Talk of a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan for Alfa Romeo dates back several years, with the boss of Fiat Sergio Marchionne previously dismissing the project as being a low priority in light of Alfa Romeo’s long-awaited return to the U.S.

With Alfa Romeo currently offering just two models worldwide, the MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks, and sales of the crucial Giulia front-wheel-drive sedan long overdue, Marchionne is probably right to delay any plans for a new range-topping sedan, though that didn’t stop him from commenting recently on just such a car.

When asked by Automotive News Europe (subscription required) if Alfa Romeo would ever launch a large, rear-wheel-drive sedan, possibly one based on the upcoming Maserati Ghibli, Marchionne said if it were to happen, the new model would “undoubtedly” share a platform with a Maserati and be built together with the Maserati version in the automaker’s plant just outside of Turin, Italy.

Marchionne also confirmed that such an Alfa Romeo would be big enough to entice Chinese buyers looking for a car to be chauffeured around in. The Ghibli will be about the same size as a BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E Class.

Development of the Ghibli is progressing nicely, and a reveal is expected early next year. The car will ride on a shortened version of the 2014 Maserati Quattroporte’s platform and will feature engines supplied by Ferrari. Marchionne recently said that Ferrari would also supply engines to Alfa Romeo, namely, a new turbocharged V-6, and it’s likely the rear-wheel-drive sedan is the model the engine is intended for, it it's ever produced.

Of course, Alfa Romeo has several more important issues at hand. The main one is executing a successful return to the U.S. market, which is now expected to happen late next year or in early 2014. New models coinciding with Alfa’s U.S. return will be the 4C sports car, a new Spider convertible based on the next-generation Mazda MX-5, a new compact crossover, and the Giulia sedan.


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