Alfa Romeo auto news

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Alfa Romeo to launch eight new products by 2018, increase sales to 400K units

05/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, FIAT

Alfa Romeo wheel badge

Alfa Romeo will go back to being the brand people admire, according to CEO Harald Wester.

After a few streams of news on the various brands in the Fiat Chrysler family, here's the deluge we've been waiting for - Alfa Romeo. The legendary Italian brand is being pointed towards a renaissance, as shown by the brand's five-year plan.

The engineering team will triple within the next 18 months, to 600 people. Their goal? Develop and launch eight, Italian-built products between now and 2018, covering everything from the C-segment (compacts like the Ford Focus) to the E-segment (midsize luxury sedans like the BMW 5 Series). These vehicles would be available with both rear- and all-wheel-drive layouts. Production is being aimed at the second half of 2015, with a sales goal of 400,000 units by 2018 (that's up from just 74,000 units in 2013).

As for what kind of vehicles we should be looking for, we can expect a new midsize sedan late next year. Also arriving in 2015 is Cloverleaf, a far easier to pronounce version of Alfa's Quadrifoglio Verde range. In the past, the cloverleafed cars have traditionally represented the top-of-the-line versions of their mainstream counterparts. It's unclear if the badge will continue to serve in that role, or if Cloverleaf will become Alfa's version of M or AMG.

From 2016 to 2018, though, Alfa will launch a real product onslaught, with two compact products, two CUV/SUVs, a specialty product (likely Alfa's version of the jointly developed Mazda MX-5), a second midsize sedan and a fullsize sedan. This new breed of Alfas will boast a number of qualities when they finally arrive. According to Alfa boss Harald Wester, we can expect 50/50 weight distributions, class-exclusive power-to-weight ratios and Alfa's trademark sense of style and design.

These new vehicles will also use new, advanced and Italian-built engines, according to Wester. Two six-cylinder gas engines will be built, one we'd guess is a diesel with around 300 horsepower and the other burning gasoline to the tune of 400 to 500 hp. The gas range will be rounded out by a high-output, likely turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 200 to 350 hp. A four-pot oil-burner developing 100 to 200 hp will likely be the best choice for economy.

The goal here? "Go back to the Alfa Romeo that people admired," Wester said during today's presentation. We wholly support that. What do you think about this plan? Is this too ambitious? Is Alfa not planning enough? Let us know in Comments.

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Alfa CEO says 4C can manage more power

05/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C

With 240 horsepower from a 1.75-liter engine, the Alfa Romeo 4C does a lot with very little. But there's always room for improvement, says the company's CEO.

Speaking with Automotive News, Alfa Romeo chief Harald Wester indicated that the historic Italian auto marque could squeeze more out of the 4C's already high-strung engine. "We are only at 134 horsepower per liter," said Wester, "so there is space" for it to produce yet more power. To accommodate the extra muscle, Wester says, the Alfa would also need bigger brakes, but the chassis may already be as stiff as it needs to be.

Considering that Mercedes gets 355 horsepower out of the 2.0-liter turbo four in the A45, CLA45 and GLA45 AMG (for a specific output of over 177 hp per liter), Wester may be right, opening the door for a 300hp version with a 0-60 time of around four seconds flat. And his saying so more than subtly suggests the possibility of a more powerful 4C becoming a reality. But then the prospect of shoehorning a bigger engine into the same chassis to make a new Maserati GranSport - another prospect which Wester (also CEO of Maserati) suggested earlier in the 4C's development - never came to pass, largely due to engineering roadblocks.

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Marchionne to make Alfa Romeo a separate company within Fiat

04/28/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Alfa Romeo, FIAT

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition at the 2014 New York Auto Show, front-three quarter view.

According to a report in Automotive News that quotes "people familiar with the matter," the next big play in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's plan for Alfa Romeo is to break it off from Fiat Group Automobiles and set it up as a separate company within the Fiat empire, giving it the same structure as Ferrari and Maserati. The idea, say the sources, is that a transparent, standalone Alfa Romeo that has to justify its every move could clearly prove its success in the public financial statements it would have to report, finally achieving Marchionne's aim of making Alfa Romeo "a credible business proposition."

That, of course, assumes that Alfa Romeo will make a success of it. The brand hasn't made a profit in any year of Marchionne's decade at the helm; sales last year fell to numbers not seen in almost half a century and its new product offensive might not include the two vehicles currently responsible for 99 percent of its sales. We're told that the brand's six new models will begin arriving in 2016 - a roadster, a midsize sedan and large sedan, a compact SUV and large SUV, and a large coupe.

Marchionne aims to expand Alfa's global appeal in several ways, the first by stressing that they are Italian products that 'belong' to Italy. This is the stance that appears to have put the kibosh on the roadster twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5/Miata. Alfa Romeos will all be made in their home country, and if they take off they'll help bandage Fiat's problem with underused plant capacity, a bugbear that is just as problematic culturally and politically as financially. Top-tier trims would use V6 engines developed by Ferrari, and global access would get a boost by selling Alfa Romeos in Jeep's 1,700 international dealerships.

