The model in brief
The new elite Alfa Romeo 166 has arrived in South Africa. The flagship of the Alfa Romeo brand will go on sale in October 2004 starting at R349 000 including vat. Three different derivatives will be available to consumers on a made to order basis, consisting of the 3.2 V6 Progression, 3.2 V6 TI and the 3.0 Distinctive automatic.
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 with interior and exterior aesthetic motifs of great visual impact.
The car’s imposing front end has been fully redesigned. The tall shield, for example, now forms the traditional Alfa three-part motif in conjunction with the two side air intakes. This motif marks a family resemblance to more recent models while allowing the Alfa Romeo Style Centre to reclaim and reinterpret distinctive traits from the company’s illustrious past.
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 side view of the New Alfa 166 features some of the chrome trim that was present on the previous model: i.e. on the door handles, roof outline and door sills. Not to mention the fact that the outline immediately conveys an impression of a car that is strong, compact and firmly anchored to the ground. At the same time, the extensive metal area prevails over the glass and makes the vehicle look like a coupé from the side.
Viewed from the rear, 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 slightly drooping tail evokes the sensation of a very agile car despite its large saloon dimensions. The relatively unchanged bumpers are still flush with the metal surface and blend into the vehicle body. The light clusters on the New Alfa 166 are among its most distinctive features and designer objects in their own right.
From the exterior to the interior, 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 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. An extensive choice of materials and colours combine to create three different environments: sports, elegant or classic.
This model is set to trump the opposition with a winning blend of breeding and temperament. And more. Beneath its attractive exterior, 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. Those who expect driving satisfaction even from a big prestige saloon particularly appreciate this characteristic. 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 two power units that present different characteristics. The two petrol units are the 220 bhp 3.0 V6 and the 240 bhp 3.2 V6 24v. The 3.2 unit comes with a 6 speed manual gearbox in two trim levels, and the 220 bhp 3.0 V6 is available with an automatic transmission.
The Alfa Romeo flagship has also been designed with a view to pleasing its passengers. The new model immediately reveals itself as a car that is extremely satisfying to inhabit: as driver or passenger, over short trips or long motorway journeys. The interior environment is comfortable because it is so ergonomic. It is pleasing due to the gratifying sensations aroused by an advanced climate control system, outstanding soundproofing and a very comfortable suspension. It is sophisticated because the in-car technology has been designed to make life easier: with an efficient electronic interface, Cruise Control that is useful on motorway routes and a smart radio that dynamically adjusts volume to the surrounding noise. The new central console display delivers a stylish metallic effect.
The New Alfa 166 range is made up of three comprehensive specification levels that offer great value for money: the Progression, Distinctive and TI packages. The new Alfa 166 TI is 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.
Here are just a few of the numerous systems and devices available on the new model: active sensor ABS with electronic brake force distributor; VDC; front airbags, sidebags and window bags; automatic climate control; Cruise Control; bi-Xenon headlights; rain and parking sensor; follow-me-home lights; radio controls on the steering wheel and Hi-Fi system with 10 speakers and CD changer.
REJUVENATED EXTERIOR STYLING
The new flagship inherits from its predecessor a clean, cutting 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 characteristically Italian.
The Style Centre has yet again succeeded in finding the right stylistic balance to bring the Alfa 166 right up to date. 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 Style Centre to reclaim and reinterpret distinctive traits from Alfa’s illustrious past.
A big shield whose upper edge follows the bonnet round and then plunges down to break the bumper line dominates the imposing front. 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: i.e. on the 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 are flush with the body.
The bulges over the wheel arches 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 New 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 wheel arches 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 taillights mitigate the taut, muscular sides. These are separate, small and embedded in the body.
The Style Centre has prepared a palette of ten body shades that emphasise the car’s shapes and volumes. These include non-metallic and metallic shades. The first group includes: Alfa Red and Kyalami Black. A choice of eight metallic shades is available (the first four are brand new): Cernobbio Green, Siena Red, Spoleto Grey, Dolceacqua Grey, Lampedusa Blue, Rialto Grey, Marostica Grey, Pergusa Black.
BRIGHTER, MORE ELEGANT INTERIORS
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 attention to detail. The lines that run inside the New Alfa 166 passenger compartment are continuations of the exterior shape. 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. A choice of leather colours is 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.
As on all Alfa Romeo models, the central focus is the driver’s cockpit and this has been designed with 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 stylish with chrome outlines and ensure a high air output with even distribution throughout the passenger compartment.
The two drawers 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.
