The move marks a milestone in Alfa's history: never before has a diesel Alfa Romeo been sold in the UK, although diesel-powered cars have been available on the continent for some years. The five-cylinder 2.4-litre engine is a brand new unit that also powers the executive 166, though not in versions destined for the UK market when it goes on sale in early 1999 - at least for the time being.
The engine develops 136bhp and a 224lb-ft of torque at just 2,000rpm, sufficient for a top speed of 126mph and 0-62mph acceleration in 9.5secs. Fuel consumption is quoted as 42.2mpg on the combined cycle. Alfa expects to sell several hundred JTDs next year out of total volume of some 8,500 156s. There are no plans to market the 1.9 JTD with its 105bhp four-cylinder diesel engine.