Alfa Romeo’s entry into the United States has been delayed so many times we can’t even count. It is quite frustrating for potential customers who are looking to buy the Italian brand’s cars when they go on sale here.
It seems as if this time, the stage has been set for an introduction. A network of 130 dealerships has been setup to sell the Fiat 500 and future Alfa Romeos. They are eagerly awaiting new product, and already complaining that Alfa’s reintroduction has been delayed. They will be incensed if it is pushed back any further. The 4C mid-engined sports car appears to take a place as the lead-in Alfa volume product, followed by the Giulia and Giulietta. In preparations for these vehicles, Alfa Romeo is announcing details regarding a new engine produced in Pratola Serra, Italy. It will likely provide power for a significant part of Alfa’s U.S-lineup.
Perhaps very telling is it is said to be specific to the Alfa Romeo. Brand-specific means a significant investment, and shows the importance Fiat is placing on Alfa Romeo going forward. Harald J. Wester, head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati as well as Fiat Chief Technology Officer, said as much. “This is an extremely important step for Alfa Romeo, as we continue to reposition our brand and prepare it for global distribution. The United States remains our primary objective as we prepare for a 2013 introduction of our models……the dedication of Group-wide resources to develop specific powertrain solutions for the specific needs of Alfa Romeo is a reflection of the renewed thrust we are placing on the development of this brand.”
The unit in question is a new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder utilizing the latest technology: dual variable valve timing, direct injection and a high-efficiency turbocharger. As it is an all-aluminum unit, it looks to be very lightweight. Thankfully for enthusiasts, it will also be impressively powerful too. It will sport iterations that offer up to 300 horsepower. Fiat says the 1.8-liter will be flexible, able to be used in longitudinal and transverse applications.