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Headline:Revised Alfa 166 in the UKDate:23/03/2004
Source:FastSaloons.com   (Click Here for more details).News
   
Review:Revised versions of Alfa Romeo’s executive flagship, the 166 sports saloon, go on sale in the UK on Thursday 1 April.  

The result of a 60 million Euro investment, the rationalised and restructured 2004 Alfa 166 range features new styling by Alfa Romeo Centro Stile, carefully considered cabin trim revisions, extensive standard equipment specification upgrades, painstaking suspension modifications and comprehensive safety equipment, including the fitting of a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control system as standard across the range.

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Priced from £21,750-£29,900 on-the-road, the revised Alfa 166 range features four models and a choice of three outstanding petrol engines; a 2.0 litre 16-valve Twin Spark unit with 6-speed manual transmission, a 3.0 litre 24-valve V6 allied to 4-speed Sportronic automatic transmission, and Alfa Romeo’s 240 bhp 24-valve 3.2 litre V6 powerplant, which is also available in the Alfa GTV, Spider and the new Alfa GT.

Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the all-aluminium 4OHC 3.2 litre V6 in the revised Alfa 166 develops 240 bhp at 6200 rpm, with a maximum torque of 213 lb.ft at 4800 rpm, giving the new Alfa 166 a 0-62 mph acceleration time of just
7.4 seconds, and a maximum speed in excess of 150 mph.

These figures are complemented by a torque curve that offers high output at low speeds. Thus, the revised 166 can cruise effortlessly in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm, yet accelerate rapidly and smoothly away without the need for changing gear.

Further refinement of Alfa Romeo’s proven double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension includes revisions to spring and damper rates, as well as modifications to rear wheel toe-in, to reduce body movement through corners and under braking, and achieve the optimum balance between roadholding and comfort essential to an Alfa Romeo sports saloon.

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STYLING

As with other recent models in the Alfa Romeo range, the legendary Villa d’Este style Alfa shield with five, horizontal chrome bars is now larger and more prominent, bisecting the front bumper. Below, the addition of two expansive air intakes, containing powerful fog lamps, reinforces the traditional Alfa pattern of the new design. Once again, the number plate is offset to the left; a style signature echoing past classics, and unique to Alfa Romeo.

Elsewhere, classic Alfa Romeo traits have not been over-laboured, but subtly hinted at. The proportions, and the amount of chrome plating have been carefully controlled. As a result, the revised Alfa 166 displays an understated consistency that gives this flagship sports saloon an elegance typical of Italian style. It also looks good under the bonnet, the engine bay having been designed with the same attention to detail as the exterior.

On board, the revised Alfa 166’s comfortable, driver focused environment has been further enhanced by a new, metal effect finish to the centre console, while lighter interiors and new fascia tones co-ordinate with three, revised upholstery trim levels –Sport, Classic and Elegant – and a choice of four new exterior colours – Emerald Green, Brunello Red, Moonsand Grey and Geo Grey.

REVISED MODEL RANGE

In a 2004 model range rationalised and restructured to provide enhanced equipment specifications and highly competitive pricing, four versions of the revised Alfa 166 will become available from launch, as follows:

2.0 Turismo

£21,750

2.0 Lusso

£24.400

3.0 Sportronic Lusso

£29,775

3.2 V6 Lusso

£29,900

ENHANCED STANDARD EQUIPMENT

The two, revised and upgraded standard specifications now include the following:

Turismo

  • Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC)
  • Automatic climate control
  • Six airbags including side and head airbags
  • Electric windows front and rear
  • Remote central locking
  • Alarm and immobiliser
  • Electric heated door mirrors
  • Electric seatback adjustment
  • 16' alloy wheels
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • Bi-xenon headlamps with headlamp washers
  • Leather steering wheel

Lusso

In addition to the Turismo specification, Lusso adds:

  • 6 CD autochanger
  • Leather upholstery
  • Fully electrically adjustable front seats
  • Cruise control
  • Auto dip rear view mirror
  • 17' spoked alloy wheels

The revised Alfa Romeo 166’s comprehensive standard equipment package is further enhanced by an expansive range of comfort and safety enhancing options, including satellite navigation, a heated front windscreen, heated front seats with driver’s side memory, a rear sunblind, a rear parking sensor, 18' spoked alloy wheels and remote audio controls on the steering wheel spokes.

TI SPORTS PACK

A TI pack will become available on Lusso versions of the revised Alfa 166. This sports-orientated pack includes a 15 mm lower ride height with revised spring and damper settings, bespoke 18' TI spoked alloy wheels, a black sports interior featuring black leather sports seats imprinted with the Alfa Romeo logo, and TI badging to aluminium door sill plates and the rear of the car.

THREE RENOWNED ENGINES

The revised Alfa 166 model range offers a choice of three outstanding petrol engines: a 2.0 litre Twin Spark 16-valve unit mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, a
3.0 litre 24-valve V6 allied to 4-speed Sportronic automatic transmission, and Alfa Romeo’s flagship, 3.2 litre 24-valve V6 powerplant also employing a 6-speed manual gearbox.

