TURIN -- Alfa Romeo’s new Giulia midsize sedan, which will be unveiled Wednesday, is crucial to the struggling brand’s revival.
The Giulia will sit on Alfa’s new rear-wheel-/all-wheel-drive Giorgio platform and offer high-performance engines, including a Maserati-derived V-6.
The BMW 3 series rival is scheduled to arrive at European dealerships in February and March next year and in the U.S. a few months later. Alfa may add coupe and spider variants later.
Alfa will introduce newly developed high-performance engines on the sedan to compete better against BMW and Audi. The range-topping 510-hp V-6 gasoline engine with twin turbochargers has been re-engineered from an engine built by Ferrari for the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans. The Giulia's core gasoline engine will be a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder available in outputs of 180 hp, 250 hp and 330 hp.
The top diesel will be a 3.0-liter V-6 currently offered by Jeep and Maserati that is sourced from VM Motori. VM Motori added a new four-valve per cylinder head and a second turbocharger to increase the Alfa version’s output to 340 hp from 275 hp. Alfa will also use a higher output variant of a revised 2.2-liter powerplant just introduced by Jeep and derived from Fiat Chrysler’s 2.0-liter diesel. The engine has a top output of 210 hp but also will be offered in more fuel-efficient 135-hp and 180-hp variants.
The Giulia will be the first volume Alfa brought to market since the Giulietta launched in 2010. An earlier Giulia was Alfa’s best-selling car in the 1960s and 1970s. Alfa parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles needs the modern Giulia to have similar success to help end years of losses at the brand. FCA does not break out Alfa's financial results, but analysts say the brand has been a huge money loser for at least 10 years.
Code-named project 952 and delayed a number of times in the past four years, the Giulia is the successor to the Europe-only 159 model, which was discontinued in 2011.
Alfa plans to begin Giulia production in November. Two supplier sources told ANE that they fear start of production will be postponed until the end of the year because of quality glitches, delaying the launch until March. One area where the Giulia is far from its set targets is noise, vibration and harshness (NVH), a source said.
The Giulia will be unveiled on the 105th anniversary of the foundation of Alfa as the acronym of Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili. The unveiling will take place at the Alfa Romeo museum in Arese, outside Milan, where the carmaker was based from 1963 until Fiat took over the brand in 1986. Its public debut will be at the Frankfurt auto show in September.
Alfa will begin sales of its first SUV, code-named project 949, early 2017. The midsize model will be a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3.
A flagship, large sedan will arrive in late 2017, sources from suppliers involved in the project told Automotive News Europe. Code-named project 961 and set to enter production in mid-2017, the sedan will compete with the Audi A6 and BMW 5 series and replaces the Alfa 166 that was discontinued in 2007.