Alfa Romeo is well renowned for their Italian spirit sports sedans. Their “Cuore sportivo” (sportive hart) medium sedans have a long and successful tradition. Not as popular are their luxury sedans, where certain quality issues, have always set the Alfas a few steps back of their German competition. It seems that is about to change, as the future 169 Alfa flagship will get cross-blooded with Maserati.
Alfa Romeo has produced luxury sedan for quite a while now, but even the latest and most advanced models, like the 164 or 166 were not a market success. This is mostly due to the fact that the luxury sedan market is severely dominated by German brands, such as Audi, BMW and Mercedes -Benz. The German build quality and reliability were never matched by the Italians. Sin ce always the main attributes of the Italian cars were the extraordinary design and the sporty feeling. Such attributes made success possible for cars like the Maserati Quattroporte.
But, why didn’t the same rule apply for the big Alfas? First of all that famous Italian design, was not at its best on the 164 or the 166. Second of all, front wheel drive has serious performance limitation, placing the big Alfas seriously behind the rear wheel drive BMWs and Mercedes or the AWD Audi Quattros.
In order to correct those issues, Alfa will borrow the excellent Maserati Quattroporte transaxle platform, and use it to produce a veritable sports sedan to be named 169. The expected engines are two brand new V6s one running on gasoline and the other one on diesel. Also new will be an entry level V8 with around 350 bhp. The top of the range 169 GTA is expected to use the 450 bhp V8 currently fitted in the 8C Competizione, matched with an automatic gearbox.
Not much information was made available so far, regarding the design of the new Alfa, but we still managed to produce some computer images, that represent o possible interpretation of the future model. Although, no official declarations were made, the Alfa Romeo 169 is expected to debut as a concept in 2009, production following later.
1972-1984 Alfa Romeo Alfetta
Produced between 1972 and 1984, the Alfetta was offered in either fastback/coupe or saloon configuration. The design of the car was created by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The Alfetta became a popular model, due its design and its powerful engine, and as a result, more than 400,000 units were sold until the end of its production.
The Alfetta features new suspension and balanced weight distribution, ensuring excellent roadholding and comfort. The car mounts front independent transverse link suspension, with De Dion type suspension at the rear, as on the 159, giving the wheels more grip, something which is also helped by the arrangement of clutch, gearbox, differential and brakes into a single rear assembly incorporated into the bodyshell of the car, leaving only the engine at the front.
The Alfetta received some minor cosmetic updates in 1979 the Alfetta was given minor cosmetic such as a revised front-end, new lights, and new wheel rims. In 1980 it received a new facelift and as a result a new name: the Alfa Romeo 90.
1988-1997 Alfa Romeo 164
The Alfa Romeo 164 was first unveiled in 1987 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It was produced until 1997 and replaced in 1998 by the Alfa Romeo 166. It was the last Alfa sedan that was sold on the North American market.
The Alfa Romeo 164 was designed by Sergio Pininfarina. The design features elements from the Ferrari models and also is the logical extension and successor of the Alfetta sedan, particularly the late-model "Long Nose, Square Light".
The 164 was powered by a 2.0 liter Twin Spark I4 engine with two spark plugs per cylinder. The second engine was a 2.0 liter 8-valve engine, derived from the Lancia Delta Integrale. The top-line engine was the 3.0 liter Alfa V6.
Alfa Romeo 166
Alfa Romeo 166 was first unveiled in 1998, when it replaced the 164. Its production ended in 2005.
In the year of its launch, the 166 was powered by a 2.0-litre Twin Spark engine (155 hp), a 2.5 V6 (190 hp), a 3.0 V6 (226 hp) unit or a V6 2.0 Turbo (205 hp). It was also offered with three diesel engines: L5 2.4 10v common rail turbodiesel with 136, 140 and 150 hp output. It was offered with 5-speed manual transmission.
The 166 received a major facelift in 2003. The entire car was changed: exterior, interior, chassis and the engines range.
The new 166 was powered by a 2.0 V6 Turbo model - dropped because of emission problems, the V6 2.5 was re-rated at 188 hp and a 3.2 litre V6 (240 hp). The 166 features now a six-speed manual transmission.
BMW has already “in works” the next instalment of their successful executive saloon. Several test mules have been spotted, pointing that a production ready 5 Series is to be released in the next three or four years. The current BMW 5 Series is around for more than 4 years, meaning that it is well in its middle age, and needing a successor around the year 2010. The next generation 5-Series will grow in overall length, by extending the wheelbase nearly 3 inches and widening the track, so will be bigger then the actual one.
Technologically, the future 5 Series will be as surprising and uncompromising as ever. The only difference will be that, in the overall tendency of the market, there will be an increased attention to the ecological and fuel consumption issues. Performance will be even better than before, helped by those components that give the BMW name, the power units. Starting from a 2.5 litre straight 6 with 220 bhp, the petrol engine range will extend up to the brand new 410 bhp V8 biturbo. Four diesel engines will also be made available, ranging between 2.0 and 3.0 litres, with single and biturbo systems and offering over 300 bhp.
The diesel engines should get urea injection – as Mercedes is pioneering – to cut nitrogen oxide emissions. A stop/start system and upshift indicator for six-speed manual versions will help reduce fuel consumption, and the engines should be biofuel- and synfuel-compatible. Brake energy-regeneration, in combination with adaptive alternator control, should also save up to 10 percent more fuel too. Also in the works is a more powerful version of the M5’s 5.0-liter V10. The 5-series will have a top speed electronically limited to 155 mph.
Mercedes unveiled in 2006 a new generation of its world-beating E-Class. The E-Class is once again setting the benchmark as the technology trendsetter. No other car in this market segment can match the range of safety innovations including PRE-SAFE, Intelligent Light System, NECK-PRO head restraints and adaptive brake lights. These extensive safety features make the E-Class the safest car in its class.
The E-Class is available in 29 model variants: 16 Saloons and 13 Estates. As such, Mercedes-Benz will be offering the largest, most varied model range in this market segment. With outputs ranging from 136 hp to 514 hp, the new generation E-Class outpaces the previous model range (122 hp to 476 hp) and its competitors.
The E-Class is powered by the newly developed 5.5-litre eight-cylinder engine from the S-Class with an output of 388 hp. Compared with the previous V8, the new engine delivers 26 percent more output. At 530 Nm the torque also comfortably exceeds the maximum for the preceding engine by around 15 percent. The new E 500 delivers the performance profile of a sports car: the Saloon accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.3 seconds, 0.7 seconds faster than the previous E 500.
The new E 63 AMG from the Mercedes-AMG stable is fitted with a naturally aspirated V8 engine delivering 378 kW/514 hp and maximum torque of 630 Nm. The E 63 AMG is the most powerful E-Class of all times.