
Alfa Romeo’s new upcoming four-door, which is expected to carry the name Giulia, will be equipped with a top-range V-6 engine from Ferrari. The car is slated for a debut later this month at the Expo Milan, with European sales getting underway in the spring of next year. The U.S. should get the car in the first quarter of 2017, possibly under a different name.
Details on the new Alfa are hard to come by, as development is currently underway in a secret location with a limited team.
However, the U.K. publication Autocar has learned that the drive layout will mostly likely be RWD, with AWD available in select markets. Also, the car’s Maserati-developed platform will be largely new, with the sedan version followed shortly by a wagon.
The car will eschew popular autonomous features in favor of more driver involvement, which is a clear break from the trend set by Alfa’s German rivals.
Progress thus far has been slow-moving: we first got confirmation of the sedan way back in 2009, but the production date was moved due to manufacturing issues and disagreement over the car’s styling. However, despite these setbacks, the car remains integral to Alfa’s plans as the automaker seeks to bolster annual sales figures to the 400,000 mark by 2018, a significant increase over the 74,000 vehicles sold in 2014.
FCA announced in April that it would invest 500 million Euros into the development of two new engines for the Alfa brand. The entry-level powerplant is expected to be a high-strung, 300-horsepower four-cylinder, which will replace the current 235-horsepower 1750 TBi found in the 2014 Alfa 4C. Meanwhile, the new V-6 will likely make its way also into the new Dino, should the Ferrari actually go into production. Exact output has yet to be disclosed, but it’s believed that upwards of 500 turbocharged horsepower is possible for the Dino, although the Alfa will most likely have less.
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Why it matters
Alfa has some pretty big plans for the Giulia. The car will replace the 159, and most likely be produced in high volume, making it critical for the marque in terms of sales and brand perception.
The car will replace the 159, and most likely be produced in high volume, making it critical for the marque in terms of sales and brand perception.
It will also compete against the big three German manufacturers, BMW, Audi, and Mercedes-Benz, as well as Lexus in the U.S., which means it will have to come packing the goods in order to snatch up sales.
The strategy Alfa plans to employ is one of differentiation, as opposed to improving upon the products of rivals. “We’re living in a world of fierce competition,” said Harald Wester, who heads Alfa Rome and Maserati. “What is absolutely clear is that every car must be significantly better than the target competitor’s,” adding, “But the worst strategy is to position against another product. It’s about finding out what the customers want.”
Wester described Alfa’s German competitors as “mostly cold and clinical...these cars have no soul.” By contrast, the Giulia will be sold on charisma, driver-focused dynamics, and distinctly Italian design. “These are not cars to be driven, but to drive,” Wester said. “We want owners to feel that they’re an integral and indispensable part of the machine. The dynamic element is an important portion of what we do.”
So far, Alfa Romeo seems to be one of the few brands under the FCA umbrella that’s actually on track.
So far, Alfa Romeo seems to be one of the few brands under the FCA umbrella that’s actually on track. A recent report from Reuters indicated that the auto behemoth, which also controls Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Lancia, Ram Trucks, Abarth, Mopar, and SRT (not to mention Ferrari and Maserati) has reportedly delayed the redesign or release of at least 12 current or new vehicles in North America, including the vital Ram 1500 and Jeep Wrangler, models that contribute significantly to the company’s pre-tax profits.
The reason? Citing unidentified company insiders, the Reuters report says that the delays could stem from FCA’s desire to defer billions of dollars in investments as it searches for yet another partner.
Backing this are reports that FCA boss Sergio Marchionne sent an email to General Motors CEO Mary Barra with a merger proposal, although Barra rejected the idea. Still, Marchionne maintains that mergers are the best option for automakers in the current economic climate, saying “I think it is absolutely clear that the amount of capital waste that’s going on in this industry is something that certainly requires remedy. A remedy in our view is through consolidation.”
So far, it would appear as though the Giulia is immune to delays based on financial concerns. Let’s hope the sedan manages to bring FCA much-needed momentum so it can continue to offer driver-focused vehicles with that classic Italian flair.
Otherwise, we’ll all be driving Audis.
The original Giulia was produced between 1962 and 1978 in both sedan and wagon body styles, bringing a variety of trim levels and engine choices, including both gasoline and diesel options. Alfa also sold several two-door coupes and convertibles, plus the TZ and GTA sports cars. Now, after more than 35 years on the shelf, the Giulia is looking to make a comeback as Alfa aims to reconnect with its sporting heritage. As a competitor for the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4, the Giulia should be priced somewhere in the $30,000 range, with another $10,000 added for the more premium models.
Read our speculative review here.