Some observers suggest Marchionne is preparing Alfa Romeo for sale to Volkswagen, which seems a crazy long shot in light of what Marchionne thinks of VW's business tactics. Still, the rumors won't die. Harald Wester, presently the CEO of Alfa Romeo and Maserati, would run the standalone company. Detroit, May 6 is where and when Marchionne will deliver the details of his plan to executives at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and the finance folks will expect to find out how the highly indebted Fiat plans to pay for the move.

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Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition marks a day we never thought we'd see

04/17/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: New York Auto Show, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition

Alfa Romeo has been teasing its return to the United States for years. Each time, it's seemingly been pushed back for one reason or another. The last time we had our Alfa fix fulfilled was when just a few hundred examples of the 8C Competizione crossed the pond late last decade. Now, though, it looks like finally Alfa will be coming back, showing this, the 4C Launch Edition, at the 2014 New York Auto Show.

By now, you should know the brief on the 4C - ultra-lightweight, mid-engined, turbocharged and with non-power-assisted steering. It's a driving instrument, and one we've admired from afar since it hit the European market.

The 4C Launch Edition is the opening volley of Alfa's US return and adds a number of items to the already appealing sports car. The 500 Launch Editions will be limited to three colors - Alfa Red, Rosso Competizione or Madreperla White. It sports standard bi-xenon headlamps, which do away with the polarizing covers that highlighted European models. A carbon-fiber spoiler and mirror caps and unique forged wheels round out the changes for first US-spec 4Cs.

The suspension is firmer, with performance-tuned shocks and stiffer front and rear sway bars. Meanwhile, a racing exhaust should help the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine make its presence known. It doesn't seem like the power output is changing thanks to the new exhaust, although we're expecting the 4C's already throaty warble will sound even better.

You can take a look up top for our full gallery of live images of the new 4C or you can scroll down and take a look at the official press release from Alfa Romeo. Then, hop into the Comments and let us know if you think of the latest Alfa to be sold in the US.

Continue reading Alfa Romeo 4C Launch Edition marks a day we never thought we'd see

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Alfa Romeo considering Ferrari-developed engines for new product lineup

04/06/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, FIAT

The Alfa Romeo Mito and Giulietta hatchbacks

A report in Bloomberg adds more details to the plans for Alfa Romeo's fourth turnaround plan in Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne's tenure, and this time Ferrari is apparently going to be part of the show. In December Automotive News Europe reported that a new Maserati-derived rear-drive architecture would be the centerpiece at Alfa Romeo, as well as coming Chrysler and Dodge products. At the time, ANE said the platform would support a new midsize sedan and wagon perhaps to be called Giulia, a fullsize sedan and a midsize crossover, with retail appearance of the product initiative commencing perhaps as soon as next year. It would be part of Fiat's $12.3-billion spend on new models and European recovery.

The Bloomberg report says that particulars haven't been finalized, but the plan is to have six new Alfas appear over the next five years, two of which would be SUVs. The futures of the Mito and Giulietta, two of the three cars Alfa currently sells and 99 percent of sales last year, aren't assured, meaning that the lineup in six years could be seven cars (including the 4C), six of which we haven't any definitive clue of yet. The top-tier versions of those cars, according to the report - perhaps the Quadrifoglio Verde - "will be equipped with motors developed by Ferrari."

Marchionne wants to get sales up to 300,000 units per year when the lineup is complete, pairing Alfa sales with Jeep's global dealer network to open up the retail channel. That kind of volume would get Fiat's Italian plants back in business properly, even though Marchionne's stance on Italy-only Alfa production would mean the end of the anticipated roadster that was to be twinned with the coming Mazda MX-5 Miata. Alfa's direction will be laid out in Detroit in May as part of the overall strategy presentation for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

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Alfa Romeo to launch new versions of 4C each year

03/25/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Euro, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C

Alfa Romeo is an exciting brand. You could argue that the MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks might not speak so much to that effect, but the 4C sure does. Fortunately, Alfa has every intention of keeping the 4C at the forefront of its lineup with a series of upgrades - one to come each year, according to Top Gear.

The production version of the compact mid-engined sports car launched just last year at the Geneva Motor Show, and this year the company returned with the 4C Spider concept that previews the production roadster to follow. That may prove the most substantial of the revisions Alfa has in mind for the 4C, but it may not be the last.

Just what Alfa will do next remains to be seen, but sources are already speculating on what could follow. Since the current 4C is a bare-bones affair - with a minimalist cabin and no trunk to speak of with the front hood welded shut - we're wouldn't be surprised to see a slightly more accommodating version follow. After that, it's anyone's guess.

Top Gear suggests a more hardcore version - it sure would be exciting to see the Quadrifoglio Verde adorn a more powerful 4C in the future. But we're still years off from seeing any such derivative come to fruition, so we'll just have to hold on tight for the time being and wait for Alfa to finally bring itself and the 4C to American showrooms.

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Alfa Romeo to offer 4C buyers choice of headlights [w/poll]

03/20/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Convertibles, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider

Typically an automobile will lose some of its more radical design elements on the road from concept to production, but Alfa Romeo has done things a little differently with the 4C... at least, that is, when it came to its headlights.

