New Alfa Spider And Alfa GTV | Part Three

Alfa Spider

 

Lively Generous Engines

The true heart and soul of every Alfa Romeo model is its engine. The Alfa Spider and Alfa GTV are no exception. The new models' attractive, personality-packed looks conceal a diverse range of outstanding high-tech power units that all offer superlative performance.

First up, the sparky 3.2 V6 24 valve unit delivers a power output of 240 bhp (176 kW) at 6200 rpm and boasts a torque curve of 289 Nm (29.4 kgm) at 4800 rpm for exhilarating performance on a sporty run but also during everyday use. More specifically, a GTV equipped with this engine reaches 255 km/h, a performance that makes this the fastest on-road car in Alfa Romeo's history. The second power unit available for the new models is the 165 bhp (121 kW) 2.0 JTS. This is the first direct injection petrol engine with a specific power rating higher than 60 kW/l (82 bhp/l) and a specific torque greater than 100 Nm/l. The third engine available is the 150 bhp (110 kW) 2.0 T. Spark, a heady blend of Alfa's experience with Twin Spark technology. The performance figures are outstanding: the GTV reaches a top speed of 215 km/h, while the Spider reaches 210 km/h. Both cars take just 8.5 seconds to speed from 0 to 100 km/h. Two manual gearboxes are also available: a six speed unit for the 3.2 V6 24v and a five-speed unit for the 2.0 T.S. and 2.0 JTS versions.
240 bhp (176 kW) 3.2 V6 24 valve
The top-of-the-range power unit for the new sports cars is the scintillating 3.2 V6 24 valve unit already adopted on GTA versions of Alfa 156, Alfa Sportwagon and Alfa 147 models.

Derived from the now classic three litre V6 24 valve unit - also fitted to the Alfa GTV - the mighty 3.2 is a vigorous and mercifully well-rounded power unit. As one expects of a six cylinder engine. The engineers changed the crankshaft and pistons to increase the cylinder capacity to 3.2 litres and lengthened the stroke to 78 millimetres. This change speaks volumes about the type of performance required because the power could simply have been increased by adjusting the timing, fuel system and electronics.

The fact that cylinder capacity has been increased by lengthening the stroke means that the aim was not simply to obtain out-and-out performance coupled with high power and torque peaks but also an even, gradual power delivery from the lowest speeds. As befits a car capable of thrilling performance that is suited for driving on ordinary roads as well as on the track.

The increase in cylinder capacity is naturally accompanied by a whole set of changes. The intake and exhaust ports have been tuned by applying a new timing pattern, the control unit software has been rewritten and the cooling system has been upgraded with the addition of an engine oil radiator.

The result? Power output is 240 bhp (176 kW) at 6200 rpm with a maximum torque of no less than 289 kgm (29.4 kgm) at 4800 rpm. These figures are all it takes to achieve exciting performances and are complemented by a torque curve that permits high values at low speeds. The car can also travel in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm and unleash speed spurts without changing gear. Extremely satisfying behaviour, therefore, even during daily use. The self-confessed goal of the Alfa GTV and Alfa Spider is this: to offer sensations unique to a racing car yet still be perfectly serviceable for everyday use.

165 bhp (121 kW) 2.0 JTS
The 2.0 JTS is a top-performing power unit that owes its name of JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric) to its specific combustion system.

As far as the customer is concerned, this means a two litre car that: already meets tough Euro 4 emission limits; does not need low sulphur petrol but is able to use the normal petrol already on sale in Europe and the United States.

The 2.0 JTS thus represents a true technological leap for Alfa Romeo, its first petrol engine with injectors that work directly inside the combustion chamber. It achieves its end by interpreting the principles of stratified charge and the creation of motion in the mixture inside the cylinder in an entirely original way.

150 bhp (110 kW) 2.0 Twin Spark
This highly reliable power unit has already won success on other Alfa models. The 2.0 T. Spark 16 valve is an optimum blend of Alfa Romeo's experience with Twin Spark technology. The power unit, equipped with twin spark ignition, variable valve timing and an electronic control system, offers a variable geometry intake system made out of plastic (nylon reinforced by fibreglass). The device assures the best possible cylinder air filling at all rpm levels to ensure the best possible engine response around town and on the motorway due to increased torque and power levels: torque is 181 Nm (18.5 kgm) at 3600 rpm while bhp amounts to 150 (110 kW). The Alfa GTV equipped with this power unit reaches a top speed of 215 km/h, while the Spider reaches 210 km/h. Both cars take just 8.5 seconds to speed from 0 to 100 km/h. The numerous strengths of the 2.0 T. Spark 16v include its variable geometry intake system. This device is managed electronically by the injection system on the basis of engine service conditions and uses different sized ducts in different situations: longer at low rpms (560 mm) and shorter at higher rpms (380 mm). The intake module is also in nylon reinforced with fibreglass instead of aluminium. The device thus offers improved overall engine layout to simplify maintenance and service operations. It reduces the weight of the power unit and injection system by 4 per cent (6 kg) and offers the best guarantee of quality and reliability in terms of engine component assembly and electrical contact efficiency. It also reduces performance loss due to more effective intake duct control. For motorists, this means being able to exploit the engine's full potential around town, where the power unit's scintillating response is striking, and also on motorway trips that give the car a chance to show off its great power. The ratios of the gearbox fitted to the smooth, even 2.0 T. Spark 16V have been designed to assure peak performance without penalising fuel consumption. This makes the cars more respectful of the environment while cutting running costs.
continues... | Part Four
Published 16 April 2003 Melanie Carter

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