Alfa Romeo 166

Alfa Romeo 166

The 166 was a premium executive sedan built by Alfa Romeo between 1998 and 2007 and was roughly the same size as a BMW 5-Series, one of its main rivals.

A replacement for the Alfa Romeo flagship is currently in the works and is due in the next couple of years. Donning the 169 title, or possibly a non-numerical name, as has been Alfa Romeo’s practice of late, the new sedan should pick up the sultry corporate styling seen on the Mito and Giulietta hatchbacks and be aimed directly at the BMW 5-Series, Mercedes-Benz E-Class, and even the Cadillac CTS.

With this new generation, one of the biggest criticisms of the previous 166 will finally be addressed--a lack of a rear-wheel drive platform. This is where Fiat’s partnership with Chrysler comes into play.

The new Alfa Romeo 169 is expected to borrow the rear-wheel drive LX platform from the 2011 Chrysler 300, ensuring a more dynamic and premium-feeling driving experience. The car is also expected to adopt a distinct coupe-like profile, differentiating itself from its Chrysler corporate cousin. This will be particularly important in Europe where a rebadged Chrysler 300 will be sold as a Lancia Thema.

Expect the 169 to also feature its own engines and suspension settings to give it a unique flavor, however. One possibility is that the 450 horsepower 4.7-liter V-8 from the 8C Competizione supercar could be reserved for a high-performance GTA model that could go up against the M5 and E63 AMG. Another possibility is a new twin-turbocharged V-6 with around 400 horsepower on tap.

Production will likely take place at the same Brampton, Ontario plant where the Chrysler 300 and Lancia Thema will be built, which should help keep the price of locally sold versions at a manageable level. It’s expected to start around the $40,000 mark in the U.S. but will compete with the Cadillac CTS and BMW 5-Series in terms of features and performance.

[Auto Motor und Sport]