The financial situation of Lancia Italian manufacturer it is not exactly bright. Sales are poor and none of the existing models can be considered a massive success. Lancia hopes to change this situation by launching a new generation of their most famous vehicle ever, the Delta. Presented as a concept car this fall at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival the Delta will be made available for production in 2007.
A true icon of Italian automotive, the Lancia Delta is remembered by everyone as the highly successful participant in rally events of the ‘80s. At the beginning of the ‘90s, FIAT group, the owner of Lancia, also acquired Alfa Romeo. As two sports oriented brands were not considered necessary, the Lancia was oriented towards luxury, and was transformed into FIAT’s premium producer. That did not prove do be one of the best ideas, as Lancia sales dropped ever since. While striving to make a revival, Lancia thought to launch to the battle their emblematic Delta.
Presented as a concept at the 63rd Venice International Film Festival, the new Delta follows the current elegance and luxury policy of the brand, but also throw some performance elements to remind and make a connection to the legendary rally car of the ‘80s.
The new Delta cannot be very sporty, as that would generate an internal competition issue with the Alfa Romeo 147 (future 149). Instead of that, it seems that Lancia will turn their future vehicle into a premium compact following the granturismo philosophy. This means that it will be both elegant and fast; it will offer both comfort and performance.
1991 Delta Intergrale HF
The styling of the concept is inspired by that of the 2003 Granturismo Stilnovo concept, especially at the rear. The fascia is an “old-new” design featuring a reinterpretation of the classic Lancia grille from the ‘50s and some high-tech elements, like the light units.
Our artist has prepared a few computer-generated images, to give an impression of how the final product might look like. The concept car presented in Venice is production oriented, and many elements will remain unchanged. Most likely, the concept front lights featuring an expensive optic fiber technology will be replaced by conventional ones. The design of the front spoiler also seems a bit unpractical, and is expected to be changed. Two color body paintwork could be available for special edition Deltas (as for other Lancia models), but the base models are expected to be monocolor.
Lancia official sketch
When it will reach production in 2007, the Lancia Delta HPE will be made available with a range of petrol and diesel engines, all of them turbocharged, with power outputs ranging from 120 to 200 bhp. Lancia can only hope to repeat the success of the original Delta that was the European Car of the Year in 1980. This is a lot harder to achieve now, than it was back in the ‘50s, as competition is a lot more severe. Other than that, the performance characteristic of the new Delta will not be supported by brand racing technology, as Lancia is not currently involved into motorsport.
The market will be the one to decide and dictate the success of the 2007 Lancia Delta, and we are witnessing a period in which consumers get more and more sophisticated and choosy. While not as sporty as an Alfa Romeo, not as cheap as a FIAT, and not as luxurious as an Audi, Lancia seems somehow misplaced. Maybe the Delta will be able to amaze us as it did back in 1980, and be a winning bet its producer.
The Lancia Delta HPE Concept Car had its world premiere at the 63rd edition of the Venice International Film Festival. The car took its inspiration from the practical, sporty, elegant car concept embodied in the Lancia Beta HPE during the second half of the Seventies to offer an up-to-date take on the idea of a sporty yet practical saloon (shooting brake).
This medium-sized vehicle (4.5 meters long, 1.8 meters wide and 1.5 meters tall) ensures great roominess and traveling comfort, outstanding accessibility and a versatile, modular and capacious boot. All this is coupled with a compellingly slender, sporty shape.
The Concept Car reaps the rewards of a century of experience to continue the tradition of the great medium-sized Lancia cars: the Aprilia, the Appia, the Fulvia, the Lancia Beta HPE, the Prisma, the Dedra and the Lybra – offering innovative features that encapsulate the best of Lancia qualities.
The first quality is styling that reinvents the Lancia tradition with original body features: an overhanging ‘flying bridge? roof, a large rear window without a lower frame and a chrome grille that reinterprets the classic Lancia grille of the 1950s for a new generation. A flash of chrome along the side underlines a great expanse of glass and adds an extra sporty touch to the side panels.
