The Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon: Safety | Part Two

The New Alfa 159 Sportwagon

Alfa Romeo 159

Fire Prevention System

The FPS includes a cut-off valve and an inertia switch which immediately locks the electric petrol pump. This prevents fuel loss in the case of impact, roll-over or damage to the fuel lines. The fuel tank is formed in a plastic resistant to mechanical stress and fire. Special care has been taken over the location of key components within the engine bay, electrical system, fuel system and brakes to minimise the risk of damage. The new interior trim is also flame resistant.

Active Safety

The new servo assisted braking system employed by the Alfa 159 Sportwagon features two independent crossover hydraulic circuits to ensure prompt, linear braking and minimal stopping distances; 62-0mph in just 32 metres. Alfa 159 Sportwagon versions powered by 1.9 and 2.2 JTS petrol, and 1.9 JTDM turbodiesel engines are equipped with 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 powerful, Brembo, four piston monobloc aluminium callipers at the front, with 292mm ventilated discs at the rear.

The new Alfa 159 Sportwagon is equipped, as standard, with a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art electronic braking, traction control and stability systems: ABS is combined with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution over all four wheels, and Hydraulic Brake Assistance, whilst a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control unit enhances cornering stability. VDC is further augmented by ASR to limit wheelspin during acceleration, MSR to modulate braking torque when changing down through the gears, and a unique Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.

ABS with EBD and HBA

The Alfa 159 Sportwagon is fitted as standard with a Bosch 5.7 anti-lock braking system, one of the most advanced units currently available. The system incorporates an electronic brakeforce distributor with four active sensors, four channels and a hydraulic control unit with 12 solenoids. Because the active sensors can themselves process a wheel input signal, rather than passing it on to the control unit, the system can both activate more quickly and detect speed signals far closer to zero.

The active sensors are less sensitive to interference from electromagnetic fields and road surface heating and, because they can detect very low speeds, augment the efficiency of the satellite navigation system by allowing more accurate updating of data on the route covered by the car.

EBD distributes braking action over all four wheels to prevent them 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.

Though primarily conceived to automatically increase brake force when insufficient brake pedal loading has been applied during an emergency stopping procedure, Hydraulic Brake Assistance can even help experienced drivers who have applied the correct amount of pedal pressure, by reducing braking attenuation time in all cases (the time between initial pedal loading and maximum brake circuit pressure).

continues... | Part Three
Published 7 June 2006 Melanie Carter

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