The Italian brand won't follow its rivals down that path and put a performance badge on something lukewarm.
Alfa Romeo's Quadrifoglio vehicles are sublime. The Giulia Quadrifoglio is one of the finest sports sedans money can buy, and its Stelvio QV sibling can rival the very best performance SUVs money can buy. But with just two models in the range, Alfa can't rival the expansive lineup offered by Audi Sport, BMW M, and Mercedes AMG.
Larry Dominique, who heads up Alfa Romeo and Fiat North America, told The Drive that the addition of a Tonale Quadrifoglio may be on the horizon, but only if the vehicle is worthy of the legendary performance nameplate. "If we can't deliver the level of performance or delta of performance already found in our current models, we're not gonna do it," remarked Dominique.
Alfa is not interested in diluting the Quadrifoglio brand, which is something its German rivals have been accused of doing with its respective performance subsidiaries. "Jean-Philippe Imparato and I are open to it, but only with the right levels of performance," explained Dominique to the publication.
It's clear to see that Alfa Romeo doesn't want to build a GLA 35 or 45 rival if the vehicle won't live up to the Quadrifoglio name. BMW and Mercedes-AMG have long been accused of filling performance niches to make money. Mercedes, for example, produces an AMG version of the GLB family vehicle, which could be considered sacrilege in certain circles.
BMW recently upset fans with the XM, who were outraged at the idea that a big, bulky SUV would be the halo M car. So if Alfa had to do a Tonale Quadrifoglio, what could we expect from the Italian brand?
To answer that question, we must first look at the regular Giulia and Stelvio. Both models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that produces 280 horsepower and 306 lb-ft of torque. In the Quadrifoglio models, a turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 delivers 505 hp and 443 lb-ft - an increase of around 45% and 31%, respectively.
To achieve Quadrifoglio levels of performance in the Tonale, it's safe to assume Alfa would want similar increases in power. Just one engine will be offered in America; a 1.3-liter plug-in hybrid engine with combined outputs of 272 hp and around 350 lb-ft.
That means a hypothetical Quadrifoglio would deliver approximately 490 hp and 450 lb-ft. That may step on the toes of the larger models, so slightly lower outputs are more likely. It could be just what Alfa needs to fight the Audi RS Q3 (not sold in America) and the GLA 45 AMG.
"We will always try to offer slightly more enhanced versions of our more volume trims like Veloce and so on, but Quadrifoglio has to stand hand and shoulders over everything else ... I don't want to be a poser. I don't want to pollute the Quadrifoglio brand. I want to make sure we stay pure," concluded Dominique.
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