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Future models - Alfa Romeo - 159

First look: Alfa 159 packs Holden power

Holden-powered: 159 V6 will feature an Australian-built 191kW 3.2 V6.

Alfa Romeo unveils its 156 medium sedan successor ahead of its Geneva show debut

23 Feb 2005

ALFA Romeo has revealed the replacement for its volume selling 156 medium sedan ahead of its worldwide premiere at the Geneva motor show on March 1.

Surprisingly dubbed 159, in line with a new "9"-sufixed naming policy for all future Alfa Romeo models to be based on a new General Motors platform, first versions of the 156’s successor will go on sale in Australia in mid-2006.

Larger in every dimension, available in all-wheel drive and powered by more powerful engines than its predecessor - including a Holden-built 3.2-litre JTS V6 – 159 will replace a model that was largely responsible for Alfa Romeo’s record global sales in recent years.

To be available with three new JTS petrol engines and two new turbo-diesels in Europe, the Australian 159 range is expected to comprise a new 136kW/230Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder and the 191kW/322Nm 3.2 V6, both featuring Alfa’s Jet Thrust Stoichiometric (JTS) direct petrol injection system, continuous dual variable valve timing and Euro 4 emissions standard compliance.

Alfa Australia is also considering the introduction of a diesel version for the first time, powered by a new 2.4-litre JTDM 20-valve five-cylinder offering 147kW and a blokey 400Nm of torque.

Production of the 2.2 petrol and a 1.9-litre 110kW/320Nm JTDM diesel will begin in mid-2005 to cater for European diesel customers, which accounted for 76 per cent of Alfa buyers last year, while 159 V6 production will begin in early 2006.

Expect an Australian starting price for the front-drive 2.2-litre 159 sedan in the mid to high $50,000 bracket, representing a moderate increase on the current 2.0-litre JTS entry-level 156.

New six-speed manual transmissions will be available across the European range, along with automatics and a six-speed Selespeed clutchless manual. However, final Australian specification – including transmission choices and the availability of all-wheel drive – is yet to be finalised.

26 center image Joining 159 on Alfa Romeo’s Geneva stand will be the new Brera coupe that will also go on sale here in 2006 as the GTV replacement. The two-door Brera will share the same platform and 3.2 V6 with 159.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in collaboration with the Alfa Romeo Styling Centre, 159’s new trapezoidal front-end is dominated by Alfa’s cloverleaf with large shield.

A prominent shoulder extends along the waistline and broadens at the rear pillar, making the rear-end the widest part of the car. A small rear spoiler, elongated tail-lights divided by the boot and twin chromed exhaust outlets on V6 versions complete the rear-end look. A choice of 14 paint colours will be available in Europe.

Measuring 4660mm long, 1828mm wide and 1417mm high and riding on a 2700mm wheelbase, 159 is claimed to bring substantial advances in passenger space and ergonomics, along with a wrap-around centre console featuring instruments that area gain angles toward the driver. In overseas markets, the range will include three specification levels.

Alfa Romeo makes much of the 159’s new premium platform, which features double wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension, multiple sheet metal and laser welding construction and boxed elements to produce three impact load lines at the front and longitudinals that run the length of the car.

The result is torsional rigidity that’s said to be the best in its segment - more than 180,000 daNm/rad.

Safety features will include as many as eight airbags (including knee bags), seatbelt clasp pretensioners, decreasing seatbelt load limiters anti-whiplash front seats. VDC stability control, ASR traction control, HBA hydraulic brake assistance, EBD electronic brake-force distribution, a hill holder and bi-Xenon headlights will be available.

Tyre dimensions will be the largest in class, up to a 235/45 R18, while the permanent all-wheel drive system features three differentials (including a Torsen C self-locking centre diff) adopted from the 156 Sportwagon-based Crosswagon sold in Europe. Dubbed “Alfa Romeo Q4 four-wheel drive”, the system sends 57 per cent of torque to the rear wheels in normal conditions.

New equipment will include front and rear rain, dusk and parking sensors, satellite-navigator with maps and 3D display, voice control, a built-in GSM hands-free telephone, dual or tri-zone automatic climate control, powered seats, folding rear seats, an MP3 and 10-CD BOSE Hi-Fi sound system with AutoPilot automatic sound compensation and push-button console ignition.

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