Alfa Crosswagon Q4

Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

Alfa Crosswagon Q4 | Part Three

Published 18 July 2004 Melanie Carter

The new Crosswagon Q4 is thus an agile off-road car that is self-avowedly an Alfa in its uncompromising sense of control and driving satisfaction. Driving comfort and dynamic behaviour have always been specific features of Alfa Romeo cars: on the Crosswagon Q4, they amount to a real strength. Hence the adoption of a suspension layout that is bound to appeal: the revised front suspension features a high double wishbone configuration while the rear is MacPherson type with transverse rods of different lengths. This offers a greater ability to absorb the surface roughness typical of off road routes because the wheel withdraws lengthways without affecting the steering and the antisquat angle has been increased. The steering response also offers the greatest linearity and precision due to the double wishbone configuration. Outstanding roadholding means the car is able to self-align itself superlatively, even under the toughest conditions because the rear wheels steer steadily even when subject to lateral load. The rear end assures the greatest stability during high speed manoeuvres and offers all the agility of a true Alfa Romeo on narrow mixed routes. The Crosswagon Q4 combines great driving comfort with all the boisterous character of an Alfa sports model. This is because the new model comes with a power unit that allows the car to deal with any on-road situation: the powerful 110 kW (150 bhp) 1.9 JTD 16v M-Jet engine is combined with a sporty 6-speed manual gearbox. The 4 cylinder in line engine with a bore of 82 millimetres and a stroke of 90.4 mm is capable of delivering a power output of 110 kW at 4000 rpm and a torque of 305 Nm (31 kgm) at 2000 rpm.

The new turbodiesel has undergone several engineering changes to increase performance and engine torque at low speeds and to reduce noise and vibration levels. For example, the Common Rail system used on the 1.9 JTD 16v M-Jet includes two new strategies for automatically calibrating and balancing the diesel injected to lower noise and reduce vibration.

On the safety front, the Alfa Crosswagon Q4 is also unrivalled. This is due to a braking system that assures fast, gradual braking and also shorter stopping distances; ventilated front discs with a diameter of 330 millimetres with Brembo fixed aluminium callipers with four pistons (38 and 42 mm) - and an ABS system with four active sensors complete with an EBD electronic brakeforce distributor. Absolute mastery of the road in all conditions, however tough, is also assured by VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), Alfa Romeo's version of the ESP (Electronic Stability Program). This sporty feature is not intrusive - as one would expect from a true Alfa - because it allows the driver the full satisfaction of controlling the vehicle as long as the conditions are controllable and does not intervene until immediately before the situation becomes critical. ASR (Anti Slip Regulation), an integral part of the VDC, optimises traction at any speed with the aid of the brakes and engine control. If the car skids, the ASR cuts in automatically to load the traction onto the opposite wheel with good grip to achieve an effect similar to that of a self-locking differential on both front and rear axles. If the driver changes down abruptly in poor grip conditions, the MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) cuts in to restore torque to the engine and prevent skidding as a result of wheel lock.

The Alfa Crosswagon Q4 is due to go on sale in October in Italy and then later in other countries.

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