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The New Alfa Romeo 159 Ti - (Australia)
July 15th, 2008
Following the success of the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti limited edition launched last August and sold out within weeks, Alfa Romeo has brought back the 159 Ti for 2008 and this time it has brought with it all the family, the 159 Ti versions now available in the 159 Sportwagon, as well as the sedan and with the additional choice of the acclaimed 2.4 litre Turbo Diesel engine complimenting the 2.2 litre JTS and 3.2 litre JTS V6 engines.
“When the 159 Ti joined the range last year, we thought that it would prove popular with its combination of performance enhancing features and visual enrichment,” says Edward Butler, General Manager for Alfa Romeo in Australia. “But we were sold out in a matter of weeks and it has taken us nearly 12 months to organize a second Ti programme for the 159. Given the success of the first generation 159 Ti, we have added the Sportwagon to the programme and with Turbo Diesel engines now account for more than half of 159 sales in Australia, the 2.4 JTD Turbo Diesel in Ti form was a must.”
For more than 50 years the most sort-after Alfa Romeo models have been those that have worn the ‘Ti’ badge which indicates an Alfa Romeo with an even more sharply defined sporting edge and with the arrival of the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti the Italian car maker is offering a Ti variant with more features and equipment than ever before.
First seen in 1950, the Ti badge, which stands for Tourism International, has been used to denote an Alfa Romeo version that has been equipped to meet the needs and desires of driving enthusiasts to produce a car that offers more driving excitement and a more sports-orientated image, but also at a value for money price.
“The Alfa Romeo 159 Ti has a long heritage to live up to and that’s why the changes and additional equipment have to take the 159 to a new level,” says Edward Butler. “This means that there is a wealth of new equipment and some significant changes under the skin that will enable the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti to provide an even more exciting and involving driving experience for the lucky few who will own this limited edition model.”
The most significant under the skin change is the fitment of sports suspension that lowers the 159 by 20 mm and which provides the 159 with a sharper turn-in response from the steering and less body roll, but without the harsh ride that afflicts some sports suspension systems. This more able chassis is further enhanced by the standard fitment of 19 inch alloy wheels with 235/40 x 19 low profile tyres to provide additional roadholding performance. So that 159 Ti stops as well as it goes, Brembo brakes are standard and they are painted in Alfa Romeo red to highlight their presence and performance.
To further enhance the hunkered down stance of the 159 Ti provided by the sports suspension, the new model is fitted with subtle yet effective body kit, with burnished aluminium finish door mirrors completing the exterior transformation into a 159 Ti.
The inside of the 159 is transformed by the Ti package into a driver focused cockpit of black leather and dark finish materials highlighted by red stitching for the leather and red highlights for the instruments. The sports seats, which are electrically operated and heated, are upholstered in hand-crafted soft Italian leather with the legendary Alfa Romeo logo stitched in red on both the front and rear seats. The same leather and red stitching is used on the steering wheel and the six speed manual gearbox’s gear lever.
The dashboard is trimmed in a unique burnished aluminum that has been darkened so as to show off the red-ringed instruments that are unique to the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti. Aluminium is further used for the drilled sports pedals – an essential icon of Italian sports cars – and the unique Alfa Romeo 159 Ti door sill trim strips which, like the exterior, carry the classic Ti insignia. For technical aficionados, the 159 Ti also offers the Bluetooth mobile phone connection with finger tip controls on the steering wheel and a USB connection point in the glovebox for MP3 music players.
The Alfa Romeo 159 Ti is available with a choice of two engines and three different gearboxes. Fitted with the 2.2 litre 136 kW JTS engine and mated to a six speed manual gearbox, the 159 Ti has a top speed of 222 kmh and dispatches the run from zero to 100 kmh in 8.8 seconds, yet on the open road is capable of achieving 7.3 litres per 100 kmh. With the six speed Selespeed gearbox, the 159 Ti 2.2 JTS offers the same top speed and acceleration, yet, thanks to the fuel saving abilities of the gearbox, uses less fuel and cuts C0² emissions. It is priced at $54,990 in manual form, while the Selespeed has a recommended retail price of $56,990.
