The last year has been one of the most important in the 96-year history of the Alfa Romeo brand, with a swage of exciting new models rolling off the production lines. This period has equally proven to be one of the most important for Autodelta as they respond to the new and exciting challenges thrown down. Namely, these challenges have involved taking the four new Alfa Romeo models – the Alfa 159, 159 Sportwagon, Brera and Spider – and improving their all-round performance edge and chassis dynamics, as well as clothing them in new styling, all in a manner that accurately conveys and builds up Autodelta’s core principles and heritage.

Autodelta have faced a huge undertaking as they have sought to develop, from scratch, what are effectively packages based on a completely new architecture and engines. Long established engineering thinking has been shaken up. “We have been working with the Arese-built V6 all our lives,” says Autodelta’s founder and owner, Jano Djelalian.  “Now, we have a new V6 engine with a whole new set of characteristics and inherent values, along with the new ‘Premium’ floorpan, the new Torsen C-System four-wheel-drive arrangement, new gearboxes, electronics, brakes and just about anything else you care to mention.  There is no component carryover to this new generation of cars.”

An exciting new era has well and truly arrived, one which is full of potential and new possibilities – and it is one that Autodelta have been very eager to swiftly embrace. “The worst part was waiting to get our hands on these new cars,” says Jano. “There was much talk about them in the run up to the Geneva Motor Show last year. However, we were able to get hold of development versions of the new V6 engine very early on and take delivery of the production Alfa 159 and Brera at the beginning of this year.” Recently Autodelta officially appointed Knutsford-based authorised Alfa Romeo dealership Mangoletsi, to supply new vehicles for research and development.

The Alfa 159, 159 Sportwagon, Brera and Spider are all based on the same all-new architecture – dubbed the ‘Premium’ platform – meaning that Autodelta’s intensive development programmes can in most cases be applied to each model across the range with individual modifications where required. In their development, Autodelta’s engineers have particularly focused on two models: the Alfa 159 and Brera, the former fitted with the 2.2 JTS engine, the latter with the new 3.2 V6, a car that has evolved into the Brera J5 3.2 C which is announced today. “Mechanically, we are working on two Premium–based development strategies, focusing around several steps in power output for the 2.2 and 3.2 V6 engines,” adds Jano.

“Putting the Autodelta stamp on these new cars is the biggest challenge to ever face our company.  Starting from a blank sheet of paper is exciting and we relish the new challenge,” says Jano. “In light of our recent company restructuring, we have split the workload, with our new Italian centre of operations managing the implementation of the styling proposals in conjunction with our designers, who have created a new look.”

One of the first stages of the development process was to fully understand the new models inside out.  “Basically we push the cars to the dynamic edge in every area: engine, brakes, transmission, and so on, so we can see where Alfa Romeo has set their own limits,” says Jano. Once this is established, Autodelta’s engineers can study the parameters and then push the dynamic envelope forward, responding to the requirements of their customers – who demand nothing less than ultimate performance.

The first step was to test the standard Brera on the track, and the Silverstone circuit, home of the British Grand Prix, was the chosen venue. “Silverstone offers excellent characteristics to test a new car – it is fast, very demanding and technical,” says Jano. With their data-logging equipment hooked up, Autodelta’s team can measure many variables, and with the laps being against the clock, different scenarios can be undertaken with direct feedback. “We learnt a lot from this testing,” adds Jano. “The Premium platform is very well-developed and responsive, and we are confident we will be able to improve its all-round performance characteristics in the way that Alfisti will expect.”

While at Silverstone, Autodelta also ran the Brera on the rolling road, with a firm whose machines are used to measure the detailed performance of the cars used by the many motor racing companies that cluster around the Northamptonshire race track.


“Putting the Autodelta stamp on these new cars is the biggest challenge to ever face our company.  Starting from a blank sheet of paper is exciting and we relish the new challenge,” says Jano Djelalian.


Autodelta faced a major undertaking this year as their engineering and development team sought to create the new Autodelta Brera J5 3.2 C which is based on completely new Alfa Romeo architecture and engines.


Autodelta ran the Brera on a rolling road, with a firm whose machines are used to measure the detailed performance of the cars used by the many motor racing companies that cluster around the Northamptonshire race track.

“We need an exact benchmark of ‘showroom’ performance that we can work from, so measuring the power, torque, and braking capability of the car is important. We are also evaluating new tyres from our project development partner Dunlop and new wheels from another technical partner OZ Racing for our bespoke model range. Along with the track time on the circuit, we have therefore been able to work on a detailed programme using differing grades of tyres and wheels.

“There has certainly been a lot of concern – and apprehension – with regard to the new Alfa V6 engine,” comments Jano.  “Alfisti know and certainly love the long-running ‘Arese’ V6, one of the finest mass-production engines to have been built, and everybody instinctively tends to be wary of change. However, the new European Union (EU) regulations regarding emissions and the changing demands of the market meant that an all-new unit was required to take the brand forward.

Autodelta’s head of Research & Development, Sergio Truzzi, has an unrivalled track record. He gained 33 years of experience in the Alfa Romeo engine development and prototyping department working under both Satta and Busso, where amongst other things he was the inventor of an Alfa Romeo patent concerning combustion control and emission reduction on the 1980s platforms. Born in 1947, and a graduate of the Milan polytechnic, Truzzi worked for two years as a technical consultant to Ferrari and Maserati before taking up the role at Autodelta.

Truzzi is an engineer whose advice can be relied on, and he sees a distinct upside in the new Alfa V6 unit. “The introduction of the new engine with its four camshaft variators which have continuous control, offers optimum performance in conjunctions with superb driving and well being,” says Truzzi. “The direct injection system with these new cutting-edge features returns significantly improved fuel economy and emissions that make the new V6 a step forward both in terms of technological strides and environmental protection.”

Truzzi adds, “Our initial bench-testing of the new Alfa Romeo V6 unit showed that the manufacturer-quoted horsepower figures at the flywheel (260bhp) were very accurate, but in a road-use scenario the car doesn’t feel as if it hasn’t quite the power one would expect. The rolling road tests showed that the V6 engine (in the Brera) is draining 35 percent of that power through the new Torsen C-System four-wheel-drive arrangement. There is little we can do to channel any of this into extra power at the road wheels, and it is something we have to take into account and work around. With an extra 80-100bhp, channelled through all four wheels, we can turn the 3.2 Brera into a very potent sportscar. The new engine certainly has the ability to deliver, and the benchmark chassis has been designed to be able to push performance significantly forward.”

Autodelta will unveil their first bespoke model of the new breed of Alfa Romeo cars, the Autodelta J5 3.2 C, at the Hotel Metropole in Monte-Carlo at 10.00 am on 20th September.

official website: www.autodelta.co.uk

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