Alfa Romeo SUV aims to raise Nurburgring benchmark

Alfa Romeo SUV aims to raise Nurburgring benchmark

Alfa Romeo has made a few big promises for its upcoming SUV, apparently aiming to dethrone the Porsche Cayenne as the new performance leader in the segment.

The upcoming model, which still has no official name, promises to deliver “peerless performance when it comes to zero-to-60 and Nurburgring times,” according to Alfa’s North American boss, Reid Bigland, in an interview with Car and Driver.

To deliver on the claims, the high-riding model will have to beat the Cayenne Turbo S. Powered by a twin-turbocharged 4.8-liter V8 with 570 horsepower and 590 lb-ft of twist, Porsche’s flagship sport ‘ute can get up to 60 mph from a stop in just 3.8 seconds and boasts a Nurburgring time of 7:59.74.

Development is said to be in the late stages, albeit a bit behind the original anticipated schedule. Confirming recent rumors, the company has confirmed that it is unlikely to arrive in the US until early 2017.

Spy shots have shown a development prototype awkwardly clad in a Fiat 500L body. It is expected to be built upon Alfa’s new Giorgio architecture, with both rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations. Entry-level packages will likely be motivated by a turbo four-cylinder engine, with a turbo six for top trim levels.

“It’s well underway; we’ve shown the car to our dealers, but it’s got to be right before we bring it to the market,” Bigland added.

In terms of size, the executive suggests the SUV will be slightly larger than a BMW X3. It will also presumably be positioned as a rival to the Porsche Macan and Audi Q5.