This week Lancia has been showing off its new range topping Delta model, the "Hard Black", on the occasion of the Venice film festival where one example has been signed by visitors to the Lancia cafe; although, judging from the photos, Lancia still has someway yet to go to perfect the "matte" paint finish treatment.

Fiat’s new MultiAir technology has been rolled out into its first Lancia application, in the form of the Delta 1.4 MultiAir 140 CV. This marks a significant improvement across all key areas compared to the TurboJet engine version it replaces, offering buyers improved torque, CO2 emissions and fuel economy, as well as the incorporation of the Start&Stop system and an upgrade to Euro 5 compliance.

The C-segment Delta therefore now receives the key engine change that was made to its platform sister, the Fiat Bravo, at the end of June. The Delta and Bravo, as well as Alfa Romeo’s new Giulietta, are all assembled on the same production line at Fiat’s Cassino factory in Italy.

MultiAir is the new jewel in the engineering crown for the Fiat Group, and already features in a range of key selling models such as Fiat’s Punto EVO and Bravo, Alfa Romeo’s MiTo and new Giulietta, as well as Abarth’s own high-performance interpretation of the 500 and Punto EVO. The technology, through an innovative electro-hydraulic operation of the valves, offers fuel savings of around 10 per cent, a torque increase of 15 per cent, and power increase of 10 per cent, as well as a 10 per cent reduction in CO2 emissions. Notably, MultiAir also makes its showroom debut this month fitted to the 500’s new TwinAir engine – a brand-new 900cc 2-cylinder petrol unit.

In its new Delta application, the 1.4 MultiAir engine replaces the current 150CV 1.4 TurboJet, and as with the recently-introduced Bravo version, there are significant all-round improvements: maximum power declines slightly from 150CV to 140CV, but peak torque is now ‘best in class’, coming in at 230Nm at 1750rpm, compared to 206Nm at 2250rpm for the outgoing T-Jet – an increase of 24Nm delivered 500rpm lower in the rev range, indicating noticeably greater flexibility.

Average combined-cycle fuel consumption is cut drastically, from 7.0l/100km to 5.7l/100km. In addition, this unit is also hooked up as standard to Bosch’s Start&Stop technology and FPT’s new six-speed C635 manual gearbox – the latter development also foreshadowing the imminent arrival of a dual-dry-clutch option. The 1.4 MultiAir Turbo engine is one of the most efficient powerplants in the world, and in terms of emissions, it too is ‘best in class’, emitting just 132g/km of CO2, compared to 165g/km for the 150CV TurboJet.

Prices for the Delta 1.4 MultiAir 140CV Start&Stop Euro 5 have not yet been announced for the Italian market, but it is now available for ordering in Spain at a cost of 26,890 euros in ‘Platino’ level trim. By comparison, other similar-specification models in Spain include the Delta Platino 1.8 TurboJet 200CV Sportronic (32,890 euros), Delta Platino 1.6 MultiJet DPF 120 CV (27,890 euros), Delta Platino 1.6 MultiJet DPF 120 CV Selectronic (28,990 euros) and Delta Platino 2.0 MultiJet 165 CV (29,490 euros). 

Finally, coinciding with the arrival of the MultiAir option, to address Europe-wide legislation, the base 120 CV TurboJet petrol engine has also been upgraded to Euro 5 specification, which results in a decrease in emissions from 149 to 146g/km of CO2.

© 2010 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed