Produced between 2005 and 2011, Alfa 159 was a compact executive car manufactured by the Italian automobile company Alfa Romeo. Alfa Romeo was established in 1910 in Milan, Italy and is famous for building iconic and expensive sports cars. The company is a part of the Fiat group of automobiles S.p.A. which is the largest automobile manufacturer in Italy since 2007.it is also involved in the manufacturing of Buses, Trucks and Trolley-buses by Alfa Romeo.
Alfa Romeo has been instrumental in introducing and adopting many modern automobile technologies since its establishment. The trademarked ‘Double Overhead Cam Engine’ in 1914, the Electrical Fuel Injection system in 1940, the mechanical variable valve timing in 1980 and the electronic variable valve timing was also developed by Alfa Romeo.
History of Alfa Romeo 159
The 159, was introduced at a motor show in Geneva in 2005 as a replacement for its predecessor the Alfa Romeo 156. The development of the Alfa Romeo 159 was a different story all together. The car was designed as a part of the short lived Fiat-General Motors joint venture that ended soon after the car’s release. The car was built on the GM/Fiat platform which was intended for the E-section cars like the Alfa Romeo 166. The platform however, was never put to use and to recover the company’s losses in its development was used for the Alfa Romeo 159.
There were initial problems like excessive weight and added dimensions that kept it from becoming a true successor to the Alfa Romeo 156. The excessive weight problems were resolved in 2008 when lighter materials were introduced in the car’s body to reduce its weight by 45 kilograms. The GM/Premier platform despite of it being discarded for the 166 model is a highly refined and expensive platform. The sophisticated design helped the Alfa Romeo 159 achieve the high level of passive safety and is exemplary of the high torsional rigidity of the chassis. The 159 is among the Alfa Romeo Historic Models.
Styling and Design
The car was designed by Giorgetto Guigairo an Italian car designer who has designed various other Alfa Romeo cars like Giulia Sprint and the famous DeLorean DMC-12 and also various Nikon cameras and several firearms. The car features a signature v-shaped grille and bonnet and cylindrical lights for the headlights. The car was intended to be marketed in the United States but the plan never materialised. The car’s unique platform which was built for E-section models made the car appear larger, spacious and more comfortable than its predecessor. The interiors have been designed like the predecessors and the instruments are angled towards the driver. Higher quality and more expensive interior materials were used in the 159, as it was intended to compete directly with BMW, Mercedes and Audi. The 159 due to its aggressive and robust design has also been the basis of various Alfa Romeo concept cars.
Alfa Romeo 159 Variants
The Alfa Romeo 159, are available in different variants and both front and four wheel drive. The cars were basically available in two designs, the Alfa Romeo 159 Sedan and Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon. Apart from these two there were several versions of both sedan and sportwagon featuring a new Ti trim level and popularly known as Alfa Romeo 159 Ti. The 159 features the signature ‘Q4’ four-wheel drive that has a Torsen type slip differential, that uses a front and center differential in the same unit with the front differential open. The ‘Q4’ differential is available with the 3.2 liter petrol and 2.4 liter diesel engine. A six speed manual gearbox was installed for most models where as the six speed automatic was also available for select models. A Selespeed gearbox is also available for sale in a few countries with the 2.2 liter petrol/gasoline engine.
Several variants of the 159 were available in the market with various notable changes. In 2006 a 159 sportwagon was launched at the Geneva motor show. After 2008 the vehicle’s mechanics were improved and the weight was reduced due to the use of aluminum in the car’s platform and chassis. The ‘Q2’ limited slip differential was used on most models. In 2009 a new gasoline engine called the ‘TBi’ was introduced with the 159 which has a direct fuel injection and variable valve timing. The engine was meant to replace all GM era engines which were officially retired in 2010. The 159’s produced during 2011 only had diesel engines and finally the production of the cars stopped on the 8th July 2011. 1.75 L I4 t/c petrol (TBi)
The variants of Alfa Romeo 159 are as follows.
- Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTD
- Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD
- Alfa Romeo 159 SPORTWAGON 1750 TBi
- Alfa Romeo 159 SPORTWAGON 2.4 JTD
- Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi Ti
- Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi
- Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTD Ti
- Alfa Romeo 159 3.2 V6 Ti
- Alfa Romeo 159 SPORTWAGON 2.4 JTD Ti
- Alfa Romeo 159 SPORTWAGON 3.2 V6 Ti
- Alfa Romeo 159 SPORTWAGON 1750 TBi Ti
Alfa Romeo 159 Models
From the years between 2005 and 2011, several models of the 159 were launched;the names of the most popular ones are as follows.
159 Sportwagon – Launched in 2006, with a two box design, 5 doors.
Polizia Penitenziaria’s 159 – was used by the Italian law enforcement agency and features a blue strip on the sides of the vehicle that distinguishes it from the rest.
Carabinieri’s 159 “Gazzella” – was a partially armored vehicle used by the Carabinieri, the military police in Italy.
159 “Pantera” – the car is used by the state police in Italy and is characterized by its bright blue color with white inlays and the image of a panther.
Safety And Accolades
All models of the Alfa Romeo 159 were fitted with a standard amount of 7 airbags. Additional airbags for the knee area could also be installed at the buyer’s request. The anti-whiplash seats made the car perform greatly in a majority of rear-end crash tests. The Alfa Romeo 159 also passed the Euro NACP test with five stars in the adult occupant, 4 stars in the child occupant and a single star in the pedestrian criteria.
The 159 due to its iconic design by the famous designer Giorgetto Guigairo has received several awards, which are as follows.
- Auto Build Design Award 2006
- Fleet World Honors
- Die Besten Autos 2007 Import category (Auto, Motor und Sport)
- L’Automobile piu Bella del Mondo
The 159 is also one of the Alfa Romeo Racing Cars using the 2.4 liter JTDM engine, the Alfa Romeo 159 has won the first place in the unique fuel category at the touring car racing at Bathurst since 2007, when it first competed at the competition. It is also used as a safety car for most car racing events held in Italy.
The Alfa Romeo has also appeared in several Hollywood movies like Quantum of Solace, Angels and Demons, The Girl Who Played with Fire, Johnny English Reborn and Welcome to the Punch etc.
Featured Image Credits @ David.