17 February 2004

Alfa Romeo at the 74th International Geneva Motor Show

Alfa Romeo and its fabled sporting heart return to the 74th Geneva Motor Show on a stand featuring standard production models and prototypes to emphasise - if we need reminding - the Make's true vocation and the great character of all its cars. The place of honour is naturally reserved for the latest arrival: the Alfa Crosswagon.
The new model, here seen at its world premier, marks Alfa Romeo's return to the world of four wheel drive cars. The Alfa Crosswagon transmission features 4 permanently engaged drive wheels, three differentials and torque distribution preferentially to the rear. The Torsen C differential continuously modulates torque distribution between front and rear axles according to grip. This feature makes for a sporty drive that in turn increases active safety. On the market from the second half of this year, both Crosswagon versions on show are equipped with the vivacious 150 bhp (110 kW) 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet and offer a very distinctive interpretation of an all road vehicle as far as style and design are concerned.
The Alfa Crosswagon thus reflects the importance Alfa attaches to the concept of substance over form. Customers love Alfa Romeo cars for their renowned Italian styling and good looks, but also come to appreciate their handling and engineering when they try them for themselves. They also recognise the driving satisfaction that typifies an Alfa car over any type of road in any situation and in any weather. The slogan 'beauty is not enough' is the concept that underpins Alfa Romeo's new advertising strategy. And all the cars on show in Geneva are ambassadors of this philosophy.
Beginning with the attractive concept car that has been such a hit at recent international Motor Shows: the 8c Competizione. The car, designed and produced by the Alfa Romeo style centre, stands as an icon of the brand, its very name evocative of Alfa's great motorsport tradition. This is borne out by the code '8c' used to identify cars (racing and on-road) of the Thirties and Forties equipped with the revolutionary eight cylinder engine produced by the celebrated designer Vittorio Jano. The second term 'Competizione' is intended as a homage to the 6C 2500 Competizione, a sports coupé driven in 1950 by the team of Fangio - Zanardi in the famous Mille Miglia race.
Alfa Romeo has also been responsible for many other memorable chapters of automotive history, including one entitled 'The Giulietta'. Fifty years have gone by since its first creation and now Alfa intends to use the Geneva Motor Show to mark the official opening of a long series of events, meetings and exhibitions to celebrate the anniversary. Visitors to the stand can admire a Giulietta and trace a fundamental stage in the technological and professional heritage of Alfa Romeo through an interesting photo exhibition.
Near to the Crosswagon, the indisputable star of the Alfa Romeo stand, you can also see an Alfa GT. The model was created in conjunction with Bertone for original styling coupled with exhilarating performance. It is a revolutionary new concept of sportiness geared to comfort and elegance. Two versions are on show: one equipped with a 240 bhp 3.2 and one with a 150 bhp (110 kW) 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet engine.
The Swiss catwalk is also home to the New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon, good looking cars packed with innovative ideas and engineering features. As reworked by the prestigious hand of Giorgetto Giugiaro himself, the two models represent an ideal marriage between sportiness and elegance, performance and formal balance. All the hallmarks of the brand, in other words. Two versions are on show: a 156 2.0 JTS Selespeed and a Sportwagon 2.4 JTD 20v Multijet in the TI (Turismo Internazionale) sports version. During the Sixties, Alfa Romeo assigned this code only to its most feature-packed cars. Nowadays those two simple yet glorious letters reappear on a special line that may be requested on Alfa Romeo models. The same sporty tag also graces a 147 2.0 Selespeed, near to another 147, equipped with a 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet engine. Finally, a prototype developed by Autodelta on an Alfa 156 base, characterised by a decidedly sporty imprint and fitted with a new 3.5 V6 24v engine, is being displayed on the stand. The GTA family is represented in Geneva by the Alfa 147 GTA - one of the fastest, most powerful cars in its segment (250 bhp - 184 kW) - equipped with a Selespeed sequential gearbox. The Selespeed gearbox is no ordinary automatic transmission but a manual gearbox with robotised action that combines the convenience of an automatic device with the operating speed of a conventional control. You can also choose a conventional up-and-down joystick-type clutch. Or steering wheel controls located behind the rim. Still on the Alfa Romeo stand, visitors can appreciate the New 166, Alfa Romeo's flagship that expresses harmony of form and content while wedding the style of a great saloon with the sporting traits of a coupé. The model complements these successful features on the inside and outside with aesthetic motifs of great visual impact. Its trim and colour matches are also very attractive and sophisticated. The car on show in Geneva features the most sumptuous specification (Luxury) and is equipped with the powerful 175 bhp (129 kW) 2.4 JTD 20v Multijet combined with the sophisticated Sportronic gearbox.
Space is also given to the Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV, models which have always evoked driving satisfaction as far as sportiness and style are concerned and their appeal is unaltered. The cars on show include a Spider 2.0 JTS and a 240 bhp (176 kW) GTV 3.2 V6 24v. The latter version, in particular, is capable of 255 km/h, a performance that makes it the fastest on-road car in Alfa Romeo's history. A special series of the Spider version has been produced and is available in four countries: Italy, Germany, Spain and Austria. The 450 cars in the new series are all equipped with the 2.0 JTS power unit and, for the first time, with two new body shades: Reims Blue and Nuvola Red.
The true heart and soul of every Alfa Romeo model is its engine. Alfa cars' attractive, personality-packed looks conceal a diverse range of outstanding high-tech power units that offer generous performance. To allow visitors to examine them in detail, Alfa has prepared four aluminium, glass and Plexiglas show cases for the Geneva show that house the same number of engines. Firstly, the brand new 2.4 JTD 5 cylinder 20v Multijet delivering 129 kW (175 bhp) and 385 Nm (39.3 kgm) of torque and the familiar 103 kW (140 bhp) 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet, both members of the latest generation of Common Rail power units, multivalve JTD engines featuring Multijet technology.
So much for the turbodiesels. But Alfa Romeo also leads the field when it comes to petrol engines. First up is a 121 kW (165 bhp) 2.0 JTS available with Selespeed transmission, the first direct injection petrol engine with a specific power output of 61.4 kW/l (83.8 bhp/l). The 2.0 JTS is a top-performing power unit that owes its name of JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric) to its specific combustion system.
This is joined by the 24 valve 3.2 V6, the powerful unit adopted on Alfa 147, 156 and Sportwagon in the GTA family, the Alfa GTV and Spider and the new Alfa GT. This gem of automotive engineering develops a power output of 184 kW (250 bhp) at 6200 rpm with a maximum torque of 300 Nm (30.6 kgm) at 4800 rpm (on the GTV and Spider, the power output is 240 bhp and the torque curve is 289 Nm).
The Swiss show ends with three showcases containing cutaway models of the four wheel drive system, the Torsen C system and the rear suspension fitted to the Alfa Crosswagon. This is another way to make visitors aware of the state-of-the-art technology that comes with any Alfa Romeo.
The youthful stand features a series of special 'chambers'. These are made out of aluminium and glass to form big curvy container-like rooms that act as a high-tech backdrop to the different activities conducted within.

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