Thursday 6th February 2003
166 Gets A Nose For Success
Exclusive images in the current issue of Auto Express magazine show Alfa has redesigned its slow-selling 166 flagship.
Big Alfas haven't enjoyed the same success as German rivals from the likes of BMW and Mercedes, but the 166 has also had to overcome its challenging styling. The front end, with its tiny V-shaped grille, has never been a big hit, so it's not surprising that the main change is to the nose, with a new family look borrowed from the smaller 147.
Every panel ahead of the windscreen is new to give the car a more attractive appearance without losing the distinctive style Alfa aficionados expect. A taller, wider grille gives a more balanced look, while larger headlamps take the place of the old model's droopy-eyed expression. At the rear, only a reshaped bump- er marks out the revised car. Production versions will also feature a whole new set of alloy wheel designs.
It's not only the styling that's been revamped. Increased competition has also forced Alfa to take a look at the engine line-up. Entry-level cars will now be powered by the new 2.0-litre JTS, which replaces the current 2.0 twin-spark and has far cleaner emissions
A tax-efficient 175bhp 2.4-litre JTD diesel will also be introduced to appeal to fleet buyers. Finally, flagship editions will now use the 220bhp 3.2-litre petrol V6 from the 156 GTA. Only the 2.5-litre V6 will remain unaltered. The revised engine range will also force a change to the gearboxes on offer. While entry-level cars will continue to use a five-speed manual, the bigger diesel and petrol variants will offer the semi-automatic Selespeed option for the first time.
The new model will be officially unveiled at the Geneva show next month, and will go on sale here from December. Prices are likely to be close to those of the current car, which starts at £20,570.