SOPHISTICATED, SILENT GEARBOXES
The gearboxes fitted to the new model transmit engine power effectively to ensure uniform, precise road behaviour. The 27 kgm Sportronic C.A.E. (Cambio Automatico Elettronico – electronic automatic transmission) is again fitted to the 3.0 V6 24 valve version. This innovative four-speed automatic transmission (electronically controlled) offers a choice between fully power-assisted self-adaptive management and manual mode. In the first case, the system analyses the way that the driver uses certain controls for a short period. Then it decides on the best gearshift sequence on the basis of this information (and also on car condition and route type). The transmission achieves this by comparing results obtained with certain algorithms present in its memory. When in manual mode, the Sportronic allows the driver to decide which gear to engage to ensure typical Alfa Romeo driving satisfaction.
Driving satisfaction, travelling satisfaction. The former has always been one of Alfa Romeo’s strengths and the latter is compulsory in a car with the character of an Alfa and the class of a great saloon.
The New Alfa 166 is an upper-crust car and its personality shines through during any road test. The reasons? Because it is as comfortable and quiet as you would expect from a flagship – and its road holding and stability are all you would expect from an Alfa Romeo. Other typical Alfa Romeo features include limited roll, sure-footed rear suspension support on corners and prompt, gradual steering. The New Alfa 166 is also easy to drive because corrections made by the driver are accurately executed. A very direct steering wheel ratio ensures clean steering and makes the car a treat to drive. You never have to wrestle with your car. Quite the contrary: you can take every bend with style without taking your hands off the wheel.
The secret of this performance lies in sophisticated mechanical systems. In the case of the suspension, for example, a high double wishbone configuration at the front is combined with a multilink system at the rear. From a technical viewpoint, this means that the front tyres always work in an ideal manner in relation to the ground with uniform specific pressures over the entire contact area. The rear tyres are led along trajectories that allow them to turn without ever sliding to ensure maximum road holding in all situations.
This kind of behaviour is naturally very important when it comes to active safety. When the New Alfa 166 needs to avoid a sudden obstacle, it makes the most of its attributes at the most crucial stages of the manoeuvre: the beginning and end. In the former case, by responding quickly (due above all to the front suspension) and offering maximum lateral grip. In the latter case, by realigning smoothly and intuitively. This action is aided by the small steering actions imposed by the rear suspension. The car’s performance is aided by a braking system that is closer in structure, size and materials to that of a sports car than the braking systems of other models in the same segment.
It is easy to imagine the driving satisfaction afforded to aficionados by a car able to exploit the response of a truly outstanding suspension. The front suspension renders the car neutral and almost lacking in understeer so it can be directed exactly where the driver wishes. The rear configuration imposes a slight steering action on the rear wheel to address any bend smoothly and progressively. The Alfa Romeo flagship combines the great driving comfort assured by the suspension with ultra-low noise levels and outstanding climate control because safety begins here: i.e. the ability to control the car with full mental and physical well being. The New Alfa 166 is also fitted as standard with a fully automatic climate control system able to assure the best possible comfort and safety conditions. Passenger compartment temperature, humidity and ventilation can all affect the driver’s level of awareness and well-being. And of course the heating and ventilation system is also responsible for demisting the windscreen and side windows. And there is more. The Alfa 166 system is also fitted with a temperature estimator that records internal and external temperature by means of certain sensors and assesses the sensation of thermal well-being experienced by passengers, i.e. the energy exchange between human body and passenger compartment that is affected by humidity, temperature and treated air flow.
Another sensor located in the middle of the windscreen base detects solar radiation striking the car. In other words, the sensor allows the system to prevent an excessive increase in temperature inside the car caused by the sun and thus to inform the climate control system in time.
All these parameters are monitored continuously and used to update the distribution, ventilation and mixing automatically. Outlet air temperature and fan speed can be adjusted to maintain the sensation of thermal well being preset by the user in the passenger compartment. The result is a very constant interior temperature, even with significant changes in external conditions.
Each of these parameters may also be adjusted manually. Manual settings take precedence over the automatic system and are stored until the user cancels the command. Particular attention has also been directed to the quality of the air that reaches the car interior through a two-layer filter. The first traps particles that measure more than 0.5 microns in diameter and pollen (that can cause allergic reactions). The second active carbon filter reduces polluting substances and absorbs unpleasant smells.
The recirculation function is activated automatically when the passenger compartment temperature has to be reduced quickly. It may also be activated manually to prevent unclean air entering when the car is in queues or driving through a tunnel.
A BROAD AND DIVERSE RANGE
The New Alfa 166 range is made up of three comprehensive specifications that offer great value for money: the Progression, Distinctive and TI packages. The product retains all the exuberant performance and sophisticated engineering one expects from a motorsport brand such as Alfa Romeo even though the on-board comfort and elegant specifications are those of a large top-class saloon.
First and foremost, all versions are fitted as standard with major devices such as: active sensor ABS with electronic brake force distributor; driver and passenger airbag; electronic seat-belt pretensioners; adjustable head-restraint; fire prevention system and an ALFA CODE II antitheft system.
