Alfa Romeo will take on the Audi Q7 with a new midsize SUV to be revealed some time in 2019.
While the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and its Nurburgring SUV lap record have been making headlines, the Italian car-maker has another couple of SUVs in the planning stage.
Clearly there are some gaps in Alfa Romeo’s SUV lineup, with room for both a compact SUV to sit below the Stelvio, and also a larger crossover to be positioned above it.
In an interview with AutoExpress, Alfa’s engineering chief, Roberto Fedeli, said the first one to come to market will be the large SUV.
Despite being classed as a large SUV, it will use the same platform as the Stelvio (called Giorgio), but will be an extended version of the same underpinnings. Fedeli said that it would be a similar size to the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, and is also said to feature a seven-seat layout. Whether there’s room for seven full size seats remains to be seen, however, it is most likely a 5+2 configuration will be put into production.
Under the bonnet will be a turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol, meaning anyone who had their heart set on larger twin-turbo V6 SUV may be disappointed.
While a smaller engine may sound a little limp for such a large SUV (which will probably weigh as much two-tonnes), Fedeli says that it will have an electric turbocharger (or compressor) in addition to a mechanical one.
An electric turbo/compressor will have the effect of spinning immediately, way before the mechanical turbo has spooled up, eliminating lag and bumping up low-end torque. That’s what you need with something weighing that much. But it also helps with fuel consumption, because it shuts off when not in use.
You can read more about how electric turbos work in our Audi SQ7 review (click here to read).
Fedeli says that in testing this configuration has worked well, and is said to produce up to 400bhp (298kW).
“I’m quite happy about the result we have obtained coupling a 4-cylinder with the 48-volt e-turbo—I think next time we can also use it in production,” Fedeli told AutoExpress.
The reason for having a smaller engine with lots of power is to comply with both European emissions legislation, but also this mild hybrid system allows Alfa Romeo to claim the new SUV is an electrified vehicle, giving it more credibility with the Chinese authorities. Alfa wants to sell more vehicles in China, and this is the perfect opportunity.
Given the sporting nature of the Stelvio, though, it wouldn’t be out of the question to see a five seat version of this new SUV also become available, with some warmer engines possibly down the line.
Given the usual development timeline, we’d expect to see a concept car or even a pre-production car around mid 2019 with the production car to hit showrooms in 2020.