The two diesel engine options which complete the launch range exemplify Alfa Romeo’s on-going pre-eminence in the field of diesel technology: a 1.9 litre 16 valve 150bhp 4-cylinder unit, and a 2.4 litre 20 valve 200bhp 5-cylinder powerplant, both of which feature the company’s renowned JTDM (MultiJet) common rail direct injection technology.
Both units also feature variable geometry turbocharging, and incorporate a ‘for life’, maintenance-free particulate trap (DPF) in anticipation of Euro 5 emissions regulations. Alfa Romeo’s widely acclaimed, twin overhead camshaft 1.9 JTDM 16v unit combines a power delivery of 150 bhp with an impressive 236 lb.ft of torque - a figure comparable to that generated by the company’s 24 valve, all-aluminium 3.2 litre JTS V6.
All five engines are mated to smooth, precise 6-speed manual gearboxes. A 6-speed automatic transmission will become available on the 1.9 JTDM Lusso version of the Alfa 159 Sportwagon later in 2006.
3.2 JTS V6 engined versions of the Alfa Brera, 159 and new 159 Sportwagon are equipped, as standard, with Alfa Romeo’s state-of-the-art Q4 permanent four-wheel drive system. Q4 employs three differentials, with a self-locking Torsen C unit at the centre of the system which divides drive torque by a ratio of 57% to the rear wheels and 43% to the front in normal driving conditions. Torque split between front and rear axles is constantly modulated by the central Torsen differential on the basis of available grip, with a bias towards the rear axle promoting handling characteristics appropriate to an Alfa Romeo sports saloon.
The suspension of the new Alfa 159 Sportwagon combines revisions to the proven high double wishbone set-up of the outgoing Alfa 156 with a sophisticated new multilink rear configuration. The combination is designed to deliver smooth, accurate steering response, exceptional stability and controllability – even when close to adhesion limits, and first class body control allied to remarkable comfort over all road surface conditions.
The powerful braking system of the Alfa 159 Sportwagon comprises 305mm ventilated front discs and 278mm solid discs at the rear. Models powered by the 3.2 JTS petrol and 2.4 JTDM turbodiesel engines feature larger, 330mm ventilated discs and Brembo four piston monobloc aluminium callipers at the front, with 292mm ventilated discs at the rear.
In best Alfa Romeo tradition, the Alfa 159 Sportwagon offers direct, lively and responsive speed-sensitive power assisted steering, with a rack requiring just 2.33 turns lock-to-lock; the most direct steering in its class.