Alfa Romeo Tonale

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ALFA ROMEO used the occasion of the launch of its Tonale to reiterate earlier remarks that the upcoming Quadrifoglio performance version of its small SUV will probably be a battery-electric vehicle (BEV).

Although the Milanese marque has not been one of the early adopters of electrification, Alfa Romeo is set to offer electric-only vehicles from 2027 (its first BEV is slated for delivery in 2024) and has suggested that the flagship performance version of its newest model would be a fitting introduction to its all-electric line-up.

Alfa Romeo’s global product manager Daniel Tiago Guzzafame told journalists that the brand’s electric future was a good indication that the Tonale Quadrifoglio would indeed be battery operated.

“In future, as we’ve said before, Alfa Romeo will be electric. That’s part of the answer,” Mr Guzzafame said.

“The capability, the technical capability, to have a full electric vehicle is there – the Tonale’s platform is capable of that. We will see where in the C-segment SUV market, at a global level, the demand will be for this category of vehicle and, if the demand is there, we will introduce it for sure,” he added.

The remarks closely echo those made by Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato in November 2021. At the time, Mr Impoarato told Autocar magazine that an electric Quadrifoglio version would be introduced only if the available technology could live up to the reputation of Alfa’s four-leaf-clover branded cars.

“For all our models launched, I will always study the possibility of making a performance version of the car that will be fully consistent with the product portfolio message we send,” Mr Imparato said previously.

 

“If I consider that I am not able to offer the right level of performance steps of Quadrifoglio, I will not do a Quadrifoglio version,” he insisted.

From launch, the Tonale will be offered in hybrid and plug-in hybrid guise with a 1.3-litre turbo-petrol engine providing most of the vehicle’s propulsion. 

The entry-grade petrol-electric 48-volt mild-hybrid produces 130hp (97kW) and drives the Tonale’s front wheels via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. Mid-tier variants feature an identical setup but with a 160hp (120kW) output, while the current range-topper combines the petrol engine with a plug-in hybrid system and six-speed torque converter transmission for a combined power output of 275hp (205kW).

All-wheel drive (PHEV) variants rely solely on electric power to drive the rear wheels, which suggests that an all-electric performance variant may indeed offer dual-motor performance and four-wheel traction.

“(Whether the Tonale Quadrifoglio is) within the strategy that Alfa Romeo has already announced – that we will launch our first BEV by 2024 – or that it will be a different vehicle, which we will announce later, remains to be seen, but it will definitely be one of the all-electric models we release by 2027,” Mr Guzzafame clarified.

“Globally, we will be selling electric-only vehicles from that time on, so the transition is starting with something that we want to be relevant for our customers across the globe. 

“Indirect electrification (hybrid and plug-in hybrid) is a natural step … we want to use the technology we have to improve our performance and to make it (the vehicle) relevant for our customers. This is the strategy dictated by the brand and, of course, it’s the direction in which the brand is heading,” he reiterated.

Intriguingly, Mr Guzzafame did not completely rule out the possibility of a petrol-powered Tonale Quadrifoglio. He said the brand already had a petrol-only variant in development for selected LHD markets. 

“For the Quadrifoglio version, we have some alternatives both on the pure thermal (ICE) engine and the electrification side. Again, we want to have something that is relevant for the market at that time… and coherent with the Quadrifoglio emblem on the side of the car,” Mr Guzzafame explained.

“Each (model) program will only be offered with a Quadrifoglio version – depending on whether or not there is demand for that specific type of vehicle, so we will decide at a later stage whether to introduce that or not… we will see whether the market will go in that direction. 

“For the pure thermal petrol engine that is on the way, for now we only have a left-hand-drive version developed. But right-hand-drive is an option that  we are investigating,” he concluded.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale will be manufactured at Stellantis’ Pomigliano d’Arco facility in Italy. It is based on a modified version of the platform that underpins the Fiat 500X and 500L, Jeep Compass and Renegade.

The Alfa Romeo Tonale will go on sale locally at the beginning of 2023 as a rival to the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes-Benz GLA. Pricing and full specifications will be revealed closer to the model’s launch.

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