10th August 2001:

new models: Lancia Thesis

Lancia Thesis high resolution images
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery

Lancia Thesis
Continuing the relaunch of the Lancia brand and taking up position at the pinnacle of the Fiat Groups automotive portfolio, the new Thesis (internally, Project 841) was officially released at the Geneva Motorshow at the beginning of March 2001. The interior was first seen at the Frankfurt show later that year, and sales are expected to start in early 2002. 

A large (4888mm long) four door luxury saloon, it is aimed to emphasise the brand as the luxury arm of the Fiat Group, a move already started with the Lybra. As such it features a substantial 'high-tech' content, a trend shown in the Nea concept car. This is based around the CONNECT system and a 7 inch TFT colour dispay in the dashboard and includes voice recognition, hands-free phone, a navigation system, a stereo, an optional TV and access to the contact centre. Other 'high-tech' systems include an optional radar cruise control, an optional sunroof with solar cells (which power the aircon fan when the vehicle is parked in the sun), a multizone climate control system which on some models has a separate zone for the rear passengers, front and rear parking sensor, a rain sensor, an automatic windscreen wiper system, automatic headlamps, LED tail-lights (with 30 LEDs per unit), optional variable power steering, bi-xenon headlights (with an automatic ride corrector which functions with both static and dynamic pitch changes) and more. 

To emphasise the comfort factor there is also power assistance when opening the doors, the seat and steering wheel move back and up to aid entrance when the door is opened, and the entire process of opening and starting the car is keyless, using a transponder in the drivers pocket. Some interior details can be seen here. An automatic handbrake (EPB or Electronic Parking Brake) is applied whenever the car is stopped and also features a button on the centre console for manual operation. 

As with all modern cars, passive safety is an area emphasised in the press release, the Thesis featuring eight airbags, comprising two multistage front bags, four sidebags and two window-bags, seatbelts with pre-tensioners, adjustable headrests, ISOFIX attachment points, a fire protection system and a carefully designed structure including crumple zones and reinforced doors. 
Active safety includes an ESP (Electronic Stability program) which monitors various parameters to determine the yaw and corrects any excessive motion by braking individual wheels or reducing engine power. Traction control (ASR) reacts to both wheels spinning or just one wheel spinning (in the latter case the result is similar to a limited-slip differential), ABS and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) which controls the amount of braking to the rear wheels all reduce the possibility of the driver losing control of the car. 

Lancia ThesisThe suspension utilises multilink layouts both front and rear. The front suspension is a development of the traditional double-wishbone layout, using five links to control the movement of the wheel, whilst at the rear various arms in aluminium, steel and cast iron also provides a small level of passive rear wheel steering. The damping features a semi-active system known as 'Skyhook' which significantly improves the ride quality. Developed by Mannesmann-Sachs it uses numerous sensors to monitor the relative motion between the wheels and the body then controlling the level of damping provided by each individual damper. 

The design follows closely that of the Dialogos Concept car, and even moreso the example presented to the Pope. It is currently available as a four door saloon, a five door station wagon is expected to be released later. The official press release describes it as "hallmarked - in terms of styling - by exciting elegance going far beyond rational utility to leave space for the imagination, the Lancia Thesis matches retro sensations - such as the high front, the long bonnet and the profile resembling an upside-down wedge - with an entirely new stylistic language." It replaces the Kappa in production, but Fiat hopes that its success will follow that of the Thema rather than the Kappa.... 

Powerplants start with two versions of the well know 20 valve 5 cylinder in-line unit, a 2.0-litre turbocharged example (185bhp), and a 2.4-litre aspirated model (170bhp). The latter also features variable valve timing and a variable length induction system. A V6 derived from the Alfa Romeo 3-litre unit tops the range (215bhp), whilst a 2.4JTD (the 5-cylinder in-line family again, 150bhp) complete with variable geometry turbocharger and intercooler provides the oil-burning option. Rumours suggest that the latter will be joined later by a larger capacity GM sourced V6 diesel unit. The five cylinder engines use a six-speed manual gearbox, whilst the V6 gets a five speed automatic unit (with a sequential shift mode).

