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Future models - Alfa Romeo - 156 - Sportswagon AWD

Alfa confirms cross-over

Sporty look: GoAuto graphic artist Norm Robinson's impression of what Alfa's Sportwagon AWD could look like.

All-paw Alfa Romeo 156 wagon heading our way next year

26 Sep 2003

ALFA ROMEO boss Daniele Bandiera confirmed at the Frankfurt motor show that the Italian brand will produce its first all-wheel drive model since the all-paw Alfa 33 as early as next year – in the shape of a 156 Sportwagon AWD to appear at the 2004 Geneva motor show.

Similar in concept to Holden’s larger Commodore wagon-based Adventra and Audi’s A6-based Allroad, the new model will be based on the GTA Sportwagon sold in Europe, which already has flared wheel arches to accommodate wider wheels and tyres.

Australian Alfa officials have confirmed Sportwagon will be sold Down Under, with the higher-riding Sportwagon AWD due on sale in Australia in limited numbers by the end of 2004.

Sportwagon AWD is a precursor to Alfa’s new front-wheel and all-wheel drive platform that will underpin the Giugiaro-designed 157, the all-new replacement for the 156 medium sedan due on sale in 2005 in both sedan and Sportwagon guise.

The 157 is expected to be powered by massaged versions of GM’s new Holden-built alloy V6 engine in 2.8 and 3.2-litre forms, with a turbocharged version likely to motivate GTA models.

The new medium sedan will spearhead Alfa’s return to the US market, which has been postponed from 2005 to 2007.

By then a full range of new generation Alfas – including 157, 167, SUV and the next Spider – will be available, all built on GM’s new premium platform developed by Alfa and in its initial stages by Saab, which is consequently understood to have abandoned it due to cost following pressure from its GM parent.

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