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Alfa’s 1.8-litre hand grenade

Eclipsed: Alfa Romeo's new engine will top the Giulietta’s 173kW 1.7-litre turbo TBi engine as the brand's global performance benchmark in terms of power per litre.

224kW from just 1.8 litres set to give Alfa Romeo engine performance bragging rights

Alfa Romeo logo4 Oct 2011

ALFA ROMEO has announced an explosive 224kW 1.8-litre engine that promises the highest specific output of any mass-produced four-cylinder petrol engine.

To go into production in early 2013, the turbo-charged, all-aluminium engine is expected to debut in a performance flagship GTA version of the Alfa 159 replacement, the Giulia, which is earmarked to appear in European and Australian showrooms the same year.

The unnamed engine is also expected to surface in a number of other Alfa models, including a future Giulietta GTA hatch, a top-shelf version of Alfa’s mid-sized rear-drive 4C coupe and a mooted rear-drive BMW 5 Series competitor – nicknamed the Alfa 169 – due in late 2014.

Asked by GoAuto if the engine would be sought for its Australian range, Alfa importer Ateco Automotive’s public relations manager Edward Rowe said: “Absolutely.”

Alfa Romeo says the engine will not only set new performance standards, but also meet the stringent Euro 6 emissions requirement.

The Italian company also said the engine would be fuel-efficient, but it did not give any anticipated fuel economy figures.

The new engine is set to eclipse the Alfa Romeo Giulietta’s 173kW 1.7-litre turbo TBi engine as the global performance benchmark in terms of power per litre.

Where the TBi pumps out 101kW per litre, the new engine ramps it up to 124kW.

26 center imageLeft: Fiat chief technology officer and head of Alfa Romeo and Maserati Harald Wester. Below: Alfa Giulietta, the 1.7-litre TBi engine and 4C coupe.

This compares with the Renault Megane Renaultsport 265 Trophy’s 97kW, the Volkswagen Golf R’s 94kW, new Ford Focus ST’s 93kW, and BMW 2.0 Twinpower’s 90kW.

Although it is only 1.8 litres, the Alfa four-cylinder engine will match the crunching 224kW output of the bigger, 2.5-litre five-cylinder turbo Ford Focus RS engine sourced from Volvo.

No torque figure was given for the Alfa engine, but it is unlikely to match the thumping 440Nm of the Ford/Volvo powerplant.

Most of the hot-shot 2.0-litre fours of rivals produce torque in the 330-360Nm range.

The new engine was announced by Alfa parent company Fiat’s chief technology officer and head of the Alfa Romeo and Maserati brands Harald Wester, who said it was an important step for Alfa Romeo as it repositioned the brand and prepared it for global distribution.

“The United States remains our primary objective as we prepare for a 2013 introduction of our models,” he said.

“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.

“This is a first step in a series of initiatives to be implemented in the near future which will reconnect Alfa Romeo to its historical roots as a premium Italian sports car brand.”

Alfa says the engine would be designed for both transverse and longitudinal applications, with the latter expected to refer to the new mid-sized, rear-drive sedan designed to rival the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-class.

The all-new Alfa has been mooted for some years, becoming popularly known as the 169, although it is expected to appear under a different name once it hits the showrooms, as Alfa had dropped its numbered nomenclature.

Although the 1.8-litre engine would be small for such a large car, its efficiency would provide tax advantages in Europe where high-CO2 emissions cars are penalised.

The smaller, lighter engine will have a double benefit by allowing Alfa engineers to scale back the size and weight of other components such as the transmission, brakes and front suspension.

Alfa promises the engine will incorporate “the most advanced technological content”, including a 200-bar direct-injection system, dual variable valve timing and a high-efficiency turbocharger.

“The aluminium architecture, combined with the most innovative technologies, will offer power-to-weight ratio, fuel efficiency, acoustic/NVH comfort and driving performance that are the very best in its category and characteristic of Alfa Romeo engines,” the company press release says.

The next two years are shaping up as a watershed period for Alfa, with a Giulietta-based SUV expected in 2012, ahead of the all-new Giulia in 2013 and the ‘169’ luxury sedan and full-sized Alfa SUV in 2014.

The larger Alfa SUV is likely to be based on the next Jeep Patriot and Compass, and probably made in the US.

Fiat this week announced it will build a small Jeep SUV at its main Mirafiori plant in the second half of 2013.

The Jeep and related vehicles under various Fiat group badges are expected to be built on an all-new platform, described by Fiat as one of its three main architectures.

Automotive News reports the architecture called SUSW is a wider, US-compliant version of Fiat's European small architecture of the Giulietta.

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