Alfa Romeo taking the fight to the Audi Q7 with larger SUV

2018 Alfa Romeo Stelvio Sport

Alfa Romeo is in the middle of a bit of a resurgence as of late. With cars like the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, the famed Italian brand is working its way back into the forefront of the premium brand conversation. Cars like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series have dominated the segment, until the Giulia crashed the party with its gorgeous looks, incredible driving dynamics and Italian flare. While we’re big fans of the A4, the Stelvio is downright seductive. Same goes for the Stelvio, which is Alfa’s first ever SUV and it’s making waves for how well it drives and how it shakes up the small premium SUV segment. With its newfound success, Alfa Romeo plans on taking its fight up to the Audi Q7.

Nothing is official yet, but Alfa Romeo has said that it’s certainly looking into the idea of developing a larger SUV. This larger Alfa SUV would be based on the same rear-wheel drive architecture as the Giulia and Stelvio, just stretched to accommodate the larger size. It should also have the ability to sport an optional third-row, much like the Audi Q7. Despite gaining quite a bit of size, Alfa Romeo does not feel that this larger SUV will have greatly diminished handling capabilities. Speaking with Auto Express, Alfa Romeo’s Chief Technical Officer Roberto Fedeli, said: “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?”

Powering such an SUV will actually be a four-cylinder. There will likely be other engines available, the only one Alfa has announced is a four-cylinder turbocharged engine with an electric turbocharger and a 48-volt electrical system, much like the Audi SQ7. “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 AE. “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,”

There’s also the possibility of a plug-in hybrid variant, as there is with almost every other SUV in the class. “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,” said Fedeli.

We’ve driven the Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio and it’s a brilliant car. We haven’t yet tested the Stelvio but we’re hearing good things and we likely will be testing it soon. So we’re really looking forward to seeing what the Italians can do with a larger, more luxurious SUV.