Lancia ThesisLancia Thesis


Elegance and technology have always been distinguishing features of any Lancia. In the Thesis flagship they meld in an ideal balance to give us a range with two specifications. These are known as Executive and Emblema and are equipped with a wealth of standard equipment items that are complemented by some exclusive devices on Emblema versions. Both specifications share four engines (three petrol and one common rail turbodiesel) and two gearboxes (the five-speed self-adaptive sequential automatic transmission is fitted to the 3.0 V6 24v while the 6 speed manual unit is fitted to all the other power units. Plus four different interiors, twelve body colours and a host of options able to satisfy even the most demanding section of customers within this élite market band. 
Many devices are fitted as standard on all version. Beginning with safety devices. For starters, eight airbags including two multistage bags; five three-point seat-belts with pretensioners (except the central rear seat) and load limiters (except the central rear seat), five head-restraints and an FPS (Fire Prevention System). 
The invisible technology on the Lancia Thesis really comes to the fore when it comes to dynamic safety. On this front the Lancia flagship offers a braking system with outstanding performance while also benefiting from the most sophisticated electronic devices for controlling the car's dynamic behaviour: including ABS complemented by an electronic brakeforce distributor, ESP and the ASR/MSR system. All versions of the Thesis also come with an electrically-controlled automatic parking brake: the EPB (Electric Parking Brake). 
Lancia ThesisFor preventive safety, the entire range comes with: bi-xenon headlamps, fog lamps and led tail-lights. And we must not forget the Isofix attachments used to carry the smallest passengers in maximum safety, plus systems to protect the car against theft and break-ins: from a second-generation Lancia CODE to a deadlock. This total protection makes the Lancia Thesis one of the safest cars anywhere in the world. 

