Alfa Romeo's flagship 169 sedan is scheduled to replace the ageing 166 in 2009, but conflicting speculation has suggested that the luxury sedan could be based on either a stretched 159 chassis or on the upcoming Maserati Quattroporte successor. The latest reports coming out of Italy suggest it'll be sharing with the larger trident rather than the smaller Alfa.

The Fiat Group that dominates the Italian automotive industry has traditionally kept their brands separate, refusing to share most components, let alone platforms, in a bid to keep the marques distinct from each other and steer well clear of the increasingly popular trend of badge engineering. But in recent years, that trend has been reversing even in Turin. Maseratis started sharing components with Ferrari and now with Alfa Romeo, Fiat has been partnering with PSA and Suzuki on new models, and an upcoming Alfa hatchback will be based on the Fiat Punto. So with Maserati still lagging in profitability and Alfa trying to regain its prestige, it's no wonder they've decided to go this route for the upcoming 169 and Quattroporte sedans.

Together with the thrilling 8C Competizione sports car, the 169 marks Alfa Romeo's return to rear-drive after 15 years of horses pulling from the front.

[Source: Winding Road]