Diesel engined versions of the Alfa Romeo 147, 156 and 156 Sportwagon, which are selling strongly in European markets, go on sale in the UK from mid-March.
Although UK versions of the 156 and 156 Sportwagon already offer the option of Alfa direct injection common rail turbodiesel technology - via the much vaunted 150 bhp five cylinder 2.4 litre JTD - the availability of the 115 bhp 1.9 JTD engine, in both Alfa 156 and Alfa 147 ranges, marks a significant model range expansion.
While European sales of petrol engined cars in the lower-medium and medium sectors actually fell last year, diesel sales have grown rapidly from around 15 per cent to nearly 25 per cent in the past three years, with a projected rise to 28 per cent for 2003. In Europe, one-in-three cars sold in 2002 was a diesel, a figure expected to rise to 50 per cent of this market by 2007.
In the UK the picture is even more marked. The market here grew by just 4.3 per cent last year. But within this, petrol demand declined by some 3 per cent, while diesel growth amounted to a massive 37.8 per cent.
Alfa Romeo was first to the market with a JTD common rail direct injection diesel engine, when the Alfa 156 was launched in 1997. This crucial lead in diesel technology has not been squandered, and the exceptionally reliable 4-cylinder common rail turbodiesel has been perfected to provide optimal performance, maximum fuel efficiency and minimal CO2 emissions, offering tax-efficient motoring to Alfa Romeo business users and retail buyers alike.
Renowned for its smooth, progressive power delivery, the well-proven 1910cc Unijet turbodiesel develops 115 bhp at 4000 rpm, together with an impressive 202 lb.ft of torque at only 2000 rpm.
Thus equipped, the Alfa 147 1.9 JTD posts a maximum speed of 119 mph and accelerates from 0-62 mph in 9.9 seconds, while returning a frugal 48.7 mpg over the combined cycle, and a CO2 emissions figure of just 155 g/km. The Alfa 156 1.9 JTD accelerates from 0-62 mph in 10.3 seconds, while sharing the Alfa 147’s maximum speed, fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures. The Alfa 156 Sportwagon 1.9 JTD also has a top speed of 119 mph, accelerates from 0-62 mph in 10.7 seconds, and returns 47.1 mpg and 160 g/km CO2.