02.12.2003

The new Alfa 166


The flagship, created at the Alfa Romeo style centre, expresses harmony of form and content while combining the elegance of a great saloon with the sports traits of a coupé. The New 166 complements these successful features on the inside and outside with aesthetic motifs of great visual impact. The interior trim and exterior colour matches are also very sophisticated.
The new flagship inherits from its predecessor a clean, sleek shape that makes it look agile and ready to leap into action: the New Alfa 166 takes Alfa's dual mission of 'sportiness and elegance' and turns it into an understated beauty that is quintessentially Italian. Classic brand styling cues are not brazenly flaunted but subtly hinted at. The car's volumes and chrome trim are carefully modulated.
The Style Centre has yet again succeeded in finding the right stylistic balance to bring the Alfa 166 right up to date. In its shape, for example, rounded surfaces and corners work out their natural tensions to achieve an ideal point of balance. Understated, updated retro Alfa traits are apparent. More recent graphic motifs that the public now recognises and appreciates as distinguishing Alfa Romeo features are also present in adapted form.
Firstly, the front end has been fully redesigned. The grille is now more upright and forms, together with the two side air intakes, the traditional three-part Alfa motif that suggests a link to famous cars of the past. This motif marks a family resemblance to more recent models while allowing the Alfa Romeo Style Centre to reclaim and reinterpret distinctive traits from Alfa's illustrious past.
The imposing front is dominated by a big shield whose upper edge follows the bonnet round and then plunges down to break the bumper line. The badge, again at the top in the centre, is also surrounded by a hint of chrome that underscores the strength and communicative value of the signature. The badge hangs from the slight convexity in the metal that emphasises the join between the bonnet and the upper tip of the shield known as the 'comet'.
One of the most distinctive features on the New Alfa 166 is the light cluster arrangement. These high-tech design creations are compact and made out of clear, non-faceted glass that allows a clear view of the underlying mathematically-modelled reflectors.
As on the previous model, two converging ribs delimit and emphasise a central bulge that hints at the presence of the powerful, beefy engine beneath. The relatively unchanged bumpers are still flush with the metal surface and blend into the vehicle body. The lower part of the extended, rounded bumpers houses turn signals masked by darkened glass that delineates the three-part graphic motif.
The side view of the New Alfa 166 features some of the chrome trim that was present on the previous model: door handles, roof outline and door sills. The extensive area of metal prevails over the glass and makes the vehicle look like a coupé from the side. The body is smooth and rounded, completely free of sharp edges or drip channels. The side handles and flashers flush with the body.
The bulges over the wheelarch and the wheels flush with the body create an image of a strong, compact car that is firmly glued to the ground. This impression is emphasised by a taut, horizontal muscle from which the entire side is apparently suspended. This feature tapers off smoothly, high up on the rear pillar. Overall, the curved shape of the outline suggests roominess, strength and protection: exactly what you want from a flagship.
When viewed from behind, the Alfa 166 is immediately recognisable for its broad shoulders that make it look like an animal waiting to pounce - and for its short, fleeting tail. The rear window is joined to a very slender pillar that drops from the passenger compartment and rests strongly on the two wheelarches to give the car an impression of power. The slightly drooping tail evokes the sensation of a very agile car despite its large saloon dimensions. The Alfa Romeo badge sits in the upper part of the luggage compartment.
Underneath, the tail-lights soften the taut, muscular sides. These are separate, small and embedded in the body.
The Style Centre has prepared a palette of eleven body shades that emphasise the car's shapes and volumes. These include non-metallic, metallic and iridescent shades. The first group includes: Alfa Red and Kyalami Black. The metallic shades are as follows (the first four are brand new): Cernobbio Green, Siena Red, Spoleto Grey, Dolceacqua Grey, Lampedusa Blue, Rialto Grey, Marostica Grey, Pergusa Black.
The colour range is concluded by the iridescent colour Nuvola Blue.
All in all, the New 166 brings us the stylistic good looks that are part of Alfa Romeo's great tradition, reinterpreted in the light of today's sensibilities and aesthetic tastes. The same good looks are apparent inside, where lashings of space are backed by outstanding comfort, sophisticated trim and padding and careful attention to detail.
The lines that run inside the New Alfa 166 passenger compartment are continuations of the exterior shape. The design is flowing and well proportioned. No curves are broken between the front and rear, between the central console and the seats or between the facia and the quilted door panels.