Other equipment designed to ease life on board and offered by both the Thesis Executive and Thesis Emblema include: automatic climate control system, sound system with integral radio and steering wheel controls, Cruise Control and trip computer plus a 7" colour screen. And also: electric windows with anti-obstruction sensor on all four doors, heated, electrically-adjustable door mirrors, electric handles, electric door locks and catches with multifunction remote control, adjustable front armrest with oddments compartment and climate controlled outlet - and rear armrest with ski tunnel. 
On the road, the Lancia Thesis assures the cushioned silence of a top-class environment where the car engine is barely perceptible. 
This level of comfort is also assured by the Skyhook system, a sophisticated suspension control device reserved for a few élite cars that is fitted as standard throughout the entire range. 
The Emblema versions are another matter, because they include all the state-of-the-art solutions available for the model, without exception. In other words: multizone climate control system, Easy Entry/Exit function, Set-up Memory and Radar Cruise Control (shortly to be available on 3.0 V6 CAE versions). 
The Thesis Emblema also exclusively offers rear side windows and a darkened rear window (privacy) in addition to a rear armrest, a truly majestic throne-room: the interior compartment houses a remote control that allows rear passengers to operate the Bose® Sound System Hi-Fi, electric sunblind controls and passenger side reach adjustment. All three features naturally come as standard on Emblema versions. The product array on this version is concluded by the CONNECT system. This comes in the NAV+ configuration that complements the version fitted to the Thesis Executive with dynamic map navigation and an optional TV. 
Both versions share one last exterior motif: alloy wheels. On the Thesis Executive, these are 7x16" with 215/60 tyres and share classic styling. The wheels on the Emblema are the same size but more elegant in style. 
All versions can naturally be customised with numerous options to increase the protection and comfort offered by the Lancia Thesis. Thus the flagship may be fitted with EPG anti break-in side windows (these will be available a few months after the launch) and an antilift and antitilt alarm. You could also install a parking sensor (front and rear) and a supplementary heater programmable from CONNECT or by means of the remote control (available after the launch). 
Lancia ThesisWhen it comes to comfort, the Lancia flagship offers the following options: Keyless System, phone handset with a keypad and display on the front armrest and a CD-changer in the passenger glove compartment (only on the Thesis Executive because the multiple loader is included in the CONNECT NAV+ on the Thesis Emblema). And also: heated front and rear seats (except in the Emblema equipment package where the former come as standard); front seats in the Comfort version with fully electric adjustment and ventilation, heating, adaptivity and massage functions; rear Comfort seats with the same functions as the front, apart from the ventilation - and an electric sunroof with solar cells. Comfort version seats (front and rear) and the Keyless System will be available later. Customers will also soon be able to order 7x17" alloys for both versions with sports design 225/55 tyres (cannot be fitted with chains). 
Customers who buy the Thesis flagship can choose between four different interior environments: Lancia worsted wool, Alcantara®, Leather and Poltrona Frau Soft Leather. The wool cloth comes in light shades of beige, grey and blue and gains an extra touch of sophistication from the worsted wool. This is an unusual trim material for the seats and central panel and forms an unbroken ring around the passenger compartment. It is reminiscent of the celebrated Lancia cloth from a bygone age. 
The other interiors come in the same shades but in Alcantara®. They set off to perfection the understated wooden facia insert: an untreated open-pored mahogany in which the natural grain is apparent. Both specifications are available on the Executive and the choice is left to the customer's discretion. 
Lancia Thesis Emblema can choose between the Alcantara® or Leather interior. The latter offers a top-quality trim that comes in the following colours: beige, grey or blue. 
An interior in baby-soft Poltrona Frau designer leather with heated seats can be selected as an option. The prestigious upholstery adds two exclusive shades to the previous colours: anthracite and tobacco. 
Whatever you choose, the result is an environment made out of top-quality, warm, exclusive materials - an emotionally involving place where top-quality materials have been chosen for their tactile and acoustic qualities to create a multisensorial whole that represents the final frontier of the Lancia world. 
The Thesis offers a pallet of 12 different body shades. Non-metallic choices are Lancia blue and Donatello black, while the metallic selection comprises: Tintoretto bordeaux, Palladio grey, Botticelli grey, Leonardo green, Canaletto blue, Tiepolo grey, Raphael blue, Michelangelo blue, Cellini grey and Caravaggio black. 
The Lancia Thesis is also participates fully in the Fiat Auto Autonomy programme. This extends to all Fiat cars and to all Alfa and Lancia cars as well since last year. The Thesis can therefore be fitted with all the special devices that make driving easier for the disabled. 
These include the following equipment: 

- an electronic ring-type accelerator that converts a pedal-operated accelerator into a steering wheel control; 
- a remote-controlled turn and glide rear side door that allows a wheel chair to be stowed between the car's front and rear seats with greater ease; 
- a long-armed service brake that converts the brake to a manual control and brings it closer to the steering wheel; 
- a remote control installed on the steering wheel that can be used to operate all the service levers and switches; 
- an electronic automatic clutch that allows gear changes without depression of the clutch pedal at the barest touch of a switch on the gear lever. 

All these devices are built by the best companies in the sector and fit perfectly into the passenger compartment without impairing car user-friendliness, passenger room, comfort and safety. They can also be fitted alongside standard controls to enable the car to be driven by people without motor difficulties as well. 

Lancia ThesisLancia Thesis


The Lancia Thesis assures outstanding performance. The two litre engines, for example, are absolutely outstanding when compared with other engines of the same capacity offered by the competition. Car handling and agility are also important. Especially when you consider that a car just under five metres long with a weight to match has to work harder to achieve a good result. 
The credit for this agility goes to the power unit as a whole because on all Lancia Thesis versions, this comprises a power unit offering high torque at low speeds with a gearbox with a high number of ratios. Five in the case of the sophisticated automatic transmission; six for the manual gearbox. 
The decision to create a range of engines that are all multifractional (i.e. with 5 or 6 cylinders) was responsible for most of the results achieved in terms of lack of vibration, content, good timbre and smooth running. 
The following table gives details of the four power units (three petrol and a Common Rail turbodiesel unit) that the Lancia Thesis will present to the market next spring. 

