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Alfa Romeo planning full-blown model offensive

Fiat’s troubled Alfa Romeo division is preparing to embark on an ambitious model offensive that executives hope will give the company a much-needed boost. A new report provides insight on how the company’s lineup is expected to grow over the coming years.

The first addition to the Alfa Romeo lineup will be a topless version of the 4C sports car, a model previewed by a close-to-production concept (pictured) that bowed in Geneva earlier this year.  Tentatively scheduled to arrive in showrooms next summer,  the 4C Spider will be nearly identical to the coupe but it will feature a removable carbon fiber roof panel and ditch its hardtop counterpart’s oft-criticized bug-eye headlights. Mechanically, the Spider will retain the coupe’s 1.7-liter turbo four.

Alfa Romeo will begin to chase volume in 2016 when it introduces a midsize sedan aimed at the BMW 5-Series and the Audi A6.  The yet-unnamed sedan will inaugurate a new range of gasoline-burning engines that will include a 2.2-liter four-cylinder and a 3.3-liter V6 capable of producing over 500 horsepower. Most models will come with rear-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive will be available at an extra cost.

Related: Alfa Romeo 4C driven

A large flagship sedan will arrive in 2016 at the earliest. It will be designed to fight head-to-head against the Audi A8 and the BMW 7-Series but it will not be offered with a V8 engine, relying instead on powerful turbocharged six-cylinders units. At the other end of the spectrum, the midsize sedan will spawn both a four-seater coupe and a sporty roadster.

Alfa’s European executives are pushing for a successor to the MiTo and Giulietta hatchbacks and for a station wagon, but the company’s top brass has not decided whether to move ahead with the projects for cost reasons. Finally, Alfa’s upcoming lineup will include at least two crossovers designed largely for lucrative high-volume markets like the United States and China.

Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne hopes the slew of new models will help Alfa Romeo sell a total of 400,000 cars annually by 2018. To put that figure into perspective, trade journal Automotive News reports Alfa only sold 74,000 cars last year, and analysts predict this year’s figure will be even lower.