Alfa Romeo’s next step in their might be even more important to its continued stride following the very warm reception to the both the Giulia sedan and Stelvio crossover. They already have quite a number of key ingredients in their pantry, crafted while preparing both those new models. Namely, their Giorgio platform, which is proving to be quite competent, and some rather potent petrol and diesel engines.
Of course, what is clear to everyone even peripherally aware of the gusts that are influencing the automotive industry is that the SUV is proving to be the surest path to high sales, and thus, high profits, but only if executed deftly. With the ‘new’ Alfa Romeo a notably late entrant to a market already rife with competition in every corner, a mis-step could prove to be their undoing.
Now that the Stelvio is establishing itself as a viable competitor to the BMW X3 and Jaguar F-Pace, Alfa now has its sights set on launching its larger sibling. According Auto Express, Roberto Fedeli, the company’s chief technical officer, strongly hinted that a full size SUV is in the Italian marque’s near future. “The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little big bigger?”, he said.
What’s more, the introduction of this larger vehicle also presents an opportunity for Alfa to (finally) dip their toe into electrified vehicles, where the fuel savings and reductions in emissions are most advantageous. Smartly, they’ve seemed to have taken plenty of heed to how to best navigate these new waters by emulating the solutions taken by its would-be rivals.
“We have to marry the new car with the right level of electrification. Plug-in hybrid could be a problem for the Alfa DNA point of view, but for instance a 48-volt mild hybrid solution is something that we can do without losing anything,” Fedeli added.
It seems that, on their first try, Alfa Romeo’s first large SUV will have efficiency advantages that look pale in comparison to cars like the Volvo XC90 T8 TwinEngine and BMW X5 xDrive40e, for example. But it’s a step in the right direction nonetheless, and an important one toward gathering enough resources and expertise to unveil a truly hybridised SUV down the road, using a system that’s malleable enough to integrate in to their smaller cars as well.
In testing, and equipped with an electrically driven compressor (effectively an e-turbo), Alfa Romeo have managed to extract enough power from a small displacement engine to rival larger V6s and V8s, similar to its benchmarks such as the Audi Q7 and that equivalent Volvo.
“I’m quite happy about the result we have obtained coupling a four-cylinder with the 48-volt e-turbo - I think next time we can also use it in production,” Fedeli told us. “With a 2.0-litre turbo engine you can achieve around 350 to 400bhp. We are driving on a simulator a car like that, we are working on it, and the result is not so bad.”