Not all revolution is a good thing and in the 1980s, there was an honest revolution taking place in the automotive industry. As government regulations burdened buyers with underachieving engines smothered under the weight of complex and inefficient smog equipment, and designers became corporate minimalists obsessed with wind tunnels and fractions, front-wheel drive was slowly dominating automotive engineering. Rear-wheel drive cars were suddenly old-fashioned and front-drive was the second coming of Christ — if you wanted a fuel efficient car that had good handling and was fun to drive, it had better not send what little power it mustered to the pavement through its back wheels.
Even some enthusiast brands, who usually denounce front-drive cars for having the same handling characteristics at the limit as a bull moose in heat, became swept up in the trend, and Italy's Alfa Romeo was no exception. While Alfa flirted with the layout in the 50s for a compact car, it mostly stuck to rear-drive cars until — yep — the '80s. By the early '90s, all of the brand's portfolio was front-drive. So, while a '90s Alfa was painfully beautiful to look at, it really wasn't as much of a pure driver's car in comparison to a similar vintage BMW.
Thankfully, Alfa at least realizes that if it wants to give BMW a run for its money, it's going to have to move away from front-wheel drive. A new rear-drive Alfa, said to be named Giulia, has been all but explicitly stated to be in the works by Sergio Marchionne, CEO of parent company Fiat (or is that Fiat Chrysler, now?) for almost four years now. Actually, the new Giulia was slated to debut this year, but like Alfa's Stateside return, has been repeatedly delayed for reasons safeguarded by the Cerberus of development hell. The Giulia is supposed to be the replacement for the defunct 159 D-segment model.
Fear not, though, because Alfa's new rear-drive platform isn't just vaporware. It's real. It has a name. And, according to Automotive News, that name is "Giorgio."
Why Giorgio? Who knows and who cares? What we do know now is that the platform is being developed in Modena, Italy at Maserati HQ under the direction of Philippe Krief. The platform can also support all-wheel drive as well (not surprised).
But building a new platform exclusively for Alfa probably wouldn't yield a return on its investment, so the new architecture is going to be shared with Dodge and possibly Chrysler. What does that mean? More than likely, the replacement for the Dodge Avenger will be related to the new Giulia as current rumor suggests. In other words, there's going to be a new rear-drive kid on the block at your Dodge dealer in the future, likely sold alongside the Dodge Charger and Challenger.
So, at the very least, if Alfa's Green Card is delayed until the Rapture and the coming of the Four Horsemen, at least they'll sneak onto our roadways wearing crosshair grilles for fake mustaches.
(Source: Automotive News ... yeah, there's a pay wall.)