Images: Alfa Romeo 159 to Debut at Melbourne
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Alfa Romeo 159 to Debut at the Melbourne Motor Show
Thanks to the Commonwealth Games, which has usurped its traditional March date, the Melbourne International Motor Show will open Australia's motor show season this year on 9 February 2006 and Alfa Romeo is using the show to debut its all-new Alfa Romeo 159.
Due to go on sale in New Zealand, as well as Australia, in the middle of 2006, the Alfa Romeo 159 is the first of a whole family of new Alfa Romeo cars that will arrive over the next two years and which includes the acclaimed Alfa Romeo Brera.
"This year will be the busiest for Alfa Romeo in New Zealand since the launch of the Alfa 156 and the Melbourne show will be giving us a taste of what's to come this year," says Lawrie Malatios, General Manager for Alfa Romeo in New Zealand. "Replacing the Alfa 156, one of the most successful Alfa Romeos of all time, will be tough task, but 159 has developed the unique style of the 156, added more features and performance and will offer versions that have not previously been available in New Zealand. It is ideally positioned, therefore, to exceed the sales performance of the Alfa 156 and find its own place in the record books."
Born from Alfa's long, acknowledged experience in the production of prestigious sports saloons, the Alfa 159 is the result of innovative design and technology developed by an international team that has succeeded in combining performance and formerly irreconcilable targets - extremely entertaining driving, outstanding performance and distinctive styling - with outstanding levels of safety, comfort and build quality, without compromise.
To achieve this, the Alfa 159 boasts a completely new chassis and new suspension, plus a new generation of engines and gearboxes, while the stylists drew on this Alfa Romeo's history, creating a design that is unmistakably Italian, yet fresh and modern.
ALFA 159 ~ STYLING
The new Alfa 159 is a prestigious saloon that combines refined Italian styling with the sporty elegance typical of Alfa Romeo.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in
collaboration with the Alfa Romeo Styling Centre, the new
car has an elegant, strong lines, which manage to combine
generous dimensions with the compact visual presence that is
typical of Alfa Romeo sedans. The car is 4,660 mm long,
1,828 mm wide and 1,417 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,700
mm and these dimensions translate into a spacious interior.
Starting with the strong, vital front, which is dominated by the large Alfa Romeo shield, from which the lines of the entire car springs, combining a light stylistic "aggressiveness" with strikingly elegant forms. This impression is underlined by the lateral air intakes, the beautiful light clusters and the deep "V" of the bonnet which underlines the presence of a generous engine, the compact, tapered passenger compartment and the wings which represent the widest point of the body.
The rear end with its horizontal design, speaks the same language as the front: from the curve of the rear window over the rear wheels to the wrapround light clusters, small spoiler and double chromed exhaust tail-pipe that increase the sporty impression.
The profile of the Alfa 159 is a clear reminder that every car's elegance is based on harmonious relations: on one hand the relation between the long bonnet and the compact passenger compartment provides prestige, while the ratio between the windows and the sides gives it a sporty personality, highlighted by the compactness of the cabin, an effect created primarily by the pillars, with the front pillar set back and the "elbow" shaped rear pillar. The deep crease in the side also emphasises the car's sleekness.
The interior of the Alfa 159 was designed by the Alfa Romeo Styling Centre and combines superb styling and a sporty personality. Starting with the excellent driving position, which is defined by precise ratios between the pedals, the seat, the steering wheel and the gearbox, evolved to provide maximum control and comfort.
The interior is developed around the driver in the characteristic "cockpit" structure, which incorporates the classic three-spoke steering wheel, the two ribs of the lip, the instruments on the console and the gear lever, achieving continuity between the facia and the console. The uniformity of the stylistic language is also evident in the circular shape of the analogue dials, the air vents, and the buttons and knobs. Even the symbols and graphics conform to the same pattern, and the principle of immediate clarity and easy legibility.
The front passenger seat differs for the uncluttered, enveloping space of the facia which links up with the instrument panel to enhance the sense of roominess and comfort. The supportive, sporty front and rear seats reiterate this idea, meticulously made with top quality materials, paying great attention to the stitching and the traditional detail of the segments and piping.
The interior of the new Alfa 159 embodies the balanced combination of elegance and sportiness that is the hallmark of all Alfa Romeo cars. It is underlined by essential, sober, clean lines and superb materials: quality fabrics, precious fine grain leather, aluminium that is cool to touch, and exquisite craftsmanship with the appeal of artisan handiwork.
ALFA 159 ~ COMFORT
The Alfa 159 surrounds the driver and passengers with technology that guarantees a high level of dynamic, acoustic and climatic comfort. The efficient soundproofing and the high torsional and flexural rigidity of the bodyshell create a muted, enveloping vibration-free interior ambience. That is not all. The new model also features a generous luggage compartment and numerous storage units, plus exclusive equipment to enhance well-being on board.
