Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

From Alfa Romeo press: Italian styling, the performance and handling of a thoroughbred sports car, and the flexible, versatile use of space of a prestigious station wagon. These are, very briefly, the salient features of the Alfa 159 Sportwagon, the new car that will be on the market in Italy in March, followed by the other European markets.

It would be limiting to talk about the 'station wagon version' of the Alfa 159 because the car has a personality of its own and strong features that are summed up successfully in the definition 'Sportwagon'. The new model combines the flowing line of a long roof that recalls the styling of certain coupes, like the spoiler on the roof and the very aerodynamic lines. But at the same time, the car's interior space guarantees a generous, practical loading volume. In other words, the Alfa 159 Sportwagon provides the performance and dynamic behaviour you would expect from a sports car, and a luggage compartment with the dimensions of a prestigious station wagon, but also the versatility necessary for today's lifestyle.

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in collaboration with the Alfa Romeo Style Centre, the 159 Sportwagon is as compact as the saloon - the total length is exactly the same (4,660 millimetres) - with a fluid line that runs without hesitation from nose to tail, focusing on a 'groove' which makes the entire car light and sleek, with a refined play of light and shade (it is 1,828 mm wide and 1,425 high, with a wheelbase of 2,700 millimetres).

The result is a sporty car on which the eye does not notice the 'extra volume' typical of a station wagon: this is the real strong point of the new model, which becomes all the more captivating where most station wagons reveal their main limitations. The Alfa 159 Sportwagon combines this winning feature with a luggage compartment that is a 'designed space' which meets a variety of requirements, whether it is used for leisure time or for business. And it never compromises where sportiness and performance are concerned. An example? The version equipped with the powerful 3.2 V6 Q4 24 valve engine, which delivers a maximum power output of 260 bhp (191 kW) at 6200 rpm and torque of 322 Nm (32.8 kgm) at 4500 rpm. The resulting performance is amazing: the 159 Sportwagon 3.2 V6 accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 7.2 seconds and reaches a top speed of 237 km/h.

The luggage compartment is more accessible than you would expect on a station wagon (both from the passenger compartment and from the back, thanks to the forward hinged tailgate) and the loading volume is excellent (445 litres), the result of a series of changes to the bodywork and a rational use of space.

The rear end speaks the same language as the rest of the car, blending styling details typical of Alfa and characteristic features of the saloon, with elements peculiar to the Sportwagon. A number of appropriate stylistic solutions such as the compact passenger compartment ensure that the new model maintains Alfa Romeo's classical sportiness. The front is unchanged, dominated by the same distinctive features as the saloon, with the harmonious balance that produces the elegance and assertiveness you expect from an Alfa Romeo.

Gallery: Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon