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Grande grunt for Fiat Group's new oiler

Grunty: Latest 1.9 JTD diesel four matches Alfa 159's 2.4 diesel for torque.

Fiat reveals a lusty new twin-stage turbo-diesel, bound for Alfa's all-new Junior

12 Jun 2007

FIAT Powertrain Technologies has revealed two bahnstorming new 1.9 JTD turbo-diesel fours, and Australians are odds-on to see the top-shelf 140kW/400Nm version first in the all-new Junior hatch from Alfa Romeo next year.

The latest incarnation of Fiat Group’s 1.9-litre turbo-diesel, which currently powers Alfa’s small 147 hatch and 159 medium sedan and (Sport)wagon, as well as the light-sized Fiat Punto hatch, employs "Twin Stage Turbo" technology to improve bottom-end torque by 50 per cent, with 300Nm available from just 1250rpm.

Both engines produce a maximum of 400Nm at 2000rpm and peak power at 4000rpm, but while the 132kW version will be fitted to next year’s Abarth version of the Fiat-branded Punto and made available to customers outside the Group, the flagship 140kW version is likely to remain exclusive to Alfa, at least in Australia.

Fiat Group’s current 1.9 JTD engine offers 110kW (at 4000rpm) and 320Nm (at 2000rpm) in the 159 and 110kW/305Nm in the 147, while the Punto gets 88kW and 96kW two-valve versions – both with 280Nm.

The newest 1.9 JTD delivers almost as much power and the same torque as the 159’s 2.4-litre five-cylinder JTD turbo-diesel (147kW/400Nm).

The more powerful new four-cylinder diesel engines, which feature a cast-iron cylinder block and aluminium cylinder head, continue to displace 1.910 litres via a long-stroke 82mm bore x 90.4mm stroke design. Weighing 185kg, they also continue to comprise 16 valves, twin belt-driven overhead camshafts and 1600-bar Multijet common-rail fuel-injection.

Apart from two-stage turbo technology, which is claimed to combine the top-end benefits of a large turbocharger with the bottom-end torque advantage of a small turbo, the performance boost comes courtesy of increased (180-bar) peak cylinder pressure and exhaust gas temperatures (up to 800 degrees C).

Fiat says TST also increases exhaust gas circulation without increasing fuel consumption, thus reducing NOx emissions. Thanks in part to a reduced compression ratio (from 17.5 to 16.5:1) and the adoption of low-voltage metallic glow plugs, the newest 1.9 JTD mill also meets strict Euro 5 emissions standards.

 center imageThe 132kW engine will commence production next month, while the 140kW version will be built from June 2008 – both at the FPT plant at Pratola Sierra, which has an annual capacity of 600,000, including both versions of the current 1.9 JTD engine. The new diesels will be produced alongside Fiat’s 1.6, 1.8, 2.0 and 2.4-litre petrol engines, as well as the 2.4 JTD.

The new 1.9 JTD is expected to make its Australian debut in Alfa’s brand-new sub-147 Junior model, which will make its global debut at the Geneva motor show in March next year and its local debut at the Sydney motor show in October 2008, in an effort to differentiate the all-new Alfa mini from the Fiat upon which it’s based – the Punto..

The latter will receive it (in lesser 132kW guise only) in top-shelf Abarth guise – as well as with a new 112kW 1.4-litre turbo petrol engine. A booster kit ups power to 134kW – an even bigger lift from the standard 1.4’s 57kW. Expect both petrol and, for the first time, diesel versions of the new Punto Abarth to appear at the 2008 Sydney show too.

The new 1.9 JTD is unlikely to power the 147 or 159 in their current generations, however, meaning the 147 will become the redesigned 149 in 2009 (the same year a new 169 sedan flagship is due to appear) before it’s powered by the latest-generation 1.9 JTD.

This October’s Ritmo (known elsewhere as the Bravo and to be Australia’s second Fiat passenger car following Punto) will be the first Fiat to accept the new diesel, in low-blow 132kW form. Already on sale in Europe, the Ritmo/Bravo will make its Aussie debut at the Sydney motor show, and should also come with new 1.6-litre JTD diesels offering 78 and 90kW.

From launch, its largest petrol engine will be a 1.4 – until Chinese-built Chery 1.8 (manual) and 2.0-litre (automatic) engines arrive. The same engines will also bolster the Punto range, which currently comprises only 1.4 petrol, and 1.3 and 1.9-litre diesel engine options.

In other Fiat news, Australian roads are now unlikely to be graced by the compact Panda because its price would considerably overlap that of the new Fiat 500, which will be launched in Europe within weeks and goes on sale here around Melbourne motor show time in March 2008.

Similarly, Fiat’s large Croma model is considered too close to sister brand Alfa’s 159 for comfort, while the Suzuki SX4-based Sedici is proving too popular in Europe for Australians to see the small Fiat crossover any time soon.

One future Fiat group vehicle presumed dead but apparently still alive is the Alfa Kamal, which appeared way back at the 2003 Geneva show. According to Fiat Group insiders, the Kamal name will reappear on a mid-size Alfa coupe-crossover with five seats – an all-new model that will also underpin a new mid-sized seven-seat SUV for Fiat, also based on the new Bravo/Ritmo platform.

Yet another SUV, the Kubang, presented by yet another Ateco Automotive brand in Australia, Maserati, has been confirmed as still-born, while the same brand’s GranTurismo supercar will make its local debut at the 2008 Sydney show.

Finally, fellow Italian brand Alfa Romeo begins production of its supercar, the left-hand-drive-only 8C Competizione, within weeks and first deliveries – including five for well-heeled Australian customers – are expected in September.

What’s coming from Fiat:

Ritmo hatch – October
500 – March 2008
Punto Abarth hatch – October 2008
Punto hatch facelift – October 2008
500 hatch Abarth – 2009
500 cabrio – 2009
Ritmo wagon - 2010
Mid-size seven-seat SUV – 2010

What’s coming from Alfa Romeo:

8C Competizione – September
Junior – October 2008
149 hatch – 2009
169 sedan – 2009
Coupe-crossover – 2010

Read more:

Alfa Romeo 159 sedan range drive impressions

Fiat's new Bravo laid bare

Bravo becomes Ritmo

Punto gets Abarth treatment

Alfa eyes Cooper S with Junior


The Road to Recovery podcast series


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