2.0 Twin Spark 16v

  • 1970 cc

  • 4 cylinders, 16 valves

  • Power:

150 bhp @ 6300 rpm

  • Torque:

133 lb.ft @ 3800 rpm

  • Timing gear:

DOHC

  • Transmission:

6-speed manual

  • Top speed:

131 mph

  • Acceleration 0-62 mph:

9.8 seconds

  • Fuel consumption:

in town:

20.5 mpg

out of town:

38.7 mpg

combined:

29.1 mpg

  • CO2:

230 g/km

The 2.0 litre 16 valve engine in the revised Alfa 166 represents the development peak of Alfa Romeo’s long experience with Twin Spark technology, combining high performance, strong low speed torque and ultra-smooth operation.

This twin overhead camshaft, alloy head 1970 cc engine is fitted with a variable geometry intake system. Managed electronically by the injection control unit, it uses ports of different lengths for different engine rpm, thus ensuring precise airflow to the cylinders at all engine speeds for increased engine efficiency, a much flatter torque curve, and greater response.Twin counter-rotating balancer shafts, a structural oil sump designed to stiffen the power unit, and a crankshaft torsional damper help reduce vibration transmitted to the passenger compartment and, thus, ensure notable refinement.

3.0 V6 24v Sportronic

  • 2959 cc

  • 6 cylinders in 60 degree V, 24 valves

  • Power:

220 bhp @ 6300 rpm

  • Torque:

195 lb.ft @ 5000 rpm

  • Timing gear:

4 OHC

  • Transmission:

4-speed automatic

  • Top speed:

147 mph

  • Acceleration 0-62 mph:

8.6 seconds

  • Fuel consumption:

in town:

14.6 mpg

out of town:

30.4 mpg

combined:

21.7 mpg

  • CO2:

310 g/km

Alfa Romeo’s legendary 220 bhp V6 powerplant features six cylinders set in a 60 degree V configuration with four valves per cylinder, pent roof combustion chambers and a centrally mounted spark plug.

Engine management is via a sophisticated Bosch Motronic ME 2.1 system, and throttle opening is controlled by an electronic control unit with no mechanical connections between accelerator pedal and throttle body.

The revised Alfa 166’s 3.0 V6 engine is mated exclusively to a 27 kg.m Sportronic gearbox, an innovative, electronically controlled 4-speed transmission that allows drivers to choose between self-adaptive or clutchless manual control. In the former mode, the system monitors both the driver’s control inputs and the route conditions before deciding on the most effective gear-speed sequence to suit these factors.

3.2 V6 24v

  • 3179 cc

  • 6 cylinders in 60 degree V, 24 valves

  • Power:

240 bhp @ 6200 rpm

  • Torque:

213 lb.ft @ 4800 rpm

  • Timing gear:

4 OHC

  • Transmission:

6-speed manual

  • Top speed:

152 mph

  • Acceleration 0-62 mph:

7.4 seconds

  • Fuel consumption:

in town:

15.4 mpg

out of town:

31.0 mpg

combined:

22.6 mpg

  • CO2:

297 g/km

This spirited, widely acclaimed engine is the same quadruple overhead camshaft, all-aluminium, 3.2 litre 24-valve V6 that is installed in the Alfa Romeo GTV, Spider and new Alfa GT models.

Derived from the now classic 3.0 litre 24-valve V6, it does, however, differ from the legendary 3.0 litre unit in many key respects.

Power could simply have been increased by adjusting the timing, fuel system and electronics. Instead, Alfa Romeo’s engineers changed the crankshaft and pistons to increase cylinder capacity to 3.2 litres and lengthened the stroke to 78 mm.

This was done with one specific aim: to ensure absolute performance and high power and torque peaks, combined with smooth, linear power delivery from low speeds. Hence, the 3.2 litre V6 24v unit delivers sensational performance, but is also very docile.

As fitted to the revised Alfa 166, the 3.2 litre V6 develops 240 bhp at 6200 rpm, with a maximum torque of 213 lb.ft at 4800 rpm. These figures are complemented by a torque curve that offers high output at low speeds. Thus, the new 166 can cruise effortlessly in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm, yet accelerate rapidly and smoothly away without the need for changing gear.

The increased cylinder capacity necessitated further changes. For example, the control unit software has been rewritten, the cooling system has been upgraded with the addition of an engine oil radiator, and the intake and exhaust ports have been tuned by applying a new timing pattern.

Mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, the Alfa 166’s 3.2 litre V6 24-valve engine already meets stringent Euro 4 exhaust emission limits.

IMPROVED DRIVING DYNAMICS

Further refinement of Alfa Romeo’s proven double wishbone front and multilink rear suspension system has been aimed at achieving the optimum balance between roadholding and comfort in the revised 166.

