The Alfa Romeo 159, the first of a new family that will replace the 156, makes its debut at the Geneva Motor Show.

The new Alfa Romeo 159 will go on sale in the Summer. The new model is roomier than the 156, and more comfortable – it is 4,660 mm long, 1,828 mm wide and 1,417 mm high, with a wheelbase of 2,700 millimetres.

The range includes three specification levels, each featuring specific ‘natural’ interior upholstery, and will be available with as many as eight airbags (including special bags to protect the knees and sidebags that extend all along the windows area).

A comprehensive range of engines will be offered, including three new JTS engines with continuous dual variable valve timing (inlet and exhaust): the 260 bhp 3.2 V6 24v, the 185 bhp 2.2 and the 160bhp 1.9. All the engines meet Euro 4 standards. Diesel engines include the 200 bhp 2.4 JTDM 5-cylinder 20v engine and two 1.9 JTDM units with 120 bhp and 150 bhp. The range includes new gearboxes, all with six speeds and featuring short strokes, precise engagement and limited loads. Automatic transmissions and a robotised Selespeed gearbox will also be available, all with six speeds.

The new Alfa Romeo 159 offers the evolved permanent 4-wheel drive system with three differentials (a Torsen C self-locking central differential). The heart of this project is the ‘Alfa Romeo Q4 four-wheel drive’ system which splits torque constantly and dynamically between the four wheels. In typical driving, the Torsen C self-locking central differential sends around 57% of the engine’s power to the rear wheels and 43% to the front.

Standard equipment should include cruise control, rain, dusk and parking sensors (front and rear), satellite navigation, voice controls, built-in GSM hands-free telephone, automatic climate control with dual or tri-zone distribution and temperature, a radio-CD player (including MP3 files) and 10-disc CD-Changer, BOSE Hi-Fi Sound System, seats with electrical adjustment, folding rear seats and push-button ignition on the console.

Two 159s will be on display on the stand: the first is a Q4 version, equipped with the new 260bhp 3.2 V6 JTS 24-valve engine and with Ruby Red bodywork. The second saloon is equipped with the 200 bhp 2.4 JTDM engine and sports a ‘silver’ livery that distinguishes the new generation of Alfa Romeo cars.

A Q4 version of the Alfa Romeo Brera can be found elsewhere on the stand, with a 3.2 V6 JTS 24-valve engine that develops 260 bhp at 6200 rpm, and peak torque of 322 Nm at 4500 rpm.

The new Alfa Romeo 156 Sport will also be on display, featuring new spoked 17″ alloys, a lower stance, body kit and specific logo. Inside new features include the Hi-Fi system with CD player, and leather covered steering wheel, which also houses the radio controls.

The revised Alfa Romeo 147 makes an appearance, too, with numerous changes to the engineering and the equipment, such as the 150 bhp 1.9 JTD 16v M-Jet engine, new Easy Speed robotised gearbox, new Comfort suspension and safety devices from VDC to ASR, ABS complete with EBD and curtain-bags.

Alfa Romeo will also display the Crosswagon Q4, the new model that marks Alfa Romeo’s return to the world of four-wheel drives. It fits the Q4 permanent 4-wheel drive, with three differentials and a torque splitter that favours the rear axle. The Q4 system modifies the torque split between the front and rear axles constantly, according to the grip. The Alfa Romeo Crosswagon Q4 is equipped with the 150 bhp 1.9 JTD 16v Multijet engine and it debuts at the Show in a special outfit: a new body colour, ‘Monte Carlo Blue’ and an original blue fine grain leather upholstery for the facia, panels and seats.