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Alfa upgrades new-look Sportwagon

Accelerated: The 156 Sportwagon's 0-100 km/h performance has improved from 8.6 to 8.2 seconds.

A price rise accompanies the upgraded Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon

11 Nov 2003

THE updated Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon is now on sale in Australia, with improvements added to the restyled model.

Prices have increased from $52,500 to $53,500 for the five-speed manual and from $55,500 to $56,500 for the five-speed Selespeed auto, but Alfa has added more standard features to compensate.

Exterior changes include a larger front grille, new design headlights and a narrower lower bumper area.

Standard interior features include the new InfoCentre multifunction display, an LCD screen housing trip computer and external temperature readout, and a multi-zone climate control air-conditioning system enhanced by larger top dashboard vents.

Further down the dash is a new Blaupunkt audio system incorporating a single-CD player with six speakers, while operation is simplified by new steering wheel-mounted controls.

Occupant safety includes standard fitment of six airbags, with window airbags joining the front airbags and the side impact airbags fitted into the front seats.

Standard safety features are extend with Vehicle Dynamics Control (VDC), Motor Speed Regulator (MSR) and Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) to help the driver maintain control of the car in emergency situations, stop wheel lock-up skids caused by sharp gear changes and take over braking in emergency situations.

The new 2.0-litre four-cylinder JTA engine replaces the twin spark engine of the same capacity, boosting power from 114kW to 121kW and raising torque from 187Nm to a handy 206Nm.

The new engine meets the ultra tough Euro IV emissions standards, but fuel consumption remains the same with the EU average test delivering 6.8 litres per 100 kilometres.

The power increase is a result of a direct fuel injection system with the fuel pumped directly into the cylinder head around the sparkplug.

At low engine speeds it operates as a lean burn engine, while at higher engine speeds it progressively switches to a normal fuel air mixture to provide top-end performance.

Supporting that, the 0-100km/h performance has improved from 8.6 to 8.2 seconds.

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