Alfa’s double wishbone front suspension combines the outstanding control typical of front wheel drive with appropriately sporting performance and exceptional precision. It ensures impressive lateral grip, secure high speed turn-in and effective and precise steering response, wedding these features to a road surface absorption and damping ability typical of the most comfortable cars in this class.

Such comfort is further accentuated by the multilink rear suspension layout. This innovative, Alfa Romeo patented system allows independent control of comfort and handling parameters, reducing the need for compromise between these ostensibly disparate requirements. The particularly sensitive and reactive multilink system mirrors front suspension movements to ensure great high speed stability, and outstanding driving satisfaction in the best Alfa tradition.

Modifications to the revised Alfa 166 chassis include revised spring and damping rates, effecting an alteration in the balance between spring action and anti-roll bar reaction to reduce roll on cornering, pitching on braking and body movement on longitudinal oscillations.

Additionally, rear wheel toe-in has been modified to achieve a greater variation during the transfer of weight, both towards the front when braking and towards the rear under acceleration. Hence, when the suspension is stretched or compressed, the rear wheels toe-in much earlier.

This has the effect of a significant increase in both stability and driveability, as well as considerably enhanced active safety, even before electronic intervention from the Vehicle Dynamic Control system which, itself, gives a further increase in safety margins and performance.

The reduction of pitching through suspension modifications has also elicited a significant improvement to the revised Alfa 166’s braking performance. Indeed, a standard 62-0 mph brake test demonstrates a dramatic 38 metre reduction in stopping distance.

GREATER ACTIVE AND PASSIVE SAFETY

Together with the standard fitment of front, side and window airbags to all versions, the revised Alfa Romeo 166’s comprehensive range of state-of-the-art electronic braking, traction control and stability systems now includes a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control system, fitted as standard across the range.

ABS anti-lock braking is combined with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution over all four wheels, while the Vehicle Dynamic Control unit enhances cornering stability. VDC is further augmented by Anti-Slip Regulation to limit wheelspin during acceleration, and Motor Slip Regulation to modulate braking torque when changing down through the gears.

2.0 litre Twin Spark versions of the revised Alfa 166 are equipped with 281 mm ventilated front discs, and 276 mm discs at the rear. Both 3.0 Sportronic and 3.2 V6 models boast enlarged, 310 mm ventilated front discs with, once again, 276 mm discs at the rear.

All versions of the revised Alfa 166 range are fitted with a Bosch 5.3 ABS anti-lock braking system as standard. The system incorporates an electronic brakeforce distributor with four active sensors, four channels and an 8-valve electronic control unit which includes an electronic brake force distributor (EBD).

The active sensors perform in the same way as traditional sensors to measure wheel speeds, but process the signal themselves instead of sending it to a control unit. This ensures that the system cuts in faster and can also recognise speed signals close to zero, passive sensors being unable to measure speeds of less than 2.5 mph. The active sensors are also less sensitive to electromagnetic interference.

EBD distributes braking action over all four wheels to prevent the rear wheels locking, and ensures full control of the car in all situations. To reduce brake pad overheating, the system also adapts its operation to both grip availability and brake pad efficiency.

Permanently engaged, the innovative Vehicle Dynamic Control system is activated under extreme conditions when vehicle stability is at risk, helping the driver to control the car. As befits a true Alfa Romeo, however, the VDC is a sporting system that does not interfere prematurely, allowing the full satisfaction of driver control to the limit of critical conditions.

The 166’s VDC continuously monitors tyre grip in both longitudinal and lateral directions. If the car starts to slide, VDC cuts in to restore directional stability. It uses sensors to detect rotation of the car body about its vertical axis (yaw), lateral acceleration, and steering input. Comparing this data with computer generated parameters, the system establishes whether the car is cornering within its adhesion limits or if the front or rear wheels are about to lose grip.

To restore the required trajectory, VDC generates a yawing movement to counter that responsible for the vehicle’s instability by braking the appropriate wheel individually and reducing engine power via the throttle.

Exceptionally smooth brake modulation and engine power reduction are key attributes of a system designed by Alfa engineers to maintain outstanding performance and driving satisfaction throughout its operation.

Anti-Slip Regulation is an additional feature of the new Alfa 166’s VDC system, designed to limit wheelspin in cases of low road surface grip. This sophisticated system works at any speed and prevents the driven wheels from spinning by adjusting torque according to the grip coefficient detected at the time of slip.

The system recognises loss of traction via the ABS sensors, and activates two different control systems to restore grip: in the case of both driven wheels spinning it reduces engine power via the throttle. If only one wheel spins, however, it is automatically braked; the resultant effect similar to that of a self-locking differential.

ASR not only optimises vehicle safety in conditions of minimal or constantly varying degrees of grip, but also greatly reduces mechanical stress to the differential and gearbox through effective control of low speed take-off and traction.

The revised Alfa Romeo 166 further benefits from Motor Slip Regulation. MSR cuts in when a gear is shifted down abruptly under conditions of low grip, restoring torque to the engine to prevent skidding as a result of wheel lock-up.



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