Info from AutoExpress on 168/Visconti
The Full 'Conti From Alfa
Here's the Alfa Romeo executive car buyers have been waiting for - and which bosses at both BMW and Mercedes have been dreading.
Penned by legendary styling house Giugiaro, the Visconti shows what the replacement for the flagship 166 will look like. The car features the current Alfa family nose, but it's clear from our official pictures that the rest of the design is based on the Kubang SUV concept, created by the Italian stylist for Alfa's sister firm Maserati last year.
The Visconti will make its debut at next week's Geneva Motor Show, and although it's a four-door saloon, it looks more like a sporty coupé with its low, sloping roof, squat stance and short rear overhang. But while it's more than a match for a BMW 7-Series or Mercedes S-Class in the looks department, it's what lies under the metal that will have German rivals really worried. Unlike the 166, shunned by some exec car buyers for being front-wheel drive, the Visconti uses the new 4x4 chassis that also underpins the 156 Crosswagon.
However, the concept differs from the soft-roader in that most of the power from the 408bhp 3.2-litre bi-turbo V6 engine is fed to the back wheels for a purer driving experience. Handling is further enhanced by the use of an innovative four-wheel-steering system.
Another feature of the all-new platform is that it can be used with both longitudinally and transversally mounted engines. Due to this versatility, the replacement for the 166 - which is expected to be called the 168 - should be available with a wide range of units. That's because Alfa will be free to use virtually any engine from the GM group.