Alfa Romeo’s revolutionary Gamble

Can five billion euro buy a future for Alfa Romeo?

WORDS GLENN BUTLER

FIVE billion euro is a lot of money to develop a car. Mercedes-Benz, for example, spent ¤2bn on the W212 E-Class launched in 2009, and a further ¤1bn on the new-generation E-Class arriving here later this year, a car it claims is the company’s most advanced production vehicle ever.

Five billion euro is a lot for just one car. But the Giulia is not just one car. It debuts a platform, a flexible architecture dubbed ‘Giorgio’ that will underpin a range of new-generation Alfa Romeo models, including two SUVs and possibly a rear-drive Giulietta replacement, within the next six years. A successor to the larger 166 sedan is also under consideration, but further out.

Five billion euro also paid for the development of three new engine families – a 2.0-litre petrol and 2.2-litre diesel, and a 2.9-litre twin-turbo V6 – that will power Giulia and the SUVs.

Five billion euro, then, is not a lot to spend on five completely new cars and three completely new engines.

But five billion euro is a hell of a wager on one car. If the Giulia is a flop, then future models spun off this same architecture will be hamstrung. If Giulia fails, Alfa Romeo may too.

Wheels flew to Balocco in northern Italy to drive the Alfa Romeo Giulia. This is what we learned.