alfa-159

The upcoming Alfa Romeo compact executive sedan set to challenge the likes of the BMW 3 Series will apparently be unveiled in two days’ time on June 24 at Expo Milano 2015, and will make use of technology from both Maserati and – strangely enough – Ferrari, according to Autocar UK.

Alfa Romeo and Maserati boss Harald Wester said that the brand will serve as a counterpoint to the staid efficiency of its premium German rivals, said to be “mostly cold and clinical…these cars have no soul.” Instead, it’s aiming to trade on character and charm, much like Maserati today.

Very little is said to be known about the new car because it’s being secretly developed in a standalone facility near Modena, but Wester told the British publication that the company’s first new model would be a “mid-size” sedan – it’s due to go on sale next spring. He also gave strong indication that upcoming Alfas will not be equipped with the latest semi-autonomous driving tech, saying it’s out-of-step with its “soulful” character.

The long-awaited replacement to the stunning-but-disappointing 159 is expected to be rear-wheel drive, with all-wheel drive optional in many markets. While mostly new structurally, it will share some elements with the Maserati Ghibli, and has been tuned specifically to at least match the handling benchmarks of class leaders, despite the company’s desire to differentiate itself from the Teutonic competition.

Engines will include a “high-output four-cylinder engine developed for Alfa Romeo” to replace the 1750 TBi currently used in the 4C, tipped to produce up to 298 hp. There will also be a V6 engine also “specially developed for Alfa Romeo,” based on the mill of the rumoured Ferrari Dino. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced in April that it is investing €500mil (RM2.1bil) on building new Alfa engines at its Termoli facility.

alfa-romeo-159

The new “Tipo 952” is said to be crucial to the latest relaunch of Alfa Romeo, which Wester admitted has “over promised and under delivered” in the past. It needs to have both beauty and character, and has to be able to “put the driver at the centre, provide an exceptional driving experience while being inclusive and egalitarian, and display authentic heritage,” qualities deemed important to the brand’s vehicles.

“These are not cars to be driven, but to drive,” Wester said. “We want owners to feel that they’re an integral and indispensable part of the machine. The dynamic element is an important portion of what we do.”

The sedan – which according to Automotive News Europe won’t be called the Giulia as previously believed – will be joined by a Sportwagon variant as well as eight new models by 2018, including two compact cars, a full-size sedan, two SUVs and a “specialty” offering like the 4C; all of which are tasked to grow sales from 74,000 units last year to 400,000 units eventually. The smaller MiTo supermini is expected to be dropped.

“We’re living in a world of fierce competition,” Wester said. “What is absolutely clear is that every car must be significantly better than the target competitors. But the worst strategy is to position against another product. It’s about finding out what the customers want.”