Alfa Romeo's planned 2009 return to the United States revolves around a multi-tiered approach. When the Italian brand lands on our shores, it will likely bring with it four distinctly different models (not counting the 8C Competizione, of which just 500 examples will be built): a small hatchback (the Mi.To), a small sport coupe (the Brera), a mid-size sedan (a face-lifted version of the current 159), and a full-size notchback sedan.
Of those models, the big sedan will be the newest. That car, dubbed the 169, replaces the aging 166. It's expected to be rear-wheel drive; power should come from an all-new DOHC V-6 in either 3.0- or 3.5-liter guise. Three power outputs will be available, ranging from 250 hp to 350 hp, as will three separate diesel engines - a 170-hp, 2.0-liter four; a 200-hp, 2.0-liter four; and a 250-hp, 3.0-liter V-6. In all likelihood, the U.S. market will receive a condensed version of this engine lineup.
A DIESEL? DON'T THEY NEED A DEALER NETWORK FIRST? Alfa's chances in the United States ride on the success of a volume car such as the 169. It could be a blast to drive, but we wonder how the brand plans to sustain the sales it needs to stay afloat here without an independent dealer network. Time will tell.