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Future models - Alfa Romeo - Kamal

First look: Alfa concept crosses over

Why are people so unkind?: Alfa is not paying tribute to lounge singers with Kamal.

Here's the first look at Alfa's off-road plans

13 Mar 2003

ALFA Romeo has foreshadowed its intention to enter the booming cross-over market by revealing the Kamal concept at the Geneva motor show.

Designed in the Alfa Romeo styling centre at Arese in Italy, the Kamal is acknowledgment that a cross-over will be crucial to the success of Alfa Romeo's planned return to the US market in 2007.

And we can tell you now that the name is not a misspelt tribute to a local singer adored by the blue-rinse set. Alfa says that in Sanskrit "Kamal" indicates the colour red, Alfa Romeo's racing colour. In Arabic, the same term stands for "perfection" or the "synthesis of opposites".

So now you know.

The Kamal is powered by a 190kW/300Nm 3.2-litre V6 that drives all four wheels through a six-speed Selespeed gearbox. Estimated top speed is 200km/h.

The engine is GM's new HFV6 that will be built at Holden's engine plant in Port Melbourne and go into several Alfa and Saab models - as well as the Commodore from the 2004 VZ model onward.

Other Kamal technical specifications includes double wishbone suspension all-round, with height adjustable air springs, 20-inch wheels, vehicle dynamic control (VDC) and ASR (anti-slip regulation).

The first acronym kicks in during emergency braking while the second intervenes at any speed, assisted by the brakes and the engine management, to optimise traction.

There is some attention paid to off-road ability with the adoption of a live rear axle and the fitment of three differentials including a Torsen torque sensing viscous coupling.

The Kamal's five-door body measures 4.35m long, 1.86m wide and 1.62m high.

While the front doors open in the normal way with a handle, the rear doors are rear-hinged and activated by an internal mechanism.

The rear window opens independently of the tailgate, which has a small "flap" that can be lowered and extended to the ground, to make loading easier.

The already substantial 400 litres of luggage space is boosted by fold-flat rear seats.

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