Delta rallycar among other Lancia legends
The second quality of the new car’s design is plenty of room for driver and passengers: the Delta HPE Concept Car is truly at the peak of its category in this respect, with a wheelbase of 2700 mm that translates into extraordinary roominess at the rear, where passengers can experience a standard of comfort worthy of a limousine. A sliding rear seat with reclining backrest allows the already spacious boot to be increased or it can be pushed back and tilted for total relaxation, like a business class seat on an intercontinental flight.
Superlative quality of life on board is the new model’s third trump card for top-level motoring: the car offers great noiselessness when in motion due to its sound-absorbent roof - plus plenty of light due to a generous sunroof and side windows. And more: all the relaxed pleasure offered by a sophisticated Bose Hi-Fi with steering wheel controls and the perfect interior temperature assured by an automatic dual zone climate control system. Comfort also means being able to rely on a roomy, versatile luggage compartment of over 400 liters.
Click here to find out more about the Lancia Delta HPE concept.
One of the few luxury-oriented vehicles in the compact segment is the Mercedes-Benz A-Class. We think this would be a key competitor for the future Lancia Delta. For 2006, the A-Class line-up has been augmented by introducing the new "Polar Star" special edition - a harmonious combination of sporty looks and elegant touches.
Since its launch in autumn 1997, the Mercedes-Benz A-Class has won over a total of some 1.35 million customers. Equipment and appointments for the "Polar Star" special edition include distinctive light-alloy wheels, special paint finishes and a selection of new fabrics and trim elements.
The "Polar Star" special edition sees Mercedes-Benz satisfying the wishes of many of its A-Class customers by including attractive accessories from the optional extras list as standard. In addition, the Stuttgart-based brand has further enhanced the visual appeal of the trend-setting compact car. There are three lines to choose from: CLASSIC, ELEGANCE or AVANTGARDE.
The new special edition is available in Saloon or Coupe guise and comes with a choice of three diesel engines (82 hp to 140 hp) and four petrol engines (95 hp to 193 hp).
Thanks to the unique sandwich concept, the new special-edition model delivers the same outstanding benefits as the rest of the A-Class range, such as renowned Mercedes occupant safety, exemplary economy of space and exceptional variability. The interior space, for example, can be extended up to a length of 2.75 meters whilst the load capacity can be increased to 1995 liters.
Furthermore, the A-Class sets new standards in terms of active safety and roadholding by virtue of innovations such as the parabolic rear axle with precise wheel location and excellent anti-roll control when cornering, not to mention a unique damping system which adapts the shock absorber response to the current driving situation, thus combining a high degree of ride comfort with dynamic handling.
More information on the 2006 Mercedes-Benz A-Class classic edition can be found here.
2006 Audi A3
Another main competitor for the upcoming Lancia is the German premium hot-hatch Audi A3. For 2007, the A3 gets even sportier with a new S line package. Standard on the A3 3.2 and optional on the 2.0 T, the S line package gives the A3 more aggressive front and rear fascias, as well as performance tires and sportier interior appointments. This new option package helps the A3 maintain its status atop the sporty premium compact segment.
With its aggressive styling, sporty driving dynamics, and abundance of standard features, the A3 offers sports car-like performance and sophistication with the versatility of its four-door design and cargo area.
The A3 2.0 T and A3 3.2 quattro have taken the premium compact segment by storm winning numerous awards in 2006. The A3 2.0 T was named “Best Sport Compact” in the Car and Driver “10Best” awards for 2006. The A3 was also named a “Top Safety Pick” by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. More awards from the New England Motor Press Association, Ward’s, and others reflect upon the A3’s appeal.
The A3 is immediately recognizable in the rear-view mirror: the dominant feature of its front end is the striking single-frame grille, which is now the distinctive mark of the latest Audi generation. The S line cars have larger - more aggressive - air intakes and a front lip that add to the sporty nature of the package. The marked tapering of the sides and the dynamic shape of the clear-glass headlights give the face of the car that extremely self-confident and forceful character for which Audi is now famous.
Click here to read more about the 2007 Audi A3 on TopSpeed.