When the sports car concept first debuted at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, it had an intriguing, glowing headlight design that seemed more stylish than functional. The headlight design stayed the same when Alfa repainted the concept from matte red to liquid silver for the Frankfurt Motor Show later that year, but when the 4C debuted in production form two years after concept's first showing, its headlights weren't any less strange. If anything, they were even more so, taking on a form that only a fly's optometrist could love.

Alfa Romeo 4C CoupeThings took a more conventional (and eye-pleasing) turn earlier this month when Alfa revealed the 4C Spider concept with not only a different roofline but also a new set of headlights. Those units are expected to make their way to production when the 4C Spider is finalized, but word has it that the roadster won't be the only one to get them.

According to Autocar, the Italian automaker will offer new buyers of the 4C coupe the option to fit the Spider's headlamps instead of the strange-looking units on the hardtop model. The Spider, meanwhile, will only get the more conventional units. We've reached out to Alfa Romeo for confirmation, and have yet to hear back as we go to publish, but either way, the 4C remains - for the time being - a piece of forbidden fruit that we only wish we could get in the States as Alfa continues to plot its eventual return to the North American market.

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Alfa 4C to set the pace as WTCC safety car

03/14/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Motorsports, Coupes, Sports/GTs, Alfa Romeo, Special/Limited Editions, Racing

Alfa Romeo 4C WTCC Safety Car

With just 240 horsepower on tap, the Alfa Romeo 4C may not be the most powerful sports car on the market. But its lightweight construction ensures that it has a power-to-weight ratio better than cars with twice the output. In short, it belongs at the front of the pack, and that's just where it will be for this year's World Touring Car Championship.

That's because Alfa's nimble little sports car has been selected as the new safety car (what we'd call a "pace car") for the WTCC, starting next month with the season opener at the Moulay El Hassan Circuit in Marrakech, Morocco. For that purpose it's been fitted with the special red and black livery you see here, and will presumably carry some extra safety equipment like emergency lighting, and a couple of fire extinguishers and a first aid kit on board in case it arrives at the scene of an accident before the medical support car can get there.

This year will see some new entries in the FIA's top touring car series as the new Honda Civic WTCC makes its debut with four cars on the grid, Citroën entering the series with the new C-Elysée with nine-time rally champ Sebastien Loeb and four-time WTCC champ Yvan Muller behind the wheel. After a Euro-centric start to the season, the series heads to the US in mid-September for the race at Sonoma before winding up with three rounds in the Far East.

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Geneva: Alfa Romeo pops the top on 4C Spider in Geneva [w/video]

03/05/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Concept Cars, Convertibles, Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Euro, Videos, Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 4C Spider Concept

Alfa Romeo has made all manner of vehicles over the years: hatchbacks, sedans, wagons, coupes... there's even been talk of a crossover. But it could be argued that the quintessential Alfa Romeo is a roadster. While the future of the program with Mazda remains in doubt, Alfa has arrived in Geneva this year with a Spider version of the nimble little 4C.

As anticipated, the 4C Spider chops the roof off the coupe and replaces it with rollover bars, spoilers and windshield frame all made of carbon-fiber and a lightweight canvas top. As a result, the 4C Spider is said to weight just 132 pounds more than the existing fixed-roof version. The low-density Sheet Moulding Compound bodywork has been rebuilt around the rear deck to replace the back, and carbon fiber is visible throughout the open cockpit.

The 1.75-liter turbo 4-cylinder and 6-speed dual-clutch transmission carry over unchanged, as do the performance stats: 0-62 in 4.5 seconds and a top speed "in excess of 155 mph." The 40/60 front/rear weight distribution is also quoted as unchanged from the coupe, maintaining the 4C's handling balance. The 4C Spider also gets more conventional (read: attractive) headlights, and a central exhaust system made by Akrapovic (of motorbike fame) from aluminum and titanium.

Though billed as a Design Preview, the 4C Spider is set to go into production early next year. All we're waiting for now is for Alfa Romeo to finally bring this - and the rest of its lineup - to North America.

Continue reading Alfa Romeo pops the top on 4C Spider in Geneva [w/video]

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Geneva: Touring's Disco Volante makes us green with envy [w/video]

03/04/2014   [Original: Autoblog]
Category: Coupes, Sports/GTs, Geneva Motor Show, Alfa Romeo, Luxury

Touring Disco Volante

In its entire production run, Alfa Romeo only ever built 500 examples of the 8C Competizione - just 90 of which ended up in the United States - and another 500 Spiders. That makes it a pretty rare car indeed, but it's positively commonplace compared to the Disco Volante, the version reborn by the talented and steady hands at Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera.

In correspondece with Autoblog, Touring's CEO Piero Mancardi confirmed that the coachbuilder will only build eight examples of the Disco Volante, in colors chosen by their individual customers: one in black, one in blue, one in silver, the one in green you see here and the rest in different shades of red.

That makes this particular example a one-of-a-kind work of art that we were privileged to behold here at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show, and you can see what we saw through the camera lens in the high-resolution image gallery above, or by checking out the video below.

Continue reading Touring's Disco Volante makes us green with envy [w/video]

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