The 2.0 20v Turbo Soft, in particular, is confirmation of Lancia's engine building traditions: the brand has always achieved outstanding results with this engine capacity. On the Lancia Thesis, the thermodynamic efficiency of this power unit is combined with a smooth, gradual turbo action able to assure outstanding comfort with scintillating performance comparable to that of a far bigger aspirated engine. 
lancia ThesisThe Lancia Thesis 2.0 20v Turbo Soft is for people who want a car of temperament without giving up the class, elegance and élite appeal of a prestigious, imposing, big-looking car. When equipped with this power unit, the Thesis offers extra punch and accentuates agility and handling to satisfy customers who have no intention of giving up on a fast drive. 
If we were to sum up the 2.4 20v in a nutshell, we could say: the right capacity for the car and the most effective proportion of that capacity in terms of performance and also of smooth power and torque delivery. In other words, a 5 cylinder engine with the smooth running of a six cylinder and the fuel consumption of a four cylinder unit. 

The Lancia Thesis 2.4 20v, is an interesting car because it offers satisfactory power and speed levels, all the brio required for vigorous take-off and pick-up and the ability to cover around 12 kilometres out of town on a litre of fuel. 
This is an engine for more rational customers, people who look for the great comfort, luxury and well-being that only a great élite saloon can offer. Combined with the technical efficiency required to keep running costs down. All in all, it is the Lancia Thesis for someone who wishes to use their car every day for everything they do: whether it be long trips or going to work. 
Now for the 3.0 V6 24v. This three litre engine of European capacity is perfect for the Lancia Thesis because the end result is a big luxury saloon with a well-balanced blend of roominess, comfort and performance. The power unit is special because it turns very roundly due to its 6 cylinders - and also offers formidable torque enhanced by a 5-speed automatic transmission converter. 
Altogether, the version driven by the 3.0 V6 24v offers greater driving satisfaction than rivals with similar capacity: acceleration, pick-up, power and torque delivery. The credit for this goes to a power unit that balances torque at low speed and maximum power with outstanding panache. 
The Lancia Thesis 3.0 V6 24v is the ideal car for customers who want great performance delivered with absolute ease. For people who do not like to be second to anyone, even on the road. For anyone who can fall in love with a good-looking, luxurious car and the unmistakable throb of an engine that is reminiscent of great, powerful Lancias of the past such as the Aurelia. 
The Lancia Thesis range concludes with the 2.4 JTD engine. This engine combines the tried and tested benefits of common rail technology (better performance and fuel economy) with formidable torque achieved by applying a variable geometry turbine to the JTD power unit. As far as the driver is concerned, this means a Lancia Thesis that is a greater roadster yet also agile and easy to handle if necessary. This combination of attributes is certainly not usual in this type of car. 
The 2.4 JTD engine is thus a prompt and efficient engine and tireless on long motorway trips. A great mile-eater with low fuel consumption. The Lancia Thesis 2.4 JTD is therefore designed for people who move around a lot and cover a very high mileage each year. Customers who want a comfortable, luxurious car that can be run at a reasonable cost and ensure the same driving satisfaction as a petrol engine. 


The gearboxes are slick, smooth-shifting, silent: they include a six-speed manual and a 5-speed automatic that are outstanding for their sophisticated, innovative engineering. Both offer the best possible channel for power transmitted by the engines (150 to 215 bhp) and ensure the car delivers uniformly crisp performance. They are also so easy and satisfying to use that any driver can handle a great saloon like the Lancia Thesis with ease and panache. 
The 5-speed automatic transmission, in particular, is two gearboxes in one. You can use the normal P, R, N and D positions when the lever is moved up in the gate. When in D position, however, all you have to do is move the lever to the left, into the areas marked 'plus' and 'minus' and the automatic device converts to a sequential manual gearbox. For the motorist, this means being able to benefit from a full range of gears with discreet guidance from the control unit (the sound of a buzzer and a warning on the control panel) if the engine is revved too much or too little. Plus the freedom of a normal manual gearbox, including the ability to set off in second or third when the car is driven over slippery ground. 
The 5-speed automatic transmission comes with the 3.0 V6 24v engine, while the 6-speed manual unit is fitted to all other power units.

