Fleet News

Super-saloon ruled out by Fiat Auto

CALLS for a 'super performance' luxury car to compete with the likes of the BMW 7-series, Mercedes S-class and Audi A8 have been brushed aside by Fiat Auto chief executive Roberto Testore. He argued that a super luxury saloon with more power than the top-specification 226bhp 3.0-litre V6 would be out of keeping with Alfa's image despite the introduction of super-saloons from its chief rivals including BMW (M5), Mercedes (AMG E55), Audi (S8 and forthcoming S6) and Volvo (twin-turbo S80).

'The 166 is as big as Alfa will get. Alfa's reputation is not built on large-engined cars but on finely balanced high powered models with relatively small engines. I see no reason to change that strategy, said Testore.' However, later he didn't rule out the possibility that a V8 engine, probably shared with forthcoming Maserati models, and four-wheel drive would figure in Fiat Auto models, including those from Alfa Romeo.

As it is, the 166, which goes on sale in the UK in January, will compete with the likes of the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-class, Audi A6 and the forthcoming new Jaguar S-type. Engine choice for the UK comprises 2.0-litre Twin Spark 155bhp, 2.5-litre 193bhp V6 and 3.0-litre 226bhp V6 engines, the latter with a six-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox with Tiptronic-style shifter.

Prices for the 166 have yet to be finalised, but they are expected to be competitive with BMW, Audi and, to a lesser extent, Mercedes, although the emphasis will be on value for money, suggesting a keener entry point to the 166 than for the 5-series or A6.

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