Alfa Romeo has confirmed it won’t be building the Tonale with a 2.0-litre engine in right-hand drive, and our friends in the UK are to blame.
Low demand from the UK, the most significant right-hand drive market for Alfa Romeo, means the brand won’t bother developing the most powerful petrol engine for RHD.
“In the UK, no way you can sell that,” Alfa Romeo product head Daniel Guzzafame told Australia media.
“In Japan, almost… that makes it just not viable,” he said.
The 1.5-litre mild-hybrid setup in the Tonale touching down early in 2023 is mated with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and produces 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque.
The PHEV that’ll follow late in 2023 pairs a 1.3-litre turbocharged petrol engine making 132kW of power and 270Nm of torque, with a 90kW electric motor.
There’s also a 33kW electric motor paired with the engine, although it never directly drives the wheels. Instead, it helps the turbocharger at low engine speeds to cut lag, and allows the petrol engine to recharge the battery pack.
The 2.0-litre turbo that’s offered in some markets packs 190kW and 400Nm, mated with all-wheel drive.
That doesn’t mean Australia won’t ever get more power than the PHEV has to offer; Mr Guzzafame echoed comments from Alfa Romeo CEO Jean-Philippe Imparato suggesting a Quadrifoglio version is possible, and it would pack plug-in hybrid power.
Pricing for the Tonale mild-hybrid coming Down Under early in 2023 kicks off just shy of $50,000 before on-road costs, with the range-topper sitting just below $55,000 before on-roads.
Alfa Romeo hasn’t offered an indicative price for the Tonale PHEV, but expect to pay a decent premium over the equivalent hybrid model. In Europe, the price gap between the powertrains is equivalent to around $15,000.