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Alfa adds spice to 159 Sportwagon

Driver’s special: As well as sending the 159 Sportwagon’s base mark back under $60K, the special-order 1750 TBi manual will offer niche appeal to keen drivers.

Alfa Romeo slots 147kW turbo into 159 wagon, entry level cut to $51,990

24 Feb 2011

FOLLOWING a similar move with its 159 sedan late last year, Alfa Romeo has lowered the entry level of its 159 Sportwagon series with the introduction of a manual-only $51,990 1750 TBi variant featuring the Italian marque’s potent new 147kW 1.7-litre turbo-petrol engine.

Restricted to ‘special order’ status, which means customers could be required to wait about three months for delivery, the 1750 TBi Sportwagon also emulates the 159 sedan in being available with a higher-grade Ti specification, which starts from $56,480 (plus on-road costs).

Now slotting into a host of models across Alfa Romeo’s range, including the Brera and Spider in January and the new Giulietta QV (in 173kW tune), the new 1742cc four-cylinder engine complies with the Euro 5 emissions standard, employs direct injection and dual variable valve timing, and produces 147kW at 5000rpm and 320Nm from just 1400rpm.

Performance-wise, the 1750 TBi Sportwagon front-drive manual can accelerate from 0-100km/h in a claimed 7.9 seconds, on its way to a 233km/h top speed. It returns 8.3L/100km on the combined fuel economy cycle, and emits 194g/km of CO2.

Although most sales of the 159 station wagon are for the 2.4 JTD diesel automatic, Alfa Romeo importer Ateco Automotive says it chose to make the 1750 TBi available – albeit as a special order model only – “for customers who wish to have the dynamic driving involvement of a manual gearbox”.

26 center imageTop:The 1750 TBi engine. Bottom: Fiat 500 Esseesse.

As with the 159 sedan, the Sportwagon 1750 TBi is fitted standard with seven airbags, electronic stability control, ABS brakes with brake assist and a hill-holder, leather upholstery, cruise control, foglights, power windows/mirrors, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, automatic headlights, remote central locking, rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, the Blue&Me infotainment system and voice-activated Bluetooth connectivity.

The sporting Ti grade for the 1750 TBi adds 20mm-lower sports suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels with 235/40 R19 tyres, Brembo brakes (with red callipers), a bodykit, aluminium-finish exterior mirrors, black leather upholstery with contrasting red stitching, power-adjustable heated sports seats, red instrument highlights and aluminium trim for the dashboard, door sills and drilled sports pedals.

With the departure of the diesel-powered 1.9 JTD Q-Tronic last year, the 159 Sportwagon range was, prior to this week’s 1750 TBi announcement, opening at $63,990 for the front-drive 2.4 JTD Q-Tronic – a 147kW/400Nm 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel matched with a six-speed automatic.

The Ti package is also available on the 2.4 JTD – for an extra $2000 – while the Sportwagon range continues to top out at $82,990 for the 191kW/322Nm 3.2-litre V6 petrol Ti, which drives all four wheels through a six-speed automatic.

Metallic paint adds $1600 across the range, while a sunroof is also available for an extra $2250.

In other Fiat-related news, Ateco has announced that its first shipment of the Abarth 500 Esseesse (50 units) has sold out ahead of its mid-March release, and that around half of the second shipment – that is, 25 units – has also been sold prior to its arrival in April.

This is despite the fact that pricing for the little Italian pocket rocket is still to be confirmed.

General manager for Abarth in Australia, Andrei Zaitzev, said: “While we are amazed by the demand for the Abarth 500 Esseesse, it isn’t a huge surprise.

“The Abarth 500’s Australian arrival was delayed by demand in Europe, which meant that there was already pent-up demand here. The announcement that we would launch with the rare, high-performance Esseesse version sent an extra rush of people to our dealerships wanting to be amongst the first on the road in an Abarth 500.

“We have had customers trying, for example, to buy a car in as many as four separate places.”

As GoAuto has reported, the 500 Esseesse will be available in Australia via single Abarth dealers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, although Fiat dealers across the nation will be able to provide servicing and parts.

Powered by a 117kW/230Nm version of the regular Abarth 500’s 99kW/206Nm turbocharged 1.4-litre engine, Australia’s first Abarth model will join the 1.4 Sport as the second variant in Australia’s slimmed down 500 range.

159 Sportwagonpricing:
1750 TBi$51,990
Ti 1750 TBi$56,480
2.4 JTD Q-Tronic (a)$63,990
Ti 2.4 JTD Q-Tronic (a)$65,990
Ti 3.2 V6 Q-Tronic (a)$82,990

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