The undisputed star of the recent Geneva International Motor Show, the Alfa 159 now makes its market debut. The founder of the new family that will replace the 156, and therefore the heir to a successful model (from 1997 to the present day over 680,000 units have been sold), this original saloon takes up the baton, to become the new benchmark in its segment.
Born from Alfa's long, acknowledged experience in the production of prestigious sports saloons, the Alfa 159 heralds a new generation of cars from Alfa. The 159 Project is the result of innovative design methodologies 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 sturdiness, without compromise. The results include a completely new chassis with new suspension, and a new generation of engines and gearboxes. In other words, this is an extremely interesting new model that adds lustre to the remarkable history of Alfa Romeo saloons. The designers drew on this very history, creating a design that is unmistakably Italian.
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, sinuous line, which combines generous dimensions with the compactness typical of Alfa Romeo sportiness: the car is 4,660 millimetres long, 1,828 mm wide and 1,417 high, with a wheelbase of 2,700 millimetres.
Starting with the strong, essential front, which is dominated by the large Alfa Romeo shield. The line of the entire car springs from here, 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 reminds us that the car's elegance is based on harmonious relations: on one hand the relation between the long bonnet and the compact passenger compartment gives the car 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 (the front pillar set back and the "elbow" shaped rear pillar). The deep slash in the side also emphasises the car's sleekness. Like the external styling, the interior of the Alfa 159, designed by the Alfa Romeo Styling Centre, 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, painstakingly made with top quality materials, paying great attention to the overstitching, 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 cold to touch, and exquisite craftsmanship with the appeal of artisan handiwork.
The Alfa 159 surrounds the driver and passengers with technologies that guarantee 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. This includes Cruise Control, rain, dusk, and front and rear parking sensors, a satellite navigator with maps (also with a "Birdview" display), voice controls and a built-in GSM hands-free telephone, automatic climate system with dual or tri-zone air distribution and temperature control, radio with CD (and MP3 file) player and a 10-disc CD-changer, a BOSE® Hi-fi Sound System with a central speaker on the facia for sharper acoustics, seats with electrical adjustment, a folding rear seat and pushbutton ignition control on the console.
The Alfa 159 guarantees the extraordinary roadholding that is innate in all Alfa Romeo models. The merit goes to the new suspension (high double wishbones at the front and Multilink at the rear) and extremely precise steering (the most direct of the standard saloons, 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.
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" floorpan, 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 "anti-whiplash" device that brings 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.
Engines and gearboxes
The new model is equipped with a broad, comprehensive range of engines. First of all, the three new JTS engines with continuous dual variable valve timing (inlet and exhaust): the 3.2 V6 24v (191 kW - 260 bhp), the 2.2 (136 kW - 185 bhp) and the 1.9 (118 kW - 160 bhp), with a specific power output between 81 and 85 bhp/l. 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 three 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, 230 Nm (23.4 kgm) at 4,500 rpm for the 2.2 JTS, and 190 Nm (19.4 kgm) at 4,500 rpm for the 1.9 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), and the two 1.9 JTDM: the first is a "16v" delivering 110 kW (150 bhp at 4,000 rpm) and torque of 320 Nm (32.6 kgm at 2,000 rpm), the second is an "8v" delivering 88 kW (120 bhp at 4,000 rpm) and torque of 280 Nm (28.6 kgm at 2,000 rpm). On the latest generation of "Common Rail" engines, i.e. the JTD units with Multijet technology, turbocharging is entrusted to a variable geometry turbo and intercooler. The 1.9 JTDM exploits a specific rotor developed by Alfa Romeo while the 2.4 JTDM has a new cylinder head and new con rods in "fractured" steel. The three engines all meet Euro 4 requirements, and incorporate 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, and will be eligible for tax incentives. And finally, the range includes new mechanical gearboxes, all with six speeds, short strokes, precise engagement and limited loads. Automatic transmissions and a robotised Selespeed gearbox, also with six speeds, will be available on certain versions.
Range and services
The new model is offered in a very comprehensive range, where every motorist will find the Alfa 159 that he or she wants. The range is proposed with 6 engines, 2 outfits, 9 body colours and 3 interiors in 3 different shades (black, grey tone-on-tone, black and beige) available in flocked fabric, Alfatex®, leather and fine grain leather by Frau®. The range also offers all customers, even the most demanding, a choice of different features and devices, as well as an array of financial and leasing solutions that are unique on the car market today.
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 that the car was subjected to, 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 coupling, 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. And finally, "quality" also means a world of dedicated services for our customers, with solutions for every possible requirement.
Contribution of other Fiat companies
To develop this prestigious car, the company deployed its best resources and ensured that maximum quality and reliability standards were applied throughout the product development and construction process. It forged a fruitful cooperative relationship with outside suppliers and other Fiat companies, including Magneti Marelli, Centro Ricerche Fiat and Elasis. And this collaboration was responsible for the many innovative solutions that make the Alfa 159 the new benchmark in its category.
IMAGES ALFA 159