Other equipment designed to ease life on board that is common to all the New Alfa 166s includes: an automatic climate control system, sound system with built-in radio and a trip computer to record the main trip parameters (fuel consumption, distance from destination, range etc.) that are governed by an ICS system with 5″ colour screen. Other features include airbags (front, side and window bags), electric windows on all four doors, electrically heated and adjustable door mirrors, remote central locking, foglight and armrest between the adjustable front seats, complete with storage compartment.
All versions come with an additional two features from a range specially designed to increase the safety and comfort of the New Alfa 166 and to make its style even more distinctive. These include VDC and bi-Xenon headlights.
New Alfa 166 customers can choose between three different interior environments: classic, elegant or sport. The former features shades of grey while the latter is based on bright shades of beige. Customers who wish to emphasise the sporty temperament of their New Alfa 166 can choose a configuration that combines black (seats, facia and doors panels) and grey (mats and console panel). Three alternatives of great personality that convey sensations pleasing to the touch and sight through a clever choice of colours and materials. 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.
Excellent visibility at all times, including in the dark is an important preventive safety factor. The New Alfa 166 is therefore fitted as standard with innovative dual ‘bi-Xenon’ headlights that, as the name suggests, generate high and low beams from a single xenon bulb. These devices are produced in conjunction with Valeo, a leading European company, and offer the best possible light quality and excellent efficiency under all atmospheric conditions.
These airbags are fitted as standard on all versions and drop down along the windows to safeguard the passengers’ heads in the front seats in the case of side impact. Compared to other solutions, the window-bags adopted on the New Alfa 166 are more protective (because they always take up the correct position), faster to inflate and less invasive for passengers. They open from top to bottom and do not involve a risk of secondary damage to occupants’ arms. Two bags (one on the right and the other on the left) are located under the roof rails where they are folded into a closed compartment. At the appropriate moment, the covering bends open to allow the bags to expand and drop downward.
Sound system and radio controls on the steering wheel
The radio – standard throughout the range – can store up to 24 stations. It comes with a device that adjusts volume and bass/treble mix according to car speed and also a RDS (Radio Data System). This device offers traffic news throughout the trip and also cuts out interference by means of imperceptible frequency changes. By means of automatic screening (auto best), the receiver continually searches the available frequencies to find the best ones for the set programme and begins a new selection when reception quality worsens. The aerial is built into the back window, the tape player offers auto reverse and the Distinctive and TI versions include a CD-changer for six CDs and radio controls on the steering wheel.
TI stands for Turismo Internazionale, the acronym that Alfa Romeo used to assign only to its out-and-out sports models. Such cars were derived from standard production models that underwent styling changes and mechanical changes to create thoroughbred sports cars that could still be driven on ordinary roads. Today those two simple yet glorious letters are making a comeback on the New Alfa Romeo 166. The code stands for the sports version on the Alfa Romeo range that guarantees quality and is evidence that changes have been made in the factory.
The New 166 TI is targeted at motorsport aficionados and features a low ride that offers greater driving satisfaction and more handling. In other words, the dynamic behaviour of a car that spices your everyday driving experience with racetrack sensation. All in all, a car for those who demand the very best when it comes to sportiness. And want it to be known without ostentation. Hence the styling decision not to change the exterior shape of the standard production cars too radically but limit the changes to a few features. This is why, from the outside, the cars are still recognisable but simply look meaner with a more vice-like grip on the road. Apart from the exterior logo, this version is also identifiable for its exclusive alloy wheels (235/40-18″). Inside, the TI environment is identifiable by seats upholstered in black leather with an embroidered Alfa Romeo logo. The TI logo on the aluminium sill plate and the red button and instrument panel lighting present the same sporty imprint.
Cars that thrill and give authentic driving gratification in everyday use. Cars that represent the purest distillate of brand values and are the ambassadors of that particular form of elegant sportiness that has made them famous the world over. The new 166 TI is the right choice for customers who want to enter the sporting world of Alfa Romeo where the topmost rung is occupied by the GTA family: Italian-style on-road vehicles, powerful and safe with cutting-edge technology to assure maximum satisfaction and peak driving control at all times.
AFTER-SALES PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Warranties and service
All Alfa 166 models will enjoy the full after-sales backing in South Africa thanks to a comprehensive parts inventory and to trained technicians at Alfa Romeo dealerships countrywide.
Fiat Auto South Africa offers Alfa 166 owners a 12-month Manufacturer Warranty, unlimited mileage and an additional 24-month Dealer Extended Warranty or up to 100 000km in total, three years on paintwork and five years on rust anti-perforation.
All Alfa Romeo 166’s enjoy a 36month/60 000km maintenance plan.
The new models are also covered by the ‘Alfa Cares’ policy in conjunction with the AA Fleetcare roadside assistance. The service, which is active 24 hours a day and 365 days a year, is available by calling the dedicated toll-free number 0800 223 727.
Services are required at 20 000 km intervals.