For the first time in Australia, the Ti package is also available with the most powerful Turbo Diesel available in an Alfa Romeo, the 2.4 litre 147 kW JTD power unit. On one hand this unique engine thrusts the 159 Ti to 100 kmh in 8.4 seconds for both the manual and automatic variants and on to a maximum speed of 228 kmh (224 for the auto) yet on the other hand the manual has an open road fuel figure of 5.4 litres/100 km and a combined figure of 6.8 l/100 km. This remarkable combination of performance and economy is priced in Ti form at a recommend retail price of $58,990 for the manual and $61,990 for the Q-Tronic automatic version.
Topping the Ti range is the 159 Ti with the 3.2 litre JTS V6 that produces 191 kW and 322 Nm of torque that is delivered to the road via a six speed manual gearbox and the Q4 constant four wheel drive system. This provides the top 159 Ti with a top speed of 240 km and, thanks to the four wheel drive system and advanced electronics, a wheelspin free dash to 100 kmh in 7.0 seconds. Yet, thanks to that advanced engine, it is still capable of 8.4 litres per 100 kmh on the open road.
As an alternative to the six speed manual the Q-Tronic six speed automatic gearbox not only offers Tiptronic-style gear shifting using the gear stick, but is also equipped with steering wheel mounted paddles for finger tipped gear changing. The efficiency of this gearbox is demonstrated by its identical top speed to the manual version and, at 7.2 seconds, an only fractionally show 0-100 time, while open road fuel consumption remains a very creditable 8.6 litres/100 km. The recommended retail price for the six speed manual 159 Ti 3.2 V6 is $76,990 and the Q-Tronic variant is $79,990.
In another first for the Australian market, the Ti package is allied to the versatile Sportwagon, with the 159 Sportwagon Ti now available with the same triple engine choice as the sedan in a body that is every bit as stylish as its sedan counterpart.
“The arrival of the Ti versions of the 159 Sportwagon show a distinctive shift in the Australian market,” says Mr Butler. “The arrival of 156 Sportwagon in Australia demonstrated that Australians were ready to abandon their preconceptions of wagons as basic load luggers with no pretensions to style and performance. With the 159 Sportwagon the market for the style of a European sporting wagon had grown to a point where we could offer a full engine choice to match the sedan. Now, with the arrival of the Ti version of the Sportwagon we are responding to the growing demand for a performance wagon that gives absolutely nothing away in terms of performance, handling, roadholding and style to its sedan counterpart.”
The 159 Sportwagon offers 445 litres of loadspace below the retractable luggage cover. The 60:40 split/folding rear seat features an integral armrest and ski hatch, and allows for the rapid expansion of the luggage compartment into a robust, practical, flat-floored load platform offering 850 litres of stowage below the window line, and an impressive 1235 litres overall.
The Alfa Romeo 159 Ti Sportwagon range opens with the 2.2 litre JTS with an RRP of $57,990 for the manual and $59,990 for the Selespeed. With the power and economy of the 2.4 Litre JTD Turbo Diesel, the 159 Ti Sportwagon is available with an RRP of $61,240 in manual form and $64,240 with the Q-Tronic automatic gearbox. Topping the range is the 3.2 Litre V6 powered 159 Ti Sportwagon at $79,990 in manual form and the Q-Tronic is priced with an RRP of $82,990.
“If the package of equipment that combines to produce the Ti was available separately, it would add approximately $10,000 to the cost of the 159,” says Edward Butler. “But the price difference is just $2000 for the V6 version and $5,000 for 2.2 JTS and 2.4 JTD equipped 159 Ti, making providing the latest limited edition Alfa Romeo to carry the Ti badge also the best-ever value for money.”