Technical Details:
Driveline transverse engine at front with front wheel drive
Engines 1998cc (82x75.65mm) 5 cylinder 20V turbo with 185bhp
2446cc (83x90.4mm) 5 cylinder 20V with 170bhp
2959cc (93x72.6mm) 24V V6 with 215bhp
2387cc (82x90.4mm) 5 cylinder JTD diesel  with 150bhp
Suspension front : Multilink with telescopic dampers and coil springs plus anti-roll bar
rear : Multilink  with telescopic dampers and coil springs plus anti-roll bar
semi-active 'Skyhook' system
wheelbase : 2803mm
track (front/rear) : 1569mm/1541mm
Brakes front : discs, ventilated, diameter 305mm
rear : discs, ventilated, diameter 281mm
EBD (electronic brake-force distribution)
Gearbox 6 speed manual (cable operated)
5 speed automatic (with sequential shift mode)
Steering Rack and pinion with power assistance
Kerb weight 2.0 20V turbo : 1695kg
2.4 20V : 1680bhp
3.0 24V V6 : 1750kg
2.4 JTD : 1715kg

model max speed 0-100km/h standing km
2.0 20V turbo 224 km/h 8.9 sec 28.9 sec
2.4 20V 217 km/h 9.5 sec 30.2 sec
3.0 24V V6 234 km/h 9.2 sec 29.8 sec
2.4 JTD 206 km/h 10.1 sec 31.4 sec

click here to see Lancia Thesis at its Frankfurt Motor Show debut  see the Thesis unveiled at the 2001 Frankfurt Motor Show

advanced technology

The Lancia Thesis also interfaces with its driver in an appealing, practical way: from instrument panel to central console. Here you can find a seven-inch colour screen flanked on either side by switches for direct access to the various menus and completed underneath by a row of reconfigurable keys. The keys change function according to the menu selected for user-friendly virtual communication. They are used to control CONNECT, the sophisticated integrated telematic system that connects users to the world of services offered by Targasys. 

lancia ThesisCONNECT offers something more than its competitors. In other words, the possibility of talking to a real live person. This person is a call centre operator who is ready to provide information, resolve problems and offer a wide range of services at any time. All you have to do to gain access to this new world of services is to press the green CONNECT key. Then you are in contact with one of the 750 operators employed at the Contact Centre in Arese. This veritable factory produces services and information 365 days a year. Motorists are just a phone call away from operators who speak their language (14 are already active), can help them find their way and give them information on traffic conditions and the weather en route to their destination. They can even recommend a restaurant and book a hotel. In the future, they will also be able to buy airline ticket for motorists. And, if necessary, they can send out a rescue vehicle. Someone who can guide you step by step to your destination, remind you of appointments and notify you of traffic changes. While still remembering to give the result of a match played by your favourite team. 
The CONNECT system is really one of a kind in terms of the number of functions it offers and the quality of its services. Plus, Lancia Thesis customers can also choose one of two CONNECT specification levels, both with a 7" TFT colour graphic display. 
The detailed range is as follows: CONNECT, that includes a Hi-Fi system with RDS radio, CD and tape player, trip computer, GSM phone with handsfree set, GPS module, voice commands and steering wheel controls, module with Targasys services and SOS for logging on to the Contact Centre and receiving assistance and information; the system can also handle an external CD-changer, where present. CONNECT NAV+ is the ultra-comprehensive system that offers all the above functions plus dynamic navigation using pictograms and maps, an atlas function and a CD-changer. 
For a comfortable, stress-free drive, the Lancia Thesis also offers all the great little features that simplify life on board: smart window washing, follow me home lights, electric windows with anti-obstruction sensor and puddle lights. You can let your emotions be aroused while aboard the Lancia Thesis as well. Thanks to the high-fidelity, highly realistic music produced by the Bose® system, designed to measure for the Lancia flagship by Bose, the US leader in the Hi-Fi sector. Suffice it to say that the Bose® engineers carried out more than 1200 measurements and recordings on the car and carefully chose all the parts of the stereo system. They then established the best possible speaker position in relation to the listeners with the aid of advanced design software. 

