While a Chrysler-developed platform is rumoured to form the basis of the next generation 159, new concepts presented by Bertone, Pininfarina and Italdesign Giugiaro at the Geneva Auto Show in February hint at the new model's design.
A report by Britain's car magazine this week claims Alfa is planning to launch the new model - reportedly to be named 'Giulia' - as early as next year, in sedan, coupe and wagon body styles.
According to an earlier Edmunds report, Bertone will be responsible for the coupe version, Pininfarina for the convertible and Italdesign Giugiaro the sedan.
The current generation 159 is offered in sedan and wagon bodystyles. With Alfa moving away from its numerical nomenclature, recent rumours have suggested the new model will be named Giulia.
According to car, the Giulia will feature a McPherson front axle and a twin-link rear suspension arrangement. The standard layout is expected to be front-wheel-drive, but all-wheel-drive will reportedly be an option for higher-spec models.
Alfa is reportedly aiming for 100,000 global sales for the new model - the same target pegged for the MiTo and upcoming Giulietta.
Alfa Romeo has lost between 300 million and 650 million dollars each year for the past 10 years, sources told Automotive News Europe recently. In 2008, Alfa sold 103,000 new cars, compared to 203,000 in 2000.
Marchionne is believed to be investigating Fiat’s options for its sporty premium brand, concerned that the struggling Alfa has been given too many chances already.
“We need to stop doing it. You cannot be a newborn Christian every four years. It’s the same religion, eventually you need to own a religion and carry it to conclusion,” Mr Marchionne told Automotive News Europe.
“We need to work a lot harder on Alfa to make an intelligent decision that effectively preserves the highest possible value to Fiat.”
The move to develop a successor to the 159 coincides with Alfa Romeo's centenary celebrations, due to take place later this year.