These include Cruise Control, rain, dusk, and parking sensors, automatic climate system with dual or tri-zone air distribution and temperature control, radio with CD and MP3 player and a 10-disc CD-changer, the option of a BOSE® Hi-fi Sound System with a central speaker on the facia for sharper acoustics, the option of seats with electric adjustment, a folding rear seat, alloy wheels and pushbutton ignition control on the console.
ALFA 159 ~ ON THE ROAD
The Alfa 159 guarantees the extraordinary roadholding that is innate in all Alfa Romeo models. This is achieved with the new suspension - high double wishbones at the front and Multilink at the rear - and extremely precise steering, which is the most direct amongst its rivals and with a small turning circle.
This prestigious new saloon also features numerous electronic systems that control the car's dynamic behaviour, including a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC), Anti Slip Regulation (ASR), Hydraulic Brake Assistance (HBA) which intervenes during emergency braking, ABS complete with EBD, and a Hill Holder to simplify hill starts.
The front-wheel drive versions in the Alfa 159 range are joined by a version with Q4 permanent four-wheel drive, a system which guarantees excellent traction and enjoyable driving. The Alfa 159 4x4 system is permanent, with three differentials, and it splits drive constantly and dynamically over the 4 wheels, both when accelerating and on the release, maintaining the highest levels of active safety and sportiness. The Torsen C self-locking central differential manages the drive torque, splitting it 57% to the rear wheel and 43% to the front wheels, to produce a slight oversteer, particularly with a sporty driving style. The system also guarantees excellent traction in all grip conditions, by automatically checking slip.
ALFA 159 ~ SAFETY
One aim of the new Alfa 159 Project was to set the benchmark for passive safety. To do this, the Alfa Romeo engineers designed and developed the new "premium" platform, with high performance materials, multiply sheet metal and laser welding.
The architecture of the bodyshell also benefits from numerous measures such as the use of boxed elements that are connected rigidly both transversely and vertically, three load lines in the front, longitudinals that run the whole length of the car, built-in structures and a larger number of spot welds around structural nodes. The result is the excellent torsional rigidity of the bodyshell, the best in its segment at over 180,000 daNm/rad.
The Alfa 159 boasts as many as eight airbags (including special bags to protect the knees and sidebags that extend all along the window area), innovative restraint systems (pretensioners on the clasps and decreasing load limiters on the seat belts), and front seats with an active headrests that bring the head restraint nearer to the occupant's neck in the event of a rear impact.
Altogether, these features make the Alfa 159 the new benchmark for its segment in terms of safety, underlined by the ease with which it sails through the most difficult tests simulating all types of accident (head-on, side-on, overturning, rear impact and fire), taking into account the various speeds at which impact may occur, the different types of obstacles, and the need to protect occupants with very different physical characteristics.
ALFA 159 ~ ENGINES AND GEARBOXES
The new model is equipped with a broad, comprehensive range of engines. First of all, the two new JTS engines with continuous dual variable valve timing (inlet and exhaust): the 3.2 V6 24v (191 kW - 260 bhp) and the 2.2 (136 kW - 185 bhp). All the engines meet Euro 4 standards, exploiting the direct petrol injection in full thanks to a particular combustion system known as JTS: Jet Thrust Stoichiometric.
For the customer, this means brilliant engine performance, which enhances the driving enjoyment and the performance of the car. The torque values of the engines are equally outstanding, and 88% is already available at 2,000 rpm: 322 Nm (32.8 kgm) at 4,500 rpm for the 3.2 V6 JTS and 230 Nm (23.4 kgm) at 4,500 rpm for the 2.2 JTS.
These are the petrol engines. But Alfa Romeo has always been on the leading edge in the field of diesel engines too, epitomised by the 2.4 JTDM 5-cylinder 20v engine (147 kW - 200 bhp at 4000 rpm) and torque of 400 Nm (40.8 kgm at 2,000 rpm). In the latest generation of "Common Rail" engines, the JTD units with Multijet technology, turbocharging is entrusted to a variable geometry turbo and intercooler. The new engine meets Euro 4 requirements, and incorporates a particulate trap (DPF) which eliminates fine dust almost entirely, in line with the current indications regarding future Euro 5 limits. It is a "for life" system that does not need to be regenerated with additives.
ALFA 159 ~ QUALITY The Alfa Romeo 159 was designed to embody uncompromising quality.
This target was pursued throughout the development of the car, starting from its conception, through all the many tests to which the car was subjected, right up to the manufacturing process.
The quality of the Alfa 159 is also expressed in the choice of materials used in the interior, which are smooth to the touch, and perfect, precise fit, in the external treatment which envisages water-based paint protected by a double layer of varnish to maintain its brilliance in time, and in the fine tuning of the Alfa Romeo engines to obtain outstanding performance and comfort.
For the Alfa 159, "quality" also means dynamic quality at the top of its class, achieved with a sophisticated suspension system and the excellent torsional rigidity of the bodyshell.
Full details, prices and specification of the Australian market Alfa Romeo 159 will be released when the new model goes on sale in the middle of 2006.