invisible technology: Skyhook

The intention is to offer those who travel in the Lancia Thesis exclusive satisfaction. The car comes fitted as standard with a Skyhook (so-called because it allows the car to move as though it were suspended from the sky). The system is restricted to a few élite cars and takes the form of a semi-active damping system that has been developed for the Lancia flagship itself. The system was developed by Mannesmann-Sachs and takes the form of 6 sensors that determine relative speed between body and wheels in order to choose the optimum damping force to be provided by each individual shock absorber. Instantaneous sensor recordings and shock absorber regulation during compression and regulation make it possible for the system to brake the car's vertical motion at every moment just as though the body were hanging from the sky. 

Skyhook represents a true step forward in shock absorber calibration because it means that the designers no longer have to seek a compromise between stability, safety and comfort. It is also a vast improvement on current discrete damping control systems that offer a restricted adjustment range. The shock absorber valves on the system offered on the Lancia Thesis are controlled by an electronic control unit that screens factors such as load, road conditions, car motion and driver reactions. This enables the Skyhook system to choose the damping setting best suited to car driving conditions from an infinite range of possibilities within a few milliseconds and independently for each wheel. This helps highlight driving satisfaction under conditions of absolute safety. 
Not to mention the fact that most of the Lancia Thesis's handling and road insulation is down to its suspension. This was developed on a new track created specially for comfort-testing the model. At the front, the car features a Multilink system with a virtual steering axis while the rear system comprises multiple arms. The result is a noiseless car, whose movement and progress are barely perceptible. Just as you would expect from a big saloon whose owner often sits in the back intent on working or reading on long journeys.

Lancia ThesisLancia Thesis

exterior styling

The Lancia Thesis is a big luxury car that measures a little under five metres in length and displays certain motifs that bring part glories into the present: high front, long bonnet and an upturned wedge-shaped profile. These traits are, however, immediately offset by smooth curves and crisp corners combined in a completely new stylistic language. 
A car of emotion that unhesitatingly rejects rationalism and visual sparseness in favour of a large, tall grille and diamond-shaped headlamps. The headlamps are separated by the grille and enfolded by sculpted, shapely wings. 
The new integrated front end replaces the customary protruding bumpers to do away with the section that hangs over from the car body and the division of the front end into 'above' and 'below'. The result is a new vertical division: wing, grille, wing. This imposing, distinctive motif is bound to become an obligatory point of reference for future Lancia cars from now on. 
The side of the Lancia Thesis also features clean, uncluttered form. The side line starts from the front wing and runs unbroken along the car's waistline from headlamp to tail-light. It therefore helps reinforce the limousine effect by lengthening the car. 
The hunky, protective shoulders and well-proportioned front and rear overhangs help to increase the sensation of importance engendered by the car. 

The sides and front reveal only the barest hints of chrome here and there. Here: a subtle thread framing the long, dark shape of the windows and two inserts to set off the door handles. There: the grille and triangular headlamp surround. 
The well-proportioned, striking rear end brings all the lines and elements that form the Lancia Thesis to a satisfying conclusion. 
When viewed from the rear, the integral bumper leaves room for vertical motifs. Most important of these are the fins that drop from the pillar and taper away to set off the subtle and innovative led tail-lights to perfection. By day, these look like two understated chrome decorations; by night they are red and orange stripes, both one centimetre wide that make the car unique and immediately recognisable even on the motorway. 
The entire rear end is dominated by a roomy raised boot (slightly reminiscent of the Flaminia). This displays a transverse ridge that adds a touch of crispness to an otherwise flowing outline. 

click here for full details of the Lancia Dialogos concept car The Lancia Thesis drew heavily in both styling and technology on the 1998 Lancia Dialogos concept car, which was brimming full of new advanced technological ideas.
see the Lancia Dialogos >>>

Lancia Thesis high resolution images
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery
click on the image to see the Lancia Thesis high resolution image gallery