The real attraction of the new model lies in a passenger compartment that has been made lighter through careful choice of colours and materials that are a pleasure to touch and look at. The trim is opulent in terms of aesthetic appearance and also its substance. The environment has been carefully thought out in every detail: from mats that match the ceiling to seals in the same colour as the body. An extensive choice of materials (velvets, cloth and leather) and colours are combined to create three different environments: sports, elegant or classic. Customers can also choose from four different types of facia according to version and trim level: a black 'sports' facia, an 'elegant' facia in shades of beige and a 'classic' facia in shades of grey. The facia on the Impression specification comes in black.
A specific exclusive top quality trim is also available as an option. This takes the form of open-grained leather available in three different shades (black, grey and beige) combined with a facia that is also in beige and in the same three shades but with darker overtones. The product is finished in top-stitching that contrasts with the trim shade and represents the very best of traditional Italian craftsmanship.
As on all Alfa Romeo models, the central focus is the driver's cockpit and this has been designed with the maximum care. The driving position is sporty yet comfortable and allows full control of the car under all circumstances. The dashboard, which curves to mirror the shape of the steering wheel, contains the four main instrument dials. These are strictly analogue as Alfa tradition dictates and overlap slightly (like Olympic rings) because they are arranged over different reading planes so that they can easily be identified at a glance. All the other hi-tech items (controls of the climate control system, radio and Trip computer) are clustered on a console in the middle of the car where they can be reached with ease and do not distract the driver's attention. The new central console display delivers a stylish metallic effect.
When designing the facia, the need to deliver optimum climate control was considered. The user-friendly, intuitive controls allow fast, very accurate adjustment. The central diffuser and five front outlets are round and very stylish with chrome outlines and ensure a high air output with even distribution throughout the passenger compartment.
The two boxes and numerous compartments in the side panels, console and central armrest complete an array of creature comforts designed specifically for a prestige car with a sporting heart. Last but not least, the seats are big, comfortable and enveloping and offer plenty of space, even at the back, while still leaving plenty of room for a capacious boot.
And so from style to engineering. The new vehicle boasts a temperament unique for its category that is complemented by an ability to dominate the road typical of an Alfa Romeo. This characteristic is particularly appreciated by those who expect driving satisfaction even from a big prestige saloon. The power unit comes in various engine-gearbox combinations that are among the most powerful and efficient currently on the market. The suspension layout is able to assure absolute command of the car in any situation. A host of electronic devices is also present to enable you to enjoy the great performance levels of which all Alfa 166 versions are capable in absolute safety: from an ABS with electronic load proportioning valve to antislip systems for automatic traction control.
In detail, the model offers six power units that offer different characteristics and all together make up a comprehensive range able to meet the expectations of any customer, however perceptive and demanding. The four petrol units are the 150 bhp 2.0 TS, the 188 bhp 2.5 V6 24v, the 220 bhp 3.0 V6 and the 240 bhp 3.2 V6 24v. The two turbodiesels are the 150 bhp 2.4 JTD 10v and the 175 bhp 2.4 Multijet 20v.
These units are all combined with a 6-speed manual gearbox, with the exception of the 220 bhp 3.0 V6 that is only available with an automatic transmission. The lively 175 bhp 2.4 Multijet 20v may also be paired with a sophisticated new generation 5-speed automatic transmission.
The range is made up of three comprehensive specifications that offer great value for money: the new Impression, Progression and Distinctive. A New Alfa 166 TI option pack is also available with low ride for a more entertaining drive with better handling. On the outside, this particular version offers a special badge and 18" alloy wheels. Inside, the TI environment is identifiable by seats trimmed with black leather with an embroidered TI logo in red. The same sporty look extends to the TI logo on the aluminium sill plate and red button and instrument panel lighting.
All versions are extremely well-equipped, as you would expect from a top-class flagship. The host of options will satisfy even the most demanding of customers in this market band. Not forgetting the accessory range created to meet even the most specific customisation requirements. Here are just a few of the numerous systems and devices available on the new model: active sensor ABS with electronic brakeforce distributor; VDC; front airbags, sidebags and windowbags; automatic climate control; Cruise Control; Bi-Xenon headlights; rain and parking sensor; Follow me home lights; satellite navigation system with maps and voice guide, GSM phone with handsfree set and Hi-Fi system with 10 speakers and CD-changer. Lastly, five types of alloy wheels are available according to the version: two 16 inch and two 17 inch, all with a choice of spoked or holed patterns. An exclusive 18 inch spoked alloy wheel completes the array.

IMAGES ALFA 166


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