Geneva '08 Preview: Alfa also showing updated 159 sedan & wagon
If you haven't seen an Alfa Romeo 159 rolling down the boulevard at night, you haven't seen how good a four-door sport sedan (or five-door sportwagon) can look. Fortunately, Alfa wants to keep its volume model on the sales track to success, and is launching a slightly revised version at next week's show in Geneva.
The updates largely mirror those of its equally gorgeous stablemates, the Brera and Spider, details of which we brought you earlier. That means an interior with revised ergonomics featuring more supportive seats, and a new sat-nav screen and climate control. By fitting lighter wheels, brake calipers and suspension components made from aluminum, Alfa has also cut about 100 unsprung pounds off the curb weight, which should improve driving dynamics. But in case it hasn't enough, Alfa is also offering its Q2 advanced traction/stability control system, in addition to the available Q4 all-wheel-drive system, mated to a range of smooth-running gasoline and diesel engines producing 140-260 and 120-210 horsepower, respectively. With the new improvements, a 159 would make a perfect daily driver to accompany an 8C Spider for the weekends. Check out the images in the gallery below, and all the details in the press release after the jump.
[Source: Alfa Romeo] PRESS RELEASE
Alfa 159 MY 08, berlina and Sportwagon
Widely appreciated by critics and the European clientele, the 159 model (berlina and Sportwagon) is refreshed proposing some aesthetic re-touches, a widening of the range available, and numerous changes in the field of comfort and mechanics. The spirit of the car, obviously though, remains unchanged: in fact the Alfa 159 is an exclusive berlina which combines refined Italian "style" with the "sporty elegance" of Alfa Romeo.
The Alfa 159 Sportwagon MY 08, instead re-interprets the concepts of Italian style, performance and sporty handling, adding flexibility and versatility in the use of the prestige station wagon space.
Renewed design and widening of the range
As regards to the style, the most noticeable differences have been the changes to the cockpit. The Centro Stile Alfa Romeo has been involved in the interior design, from the dashes (Titanium coloured) to the upholstery, which in the Sport and TI versions is a striking black. The instrument display has new graphics, whilst another change is the multifunctional "user-friendly" satellite navigator at the centre of the dashboard. The "dual-zone" automatic climate control is today even more ergonomic and easy to use.
Not to be forgotten, the new wraparound ergonomic seats (rear and front) in their sporty set-up guarantee increased comfort and are perfect for long journeys. These winning characteristics are even more evident in the TI model with the sporty seats, now available in leather as well as black, and adorned with the Alfa Romeo logo woven into the headrests.
Further news in the Alfa 159 MY 08 and 159 Sportwagon MY 08 range, is the introduction of the rear logo, fitted with a "push" system, for immediate and safe opening of the boot. The upholstery is also available in the exclusive "Alfatex" fabric (for the Distinctive version). Lastly, exclusive to the Sportwagon model, is the introduction of the Fix&Fold system, which allows total use of the baggage space by quickly and simply, folding down the rear seats.
The new Sport set-up broadens the range of the 159 model (berlina and Sportwagon). The Sporty connotation, is helped on the exterior, by the exclusive 17" alloy wheels, with a specific 5-spoke design (combined to 225/50 tyres). The interior, instead, boasts the sporty driving-wheel replete with radio controls, the gear stick lined in leather with black stitching, the new sports seats swaddled in black Alfatex fabric along the sides and Floccato textile on the seat, available either in black or red. For further sportiness, the roof, luggage rack and panneling are in black whilst the dashes are in "brushed aluminium". The display panel has new sporty graphics. Lastly, the rich range of features which come as standard include: dual-zone climate control, fog-lights, VDC and the innovative Blue&MeTM system which allows phone-calls and listening to music as you drive, safely and simply, thanks to the Bluetooth voice recognition technology.
Lastly, the new range introduces three new tints (Ice White, Crystal Blue and Grey Indigo) and three not-seen-before alloys (16" or 17", in a sporty or elegant design).
