01.11.2005 The new Alfa 159-based Sportwagon will offer the same accustomed style but more load volume and more practicality, than the namesake it replaces

In the lead up to its international launch, further details of the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon are given away by this batch of photographs. The photographer stumbled across the prototype during the 20th anniversary of the Alfa Romeo 75, which was recently held at the historic Alfa Romeo Arese compound. The car in the spy photos is heavily covered up at the rear end - where the changes occur - however, the twin tail pipes signify that it could be either a 2.2 JTS, a 2.4 JTDM, or even a 3.2 JTS V6 model. It is finished in Argento Alfa, a colour that was popular on the Alfa Romeo 156 model, and has ‘tono su tono beige’ natural leather upholstery.

Outwardly the estate is a logical conversion of the Alfa 159 berlina, and continues the appreciated elegant shape of the previous Alfa 156 Sportwagon while offering additional space and greater practicality. For example, the boot space will be increased by about 7% and the bigger interior volumes (as seen already on the Alfa 159 berlina) will make the Sportwagon a far more usable family estate. Another interesting feature is the rear windscreen wiper which has been mirrored vertically to the left in order to aide rear-view visibility for left hand drive cars.

Although appearing to wear multi-spoke alloy wheels, the prototype is actually fitted with the standard 16” x 7 steel wheels with hubcaps, and 215/55 tyres. Yet, this Alfa 159 Sportwagon still exudes a classy look – a perfect addition to Alfa Romeo’s fabulous bloodline of lifestyle estates. The combination of hubcaps and the twin tale pipes indicate that the prototype is kitted out with the 'Medium' specification package.

Standard items on the Medium specification Alfa 159 include monozone manual air conditioning, fog lights, leather finished gearlever and steering wheel, a tyre kit, and CD Radio. Naturally, several additional options can be combined with the Medium specification. The High package can also be opted for, which offers in addition to the Medium package dual-zone air-conditioning and Visibility Pack 2 (rain sensor, defrosting sensor, odour sensor, electro chromatic interior mirror). As on the Alfa 156 Sportwagon roof racks will remain optional, but will be available with either black or aluminium finish. Unlike on the 159 berlina, the Alfa 159 Sportwagon will be offered with a panoramic glass roof (described by Alfa Romeo as a ‘Big Sunroof’). The Sportwagon will also be offered with an optional Utility Pack, consisting of a cover carpet, net separation between interior and boot, luggage net, side net and side net on the tunnel (adjacent to the passenger seat).

When the new Alfa 159 Sportwagon finally hits the showrooms, only 6-speed manual transmissions will most likely be initially available, with the 6-speed automatic options commencing in 2006 for the 2.4 JTDM, and later in the summer for most other models (excluding the 1.9 JTD 8v, which goes on sale slightly earlier).

Caught on camera at Arese the new Alfa Romeo Sportwagon prototype spotted here is  fitted  with  the  Medium  package

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Photos: www.hellfire.it / 2005 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed