• Nov 26, 2006

Excess weight is the enemy of every automobile. Extra pounds will make a car slower at the top end, more sluggish off the line, wobblier in the corners, more lethargic under braking, guzzle more gas and expel more toxic fumes...among other problems. It can render an otherwise great car imperfect. Case in point: the US-bound Italian beauty, the Alfa Romeo 159.

The 159 is, as we've said time and time again, one of – if not the – most beautiful sedans on the market. Unfortunately its performance has not been quite up to par with its drop-dead gorgeous looks. And the more powerful V6-powered all-wheel-drive Q4 version only adds another 200kg to the problem. But Alfa's working on it, announcing a two-stage weight-loss program for the 159. The first stage will take some extra pounds off the body, chassis and suspension using lightweight construction materials such as aluminum. The second stage will be marked in 2008 with the introduction of a new lightweight five-cylinder turbodiesel.

Of course the same problems plague the 159's sisters, the Brera and Spider, but while the lightweight diesel is almost certain to find its way into the shapely two-doors, there's no word yet on whether the first stage weight loss will hit them, too. Now, nobody wanted to resort to taking the 159 off of pasta and pizza, so next time, Alfa, just watch the weight from the start, alright?

[Source: Motor Authority]



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  • 18 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      I have no problem admitting that any Aston Martin is drop-dead gorgeous. But I don't see what makes this car have the same effect. It's looks unique, stylish, and aggressive but I wouldn't call it beautiful.
      Maybe something could change my mind though.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Travis, you're right about the car's weight affecting the normal force that goes into the rolling friction, but I'm afraid that's it. The rest of your post (F=ma, inertia) is about acceleration, which we're not talking about.

      The main balancing forces at top speed for anything that can reach freeway speeds are power vs. drag. Rolling friction and friction in the car's parts are also on drag's side, but they're minor. Really, weight is unimportant if all you're talking about is top speed.

      Look at F1 and any car designed with aerodynamics in mind. Engineers happily add weight to a car through downforce, at least tripling the weight of F1 cars at top speed. That kind of weight doesn't affect mass (so acceleration isn't affected, by F=ma), but it does increase rolling resistance and no one really cares.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Sorry to be a nitpicker, but you all do this a lot. Weight does not affect top speed. Top speed is a function of power, drag, and friction (internal and rolling). Technically, more weight could affect the rolling resistance of the tires, but that would be pretty small.
      • 8 Years Ago
      The 159 is weighter then audi & bmw but the performance seem not to be so bad.
      Look this video (by GERMAN magazine Auto Motor Sport)
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zON4bWsl2Ek
      • 8 Years Ago
      > Only one note: the way the article is writen, makes it
      > seem like the Alfa is a strangely heavy car: it's not:
      > it has about the same weight of any car of it's class.

      Let's see:
      Audi A4 3.2 quattro: 3395 lbs
      BMW 330 xi: 3650 lbs
      Mercedes C 350 4matic: 3650 lbs
      Alfa 159 V6 Q4: 3870 lbs

      Alfa Brera V6 Q4: 3920 lbs
      Audi TT 3.2 quattro: 3190 lbs

      laptime Hockenheim short course:
      Brera: 83.2 s
      TT: 79.8 s

      The Alfas are indeed very beautiful, but also a bit overweight...
      • 8 Years Ago
      hehehe The Mazda 6 comment was a funny remark, as it was designed with the Alfa 156 in mind! :p

      Yes, it's easy to say the DB9 is stunning, even if only by pictures. I'm affraid the 159's shapes and proportions aren't so easy to perceive by images. But if you only could see it on the road... It's stance isn't comparable to anything around that price range... or even on the next segment!

      Only one note: the way the article is writen, makes it seem like the Alfa is a strangely heavy car: it's not: it has about the same weight of any car of it's class.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I more or less agree with you, Travis, except your last point - the Thrust SSC [fastest car in the world] weighs 10.5 tons according to Wikipedia. Furthermore, F1 is not necessarily about top speed - in fact, there are several restrictions limiting it. It is more about handling with cornering and braking being more relevant on all tracks without obscene straights.
      • 8 Years Ago
      A beautiful Italian women is both quite curvy and maybe just a little bit plump - like a ripe peach.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As we sit here discussing the weight of the car perhaps we should also consider looking in the mirror and deciding how much the drivers weight affects performance.

      "Chif Mario!" How does that new Alfa handle?" "Wonderful, but it sits a little low on the left side and it corners different goig left than when it's going right."

      "The dealer mumbled something about the Pasta Bomb going off internally."
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's like the new maserati quattroporte, they look a lot cheaper in photographs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's a very good looking car ... in a Mazda 6 kind of way.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Beautiful car.
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