Alfa Romeo's future will depend on these two new models.
Alfa Romeo has had a hard time lately. Falling sales led to the 8C supercar and GTV projects being canceled last year, enabling the Italian automaker to focus on expanding its SUV lineup. One of Alfa Romeo's upcoming new SUVs will be the production version of the Tonale compact SUV concept that debuted at Geneva last year. According to Autocar, the Alfa Romeo Tonale will be joined by a new compact electric SUV to get the company's sales performance back on track. This will also be the automaker's first-ever electric production vehicle, though it won't be its first electrified model: when the Tonale launches in 2021, it will be offered as a plug-in hybrid.
In terms of size, Alfa Romeo's electric SUV will be positioned below the Tonale and have similar proportions to the Audi Q2. The Audi Q2 isn't sold in the US, so Alfa Romeo's compact SUV could be too small for the American market.
While the Tonale will share the same plug-in hybrid powertrain as the Jeep Compass, the electric Alfa Romeo will be the first FCA car to use technology gained from the merger with PSA. It's expected to utilize a version of PSA's eCMP platform that underpins electric versions of the Peugeot 208, Peugeot 2008, Vauxhall Corsa, and DS 3 Crossback.
To give you an idea of the platform's specifications, the similarly-sized Peugeot e-2008 has a single electric motor that sends 136 hp and 192 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, while a 50kWh battery provides up to 192 miles of range on Europe's WLTP test cycle. However, Alfa Romeo's electric SUV is expected to offer better performance and range as EV technology continues to evolve. "When we launched the Giulia and Stelvio, we were recognized as a sporty brand, because of the amazing handling," an Alfa Romeo spokesperson said.
"We're trying to communicate that our cars are not only sporty but can also be driven in a comfortable way - something that previously customers wouldn't expect from Alfa Romeo, to help us appeal to a larger customer base. For electric, we will stay consistent to Alfa Romeo's sportiness and use electric motors for a performance approach. We're looking to achieve an Alfa Romeo customer's expectations but also [those of] customers looking for comfort." As for the styling, the unnamed electric SUV won't be a direct copy of the Tonale and will have its own distinct design.
Like the Porsche Taycan, Alfa Romeo's electric SUV will also be offered with artificial sounds to substitute the lack of combustion engine. "The idea isn't to make fake sounds to recreate an internal combustion engine, because we won't have fake things inside Alfas," the spokesperson said.
"The idea is to create a specific sound to get emotion from both the driver and car. An advantage of an electric car is silence - if the customer wants to drive that way. But also the possibility of an aggressive mode."
Alfa Romeo's first electric SUV will go on sale sometime in 2022, forming a new four-model lineup alongside the Tonale, Giulia, and Stelvio. It's hoped that these two new SUVs will enable Alfa Romeo to achieve its sales target of 400,000 cars a year. Alfa Romeo's global 2019 sales haven't been announced yet, but it sold 54,365 cars in Europe - a sharper decline of over 50 percent compared to the year before. Only when Alfa Romeo hits this sales target are we ever likely to see the 8C supercar project revived.