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Can eight brand-new models transform Alfa Romeo into Italy’s answer to BMW?

With the recent introduction of the Giulia, Fiat-owned Alfa Romeo has launched the biggest and most ambitious product offensive in its illustrious, 105-year long history. The automaker believes it can boost its annual sales from  less than 80,000 units last year to about 400,000 units in 2018 by launching at least eight all-new, performance-focused models before the end of the decade.

The next new addition to the Alfa lineup will be a compact crossover built on the same rear-wheel drive platform as the aforementioned Giulia (pictured). Aimed directly at BMW’s X3, the yet-unnamed model will be offered with four- and six-cylinder engines borrowed from the Fiat-Chrysler parts bin, and it will spawn a range-topping, Quadrifoglio Verde-badged model powered by a 510-horsepower V6 engine. Alfa’s first soft-roader is scheduled to make its debut at a major auto show next year.

Alfa will then turn its attention to the Giulietta, a front-wheel drive hatchback sold in Europe that competes in the same arena as the Mercedes-Benz A-Class and the BMW 1 Series. Its replacement will again be available as a four-door hatchback, but it will also be offered as a rakish-looking four-door sedan built to take on the Mercedes CLA-Class. Both body styles will be rear-wheel drive, and they will be designed with the United States market in mind from the get-go.

At the opposite end of the lineup, Alfa will introduce a large sedan that will fight head-to-head against the Mercedes E-Class and the BMW 5 Series, and an equally big crossover aimed at the GLE and the X5. Both models are still at the embryonic stage of development, and they won’t land in showrooms until 2017 at the very earliest.

Finally, British magazine Autocar reports the Italian firm is in the early stages of developing new versions of the GTV coupe and the Spider convertible. The Spider was initially supposed to be based on the new, fourth-gen Mazda MX-5 Miata, but the Japanese-built model was given to Fiat at the last minute because company CEO Sergio Marchionne promised that all future Alfas will be manufactured in Italy.

The seven-year old MiTo — Alfa Romeo’s current entry-level model — will be axed without a successor because the market for small, premium two-door hatchbacks built in Europe is steadily shrinking. Similarly, Alfa Romeo boss Harald Wester hinted that the mid-engined 4C and the topless 4C Spider will not be replaced, though both cars are expected to stick around for quite a bit longer than the MiTo.

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