Alfa Romeo’s next SUV will not only be the brand’s biggest model ever but also its first hybrid, according to the Italian automaker’s chief technical officer.
With the Stelvio, Alfa’s first ute, clicking with buyers around the world, the brand is betting the next, as yet-unnamed SUV will continue to power its global revival plan. But it will be just one of three new models set to debut during the next couple years.
“The Stelvio for sure is an example of Alfa DNA, why don’t we translate that in a car which is a little bit bigger?” asked CTO Roberto Fedeli, in an interview with Britain’s Auto Express magazine.
The decision to go even larger with the next SUV is really no surprise. It’s in line with the product strategies that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne has outlined on several occasions since Fiat first took control of Chrysler after it emerged from bankruptcy.
(Alfa Romeo claims Stelvio Quadrifoglio is fastest SUV on planet. Click Here for the story.)
What’s new is the decision to introduce an electrified driveline.
“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 told the British automotive publication.
New 48-volt “mild” hybrid systems are set to burst onto the marketplace during the next several years. Audi is already offering the technology, which is simpler and lower cost than the conventional – and higher-voltage – hybrid systems found on vehicles like the Toyota Prius. FCA already plans to use a 48-volt system on the new Jeep Wrangler and possibly on the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup.
While such systems don’t give quite as much boost to mileage, 48-volt technology can actually enhance performance, especially when using turbocharged engines, by kicking in some extra torque at low speeds to offset dreaded turbo lag.
(Click Here for details about our first drive in the Stelvio.)
“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 explained, adding that, “With a 2.0-liter 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.”
Considering the Stelvio will soon add a Quadrifoglio edition it seems highly likely that a version of the next SUV would also offer a four-leaf clover edition using the brand’s 2.9-liter twin-turbo V-6. In the Giulia sedan it turns out a full 505 hp.
According to tech chief, the next Alfa SUV will be longer and as much as 200 kg, or about 440 pounds, heavier than the current Stelvio. It is unclear if it will be offered in three-row configuration, though that appears to be one possibility that would make it more competitive in the larger ute segment. Among other models, the new crossover-utility vehicle would compete against the likes of the BMW X5, Jaguar F-Pace, Mercedes-Benz GLE and Porsche Cayenne.
(For still more on the Stelvio, Click Here.)
Look for the new model to reach market in about two years.