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First look: Lancia unveils new-look Delta

Sports wagon: The Delta owes its styling cues to the 1970s Lancia Beta HPE.

Italian luxury marque to go global by filling its gaping product hole

13 Sep 2006

FIAT appears intent on addressing the shortcomings of its long-neglected luxury brand, Lancia, if its latest concept car is any guide.

Revealed at this week’s 63rd Venice International Film Festival and to be shown at the Paris motor show later this month, the Delta HPE is believed to preview an all-new model that will herald the return of right-hand drive Lancias.

The same car will also fill the yawning hole in Lancia’s range between the small Ypsilon/Musa hatches and the larger, Alfa 156-based Lybra sedan that has existed since the original Delta disappeared in 1999.

Lancia says the Delta HPE takes its inspiration from the "practical, sporty, elegant car concept embodied in the Lancia Beta HPE during the second half of the Seventies" to represent a sporting but practical take on the mid-sized shooting brake (sports wagon).

The surprisingly stylish Lancia concept appears to take many styling cues from sister brand and parent company Fiat’s redesigned Stilo (to be named Bravo), which will be sold Down Under in 2007 and with which it will share its underpinnings. As such, it measures 4.5m long, 1.8m wide and 1.5m tall.

136 center imageRiding on a 2700mm wheelbase, the Delta concept is claimed to offer "extraordinary roominess", especially for rear passengers, who benefit from a sliding seat with reclining backrests. There is also a 400-litre boot and all-independent suspension with SDC electronic damping control.

Lancia says the Delta HPE Concept Car is designed to be equipped with a selection of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines ranging from 90kW to 150kW in power output, each mated to either six-speed manual or "robotized" transmissions.

Australian Fiat Group distributor Ateco Automotive has the first right of refusal for the Lancia brand in Australia, but do not expect to see the upmarket Italian marque – the continued existence of which is owed largely to the new Ypsilon hatch’s popularity in Europe – appear locally alongside Fiat and Alfa any time soon.

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