Changes in the field of propulsion and mechanics
On the new versions of the Alfa 159 MY 08, two changes have taken place: firstly, in the field of safety, the new "electronic Q2" system now comes as standard. Second is the introduction of the 3.2 V6 260 CV with front traction (up to now only available with the Q4) which allows a top speed of 250 km/h.
Furthermore, the Alfa 159 MY 08 and 159 Sportwagon MY 08 guarantee a road handling with no compromises, thanks to the precise steering and supensions used on both vehicles. In the front, a high wishbone solution enables maximum side handling, great efficiency and response in the handling with superb movement. In the rear, a multiple bracket suspension makes the vehicle extremely stable in high-speed manoeuvres and very agile in "tight-driving" conditions like all true sport cars. Furthermore, the 3.2 V6 has a Q4 traction control that operates permanently, with three differentials. A maximum 57% torque can be driven to the rear wheels with the self-locking Torsen C that manages the engine power transfer, leaving 43% traction to to the front wheels.
A further change made to the 2008 range, is the optimization applied to structure of the model. In fact, the technicians, have revisited the technological process for the realization of some details in the two cars (berlina e Sportwagon), with the aim of improving comfort, dynamism, and actual consumption as perceived by the client in different driving conditions. For example, the alloy wheels, which are lighter in comparison to previous solutions, are made via the optimization of the mechanical properties of the alloys. Using "flow-forming" technology for the larger dimensions. At the same time, the front suspension brackets are made in aluminium. In the same manner, the stabilizing bar is "tubular", and the front brake calipers (on the 4 cylinder versions) are in single-body aluminium. These modifications, united to some aerodynamic refining, have led to a 45 kilo reduction in the vehicle's total weight.
First class security
Obviously, the Alfa 159 MY 08 confirms the extraordinary attention made to all aspects which involve safety. A care which allowed the preceding model to obtain 5 prestigious Euro NCAP stars. The vehicles include: ABS complete with EBD, the sophisticated VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), the ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) system, and HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which comes into use in case of an emergency brake. When HBA is in use the emergency lights automatically switch on. Lastly, the Hill Holder system facilitates sloped starts. It's in the field of passive security though that the Alfa 159 MY 08 and 159 Sportwagon MY 08 have their major strength. The most important features are the mountings (pre-tensioner buckle and inertia-reel safety-belts) front seats with anti-whiplash head restraints, and the availability of 8 airbags (worth noting the knee airbag airbag and side airbags that run alongside the glass surfaces). In addition to all this, we add superb torsional rigidity in the frame placing the model at the top of their range.
This is thanks to the new "premium" floorpan that utilises the latest dual-phase steels, multiple sheet metal and precision welding, as well as the numerous interventions Alfa Romeo engineers carried out on the body and architecture.
A precise response to every request
The 2008 range hosts a wide array of engines and transmission. On offer the 1.8 with 140 CV, three engine JTS with variable valve timing on both inlet and exhaust camshaft: the 3.2 V6 24v with 260 CV, the 2.2 with 185 CV and the 1.9 with 160 CV a power range between 81 e 85 CV/l. All are high-performance propulsions that respect the environment, and use the JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric) combustion system. Furthermore, the diesel set-up is made up by the 2.4 JTDM 5-cylinder 20v with 210 CV and the two 1.9 JTDM (with 150 CV and a 120 CV), all fitted with a particulate filter. Concluding the offer, depending on the model version, is the automatic 6-speed gearshift, automatic Q-Tronic gears and sequential self-shifting Selespeed gears.
Lastly, depending on the model, the accessories range include a long list of systems and applications offered as standard or on request. Including: the unique Frau® floral print upholstery, the tri-zone climate control, electronic seats, Cruise Control, 7 airbags, VDCror system with hill holder, parking sensors, and voice controlled satellite navigator with mobile communications. Furthermore, available as optionals, is TMPS (warning sensor in case of insufficient tyre pressure) and new seats in a sporty configuration, upholstered in Tibet fabric.
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