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Alfa Romeo Tonale 2023: go-fast Quadrifoglio version ruled out

Curt Dupriez
Deputy editor

The new Italian small SUV won’t get Alfa Romeo’s high-performance transformation any time soon

Alfa Romeo has revealed that it will not offer a hot Quadrifoglio version of its new Tonale small SUV due to arrive in Oz early next year. 

Speaking to Chasing Cars at the global launch of the Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 in Italy, head of product Daniel Guzzafame explained that there’s little interest in creating a high-performance C-segment SUV, either in current hybrid guise or eventual EV form once the marque goes fully electric in 2027.

“We will move to electric but PHEV is, for now, the right choice (for Tonale) for us…and (a hybrid version) is not a Quadrifoglio,” Guzzafame says. “It does not have the right level of power. 

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Q4 2023 front 3/4
The 2023 Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Q4

He goes on to explain that “we have criteria internally to define what deserves to be a Quadrifolgio and what it takes” and Tonale, even in high-spec 205kW Plug-In Hybrid Q4 all-wheel-drive form, doesn’t measure up. 

“The C-segment (small) SUV isn’t really where the sporty version is living. Those (other marques) offering sporty versions are selling peanuts (in volume terms), like one percent of the (volume) mix of the model.

“If you want to spend money on a powerful version, (buyers) don’t opt for the C SUV segment. You go up (to Giulia or Stelvio). There’s not really a market (for a Tonale Q).”  

Alfa-Romeo twin-turbo V6 engine
Alfa won’t be putting the Quadrifoglio 2.9-litre V6 into the Tonale

Guzzafame claims to never say never and that market feedback rules, though “if we were to do a Quadrifoglio version it would not be an ICE vehicle. I need to be able to sell in all markets today,” where in many global regions, particularly key areas in Europe, they apply heavy penalties to vehicles that don’t conform to increasingly strict emission regulations.  

“We can’t afford not to sell a model in places in Europe that apply 15K to 20K Euro of (emissions-based) taxes.”

The Tonale and flagship Tonale Plug-In Hybrid Q4 won’t go on sale in Australia until next year, a range that looks destined for a short life cycle given Alfa Romeo has pledged a fresh all-electric lineup for 2027, including a new-gen Tonale based-off forthcoming STLA modular electric architecture.    

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Q4 2023 driving hills side
The Alfa Romeo Tonale is a smaller SUV than the midsize Stelvio

Alfa Romeo admits that it is still defining what form Quadrifoglio high performance will take fully electrified for its confirmed new-gen Giulia and Stelvio, as well as future Tonale and two other yet-to-be-revealed EV models, one likely to be Alfa Romeo’s first large E-segment SUV.

But it hasn’t ruled out applying the famed four-leaf clover emblem – in homage to Alfa Romeo’s racing history dating back to 1923 – to a BEV-powered Tonale. The marque currently offers a go-fast ‘Q’ version of its petrol Giulia sedan and midsize Stelvio SUV.  

“We are package protected to go fully electric with Tonale on this generation and we are already working on the next generation,” he adds.

Alfa Romeo Tonale PHEV Q4 2023 factory
An Alfa Romeo Tonale on the production line

Guzzafame also said that the larger 191kW 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four currently offered in Tonale in some left-hand-drive markets – a potential Quadrifoglio heartbeat with some enhancements – won’t be offered in right-hook guise.

“There’s no way you could sell the 2.0 litre in the UK,” he says, “while in Japan…almost. But it just doesn’t make (commercial) sense.”

Alfa Romeo Tonale 2023: prices in Australia

All prices listed are before on-road costs.

  • Ti: $49,900
  • Veloce: $56,400