Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Details On U.S.-Bound Alfa Romeo 169



The Alfa Romeo 166 was a premium executive sedan built by the Italian automaker between 1998 and 2007 and was roughly about the same size as a BMW 5-Series, one of its main rivals.

A replacement for the Alfa Romeo flagship is currently in the works and is due in late 2011. Donning the 169 title, the new sedan will pick up the sultry corporate styling seen on the new Mito hatchback and upcoming Milano and will be aimed directly at the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and even the Cadillac CTS.

With the latest generation, one of the biggest criticisms of the previous 166 will finally be addressed--a lack of a rear-wheel drive platform. This is where Fiat’s new partnership with Chrysler comes into play.

The new 169 is expected to borrow the rear-wheel drive platform destined for the 2011 Chrysler 300, ensuring a more dynamic and premium-feeling driving experience. Expect the 169 to feature its own engines and suspension settings to give it a unique flavor, however. One possibility is that the 450 horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 from the 8C Competizione supercar could be reserved for a high-performance GTA model that could go up against the M5 and E63 AMG.

This ties in with reports that Fiat will build two new sedans off the next-generation Chrysler 300 platform at a former Bertone plant in Italy--the second model being another premium sedan to replace the Lancia Thesis.

The story doesn’t end there as there are reports that production of the 169 could even start up in North America to keep the price of local versions down. It’s expected to start around the $40,000 mark in the U.S., and should target a position roughly equivalent to the Cadillac CTS and BMW 5-Series in terms of features and output.

source: motorauthority