Alfa Romeo Milano: new electric SUV gets its name

A new electric SUV based on the Jeep Avenger will launch in 2024, with possible Quadrifoglio performance version to come later

Alfa Romeo has confirmed that its new small SUV will be called the Milano – and that it will be revealed in April 2024, before arriving at dealerships in September.

The sister car to the Jeep Avenger, the Alfa Romeo Milano will be a 4.2-metre-long baby crossover based on parent group Stellantis’s e-CMP architecture. We’ve already had a sneak peek at the car’s styling, courtesy of some leaked pictures. The new model will be built at the same factory in Poland as the Jeep, and will share that car’s batteries and motors. But it will have a sharper focus on handling agility, according to Alfa boss Jean-Philippe Imparato.

Confirming the name, last used by Alfa Romeo on US-market versions of the 75 saloon back in the late eighties, Imparato said he was glad to end speculation suggesting the car would be called Brennero or even Junior. He believes the Milano will give Alfa renewed appeal with buyers of its recent lower-end models, such as the Mito and Giulietta. 

“Milano will be an answer to those people who have those cars,” Imparato told us. “We know that they have been expecting something from Alfa Romeo that fits their expectations for the next step. Alfa Romeo has always been about beauty for all, and this means that, at some point in time, you have to face the customer who wants a car that is premium but more accessible to them. This is the signal we want to send with Milano.”

When asked directly how the Milano would feel different from the Avenger and Fiat’s 600, another sister model, Imparato replied: “The answer to that will come on the test track at Balocco. This car follows the platform strategy of the [Stellantis] group, of course. I’m glad for that, because it brings me profits. But always with a touch of Alfa Romeo. When [Stellantis group boss] Carlos Tavares asks me what I want Alfa to be a champion of, I always reply: ‘Handling.’”

The Milano will be available globally as a pure EV, and a mild-hybrid petrol – the same 1.2-litre three-cylinder configuration as the 600 and Avenger. But Imparato said that as it stands, it is destined to come to the UK in electric form only – presumably because of our Zero Emissions Vehicle mandate’s requirement for a minimum percentage of each brand’s cars to be EVs. 

“Since the beginning this car is full electric and hybrid for all the countries except the UK, where we will be only electric,” he said. “It’s a question of compliance in the United Kingdom; it’s what you want as a market.”

This was also the original stated policy for the Avenger, however, and Jeep has since announced that British buyers will be offered petrol-based versions from 2024. Tellingly, Imparato added, “We are totally ready to feed the expectations of the UK with a hybrid version – no problem. I’m ready to switch, depending on the requests of the British market.”

Imparato also revealed that the EV will be launched with four-wheel drive only. This means that Alfa and Jeep now both plan to launch e-CMP-based vehicles with two driven axles (a new feature for the platform) within the next 12 months. Imparato described the launch spec of the Milano as “perfo”, for performance, and said the car would appear initially with Veloce and Special Edition trim levels.

Alfa’s boss declined to issue sales projections, or specify pricing, but he cited both the MINI Countryman and Volvo’s EX30 as potential rivals for the car. “This is the playground for Alfa Romeo,” he said, “in terms of pricing”. Given the four-wheel-drive launch powertrain, that would give the Milano a possible starting figure of just under £40,000 – a little higher than that of the Avenger.

Alfa Romeo Milano Quadrifoglio?

The Alfa boss also refused to rule out the possibility of a high-performance Quadrifoglio version of the Milano in the longer term. “We have a launch version of Milano,” he said, “and afterwards, based on customer feedback, based on what they are ready to pay, we will open the next step in Quadrifoglio compatibility of the car. We want first to test the acceptance and the level of target price and monthly instalments.”

Alfa currently has a plan to launch a new model every calendar year until 2026, meaning the Milano will be followed by two further vehicles, using Stellantis’s new STLA architecture. 

At least one of these cars is expected to be a flagship SUV, but Imparato said, “I do not give up on the sedan [saloon] side, despite the fact that this segment is suffering. When you speak about electrification, you speak about aero, you speak about sedans. That’s a conviction for me; this silhouette will come back. I don’t want to become a purely SUV brand.”

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