The all-new Alfa 159, which goes on sale in the UK on Saturday 18 February, has been awarded the prestigious five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP, which puts it ahead of the field for its segment with regard to crash safety performance.
One of the Italian sporting car manufacturer’s aims with the Alfa 159 project was to take the lead in the field of automotive passive safety. An Alfa Romeo engineered all-new premium floorpan, which incorporates high performance materials, multi-ply sheet metal, and laser welding, was the starting point.
The construction of the bodyshell also benefits from numerous measures, such as the use of boxed elements that are connected rigidly both transversely and vertically; three ‘load lines’ in the front, longitudinal beams that run the entire length of the car, built-in deformable structures, and a large number of spot welds around structural nodes.
The result is impressive torsional rigidity of the bodyshell – best in class at over 180,000 daNm/rad. The Alfa 159 also boasts as many as eight airbags, (seven of which will be standard equipment on UK cars), including special bags to protect the knees, and sidebags that extend all along the complete window area. In addition, there are innovative restraint systems (pre-tensioners and load limiters on the seatbelts), and front seats with an anti-whiplash system that automatically brings the head restraint closer to the occupant’s neck in the event of a rear impact.
The Alfa 159 is endowed with impressive roadholding courtesy of a new suspension system, (high double wishbones at the front and Multilinks at the rear). It also boasts extremely precise steering (the most direct available on a production saloon), and a tight turning circle.
This prestigious new sports saloon also features numerous electronic systems that enhance the car’s dynamic behaviour, including a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control system (VDC), Anti Slip Regulation (ASR), Hydraulic Brake Assistance (HBA) which cuts in during emergency braking, ABS anti-lock braking complete with EBD, and a Hill Holder to simplify hill starts.
Taken together, all these features make the Alfa 159 a new benchmark for its segment in terms of safety – one that is now certified by the five-star Euro NCAP rating, which acknowledges that the car has passed the most difficult tests simulating all types of accident (head-on, side-on, overturning, rear impact and fire), taking into account the various speeds at which impact may occur, the different types of obstacles encountered, and the need to protect occupants who may have very different physical characteristics.
The Alfa Romeo 159 was designed and built to embody uncompromising quality, a concept that guided the entire process of the car’s development, starting with the vast number of tests to which it was subjected, right down to the manufacturing process. For the Alfa 159, quality also means class-leading dynamics, obtained by careful calibration of the sophisticated suspension, and the outstanding torsional rigidity of the all-new platform and bodyshell.