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Alfa's replacement for the 156 promises to be just as stylish. Image by ItaliaSpeed. Click here for a larger image.   Alfa Romeo UK official website 
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Alfa's replacement for the 156 promises to be just as stylish

How do you replace a strikingly designed iconic car? Ask Alfa Romeo, because the replacement for the 156 is set to be even more beautiful to look at. Here is the closest picture yet to how the Italian BMW basher will look.

Once again the next 156, which is to be badged the 159, will be designed by Guigiaro. Alfa Romeo will launch the 159 at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show and the car will take most of its styling cues from the Visconti concept car.

It is expected that the 159 will grow in size and insiders say there will be a big improvement in overall quality. It is aimed slap-bang at the ultra successful BMW 3-series (the 9th best-selling car in the UK in 2003).

Although the 159 will keep a lot of the 156's features, such as the concealed rear-door handles, it will have a bolder and more aggressive look.

The 159 will be based on Saab's "Premium" platform and will be available with front and all-wheel drive options. This platform is now central to General Motors' various front-wheel drive brands.

The Alfa will feature a new range of all-alloy V6 engines, which Alfa is developing in conjunction with GM. The petrol line-up will include 129 bhp 1.8-litre, 158 bhp 1.9 JTS, 188 bhp 2.2 JTS, 228 bhp 2.8 JTS V6 and 263 bhp 3.2 JTS V6 units.

There will be four turbo-diesel engines: 121 bhp 1.9 JTD, 148 bhp 1.9 JTD, 198 bhp 2.4 JTD and a 248 bhp 3.0 JTD V6.

In 2006 Alfa will introduce a new GTA version of the 159 - its 3.2-litre V6 JTS engine will have a power output of about 400 bhp and torque will be a whopping 500 lb.ft, which should give performance on a par with the next generation BMW M3. It is thought that the GTA will only be available with four-wheel drive.

Wheels24: 2004-05-22

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Photo gallery. Image by ItaliaSpeed. Click here for a larger image.
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