This article is brought to you by Alfa Romeo.
Car manufacturers are notoriously secretive about their plans for the future. This is not unreasonable. Nobody wants to invest huge sums of money into research and development only to find their ideas already crowding another brand’s forecourt.
Alfa Romeo is such a company and it is in the process of rebuilding its empire. New cars are discussed, product plans change, rumours circulate and then everything goes quiet. So what can we expect for 2014?
Leading the charge is the superb new 4C, and customers can expect the sports car to be a hot seller next year. In addition, there’s the already established Mito and family-sized Giulietta. The future, though, is in a state of flux. Obviously, there will be new cars but what and, indeed, when? These are the questions that Alfa Romeo disciples the world over want answered.
1. Alfa Romeo Giulia
The car that really matters for the important mid-sized premium saloon market is the all-new Alfa Romeo Giulia, which is set to go up against rivals like the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class models.
This is the planned replacement for the Alfa 159 saloon – possibly one of the beautiful car designs in history – and had been scheduled to commence production in 2014.
The latest rumour suggests this timeframe has now been put back at least a year, but it’s still worth keeping an eye out for news in 2014. Despite being delayed more often than UK railway lines during a snowfall, it should be well worth the wait when it finally arrives.
2. Alfa Romeo Mito
The 2014 model Mito will come in four flavours – Sprint, Distinctive, Sportiva and the range-topping Quadrifoglio Verde. Buyers can choose between three petrol and two diesel engines including a new turbocharged TwinAir. The larger car will be similarly specified.
3. Alfa’s secret new roadster
Alfa Romeo has big plans elsewhere too. There will be a roadster (hopefully resurrecting the famous ‘Spider’ name) in 2015 – although we may see it at next year’s motor shows.
The new roadster is a joint project with Mazda, and will share about 40% of its componentry with the next Mazda MX-5. The plan is to channel the essence of the famous 1960s Duetto Spider, as made famous when driven by Dustin Hoffman’s character in The Graduate.
4. Alfa’s secret new SUV
The last time we saw anything like that from Alfa was in 2003 with the well-received ‘Kamal’ concept, although the final production version of the mid-size SUV will apparently not resemble the earlier vehicle.
5. Alfa’s secret new saloon
Arguably, the most important model as far as the company is concerned will be the planned big saloon. Just now the German brands pretty much have this market to themselves and a beautifully designed Italian car is just what’s needed to shake that sector up.
Originally a version of the hugely desirable Ghibli from sister company Maserati was planned but this idea is being reviewed. We’ll just have to wait and see. Certainly the new 4C, and the stunning 8C Competizione before it, were based on a close working relationship between the two Fiat subsidiaries, so maybe an Alfa Romeo flagship based on Maserati’s junior saloon would be a win-win partnership.
The future for Alfa Romeo then looks promising, but it doesn’t really help us now. For performance car enthusiasts, the 4C is the answer to everything you ever dreamed of; and for supermini fans and small families, the two hatchbacks certainly fit the bill.
Obviously, there’s still a good selection of choice. With numerous model variations within the ranges the choice goes up, each with its own characteristics; so really there’s still something for everyone from Alfa Romeo until we see what 2014 finally has in store.