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Alfa readies high-performance engines

Alfa Romeo plans to introduce new high-performance engines, including a range-topping V-6, in a bid to reconnect the brand to its sporty heritage.

The first of the engines — two petrol units and a diesel — will debut in Alfa’s new midsize sedan that will be unveiled in June, supplier sources told ANE. The sedan will go on sale in 2016.

The V-6 petrol engine will have an output of up to 480 hp. The 2.9-liter direct injection unit with twin turbochargers has been re-engineered from the 3.0-liter unit that Ferrari builds for the Maserati Quattroporte and Ghibli sedans, the sources said.

The core petrol engine will be a four-cylinder 2.0-liter direct injection turbocharged unit equipped with MultiAir variable valve timing technology. Called Global Medium Engine, it will be available in outputs from 180 hp to 330 hp and will be mated with manual and automatic transmissions with rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive applications.

The midsize sedan will also offer a new 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine with output from 135 hp to 210 hp.

Alfa is also working with Fiat Chrysler’s subsidiary, VM Motori, on a new version of the 3.0-liter V-6 diesel unit currently offered on some Jeep and Maserati models. The top Alfa version will have its output increased to 340 hp from 275 hp. A 275-hp unit will also be offered.

There are no plans to offer the V-6 diesel in the midsize sedan. It will be offered only in awd applications on a new Alfa large sedan and a new midsize SUV.

Alfa is getting eight new models as part of a €5 billion ($7 billion) investment aimed at boosting the brand’s global sales to 400,000 vehicles in 2018 from 74,000 last year.

The midsize, four-door sedan, whose size fits in between the BMW 3- and 5-series, is set to go on sale in Europe between the first and the second quarter of 2016, with U.S. sales following shortly after.

Code-named project 952, the sedan will be unveiled on June 24, 2015, the day of the 105th anniversary of Alfa’s foundation, most likely at the Alfa museum in Arese, near Milan. The car’s name has not been disclosed. It will not be called the the Giulia as some reports have said.

Project 949, a midsize SUV similar in size to an Audi Q5 and BMW X3, most likely will go on sale by late 2016 and will be the first model to offer the new high output V-6 diesel.