Alfa Romeo 159 - Active Safety Features | Part Four

Alfa Romeo 159

Alfa Romeo 159

Enjoyable driving and active safety

The new Alfa Romeo 159 shows its ‘Alfa’ pedigree in full, for example, by guaranteeing control and entertaining driving that admit no compromise. Travelling comfort and dynamic behaviour, features peculiar to Alfa Romeo cars, become real strengths on this model. The car has an interesting suspension layout, the fruit of a new project that set extremely high standards of excellence. It has ‘high’ double wishbones at the front, and Multilink at the rear. This means a greater capacity to absorb road roughness, more linearity and precision in response to the steering (the most direct of the standard saloons), superb roadholding, maximum stability in high speed manoeuvres and the agility of a true Alfa Romeo on narrow mixed routes. The braking system is also the most competitive in its category, reflecting Alfa Romeo’s great tradition in this field. The Alfa Romeo 159’s excellent road behaviour is also due to the tyres which achieve the best balance between handling and comfort. To minimise swinging on bends while guaranteeing excellent absorption of obstacles, the Alfa Romeo technicians worked with suppliers to develop special tyres, the largest in their category, right up to 235/45 R 18.

The new Alfa Romeo 159 offers the evolved permanent 4-wheel drive system with three differentials (a Torsen C self-locking central differential) adopted on the Crosswagon Q4. The heart of this project is the ‘Alfa Romeo Q4 four-wheel drive’ system which splits torque constantly and dynamically between the four wheels, reaching the highest levels of active safety and sportiness. The Torsen C self-locking central differential manages the drive torque in the best possible way, sending about 57% to the rear wheels and 43% to the front. The system also guarantees excellent traction in all grip conditions by automatically checking any slipping.

The car’s dynamic behaviour is controlled by a number of sophisticated electronic systems. VDC first of all, which guarantees absolute control over the car in all conditions, no matter how extreme, with a sporty calibration worthy of a true Alfa, whose chassis guarantees superb roadholding: VDC lets the driver enjoy his control over the vehicle and never intervenes intrusively. On the other hand, when he changes down suddenly in poor grip conditions, MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) intervenes, giving torque back to the engine to prevent skidding due to wheel lock. The other systems that supplement VDC are: ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), HBA (Hydraulic Brake Assistance) which intervenes during emergency braking, the ABS system complete with EBD, and the Hill Holder for hill starts. Active safety is also enhanced by sophisticated bi-xenon headlights.

Technology to enhance well-being on board

The new model features important exclusive equipment that increases comfort: Cruise control, rain, dusk and parking sensors (front and rear), satellite navigator with maps (even with ‘bird’s eye view’ display), voice controls and a built-in GSM hands-free telephone, automatic climate control with dual or tri-zone distribution and temperature, a radio-CD player (including MP3 files) and 10-disc CD-Changer, a BOSE Hi-Fi Sound System with AutoPilot for automatic sound compensation and a central speaker on the facia for better acoustics, seats with electrical adjustment, folding rear seats and push-button ignition on the console.

Published 22 February 2005 Melanie Carter

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