Alfa Romeo has announced to dealers that it will stop taking orders for the current 159 on 8 July, leaving a big gap before sales of the replacement Giulia start in 2013.
The 159 has been on sale in the UK since 2005 and replaced the 156, which ushered in a new design language for Alfa Romeo when launched in 1997. The 159 updated the distinctive looks and shared the same platform as the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider, both of which Alfa withdrew from the UK market last year.
Alfa will reveal the Giulia, the 159’s replacement, later this year ahead of production starting in late 2012. The new compact executive will be front wheel drive, as is the 159, but it’s likely a Q4 four wheel drive system will also be offered on some variants. The Giulia will be longer than the 159 and come in four door saloon and ‘Sportwagon’ estate body styles. Although we are not sure what it looks like — not many spy pictures have been shot — it is likely to share styling characteristics with the smaller Giulietta sports hatch, such as LED lighting, a road hugging stance and the distinctive upturned triangular Alfa grille.
Engines will likely be various petrols and Multijet diesels, starting with a 1.4 turbo petrol and with a Pentastar derived 3.3 V6 petrol as the top powertrain, possibly with as much as 300bhp (expected with Q4).
The Giulia has been delayed as Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne (the Italian auto giant owns the Alfa Romeo brand) was apparently unhappy with the proposed styling of the new car, knocking the development cycle back. With the 159 taken from the market, this leaves Alfa Romeo with a big gap in its range, although buoyant sales of the Mito and Giulietta will help.
The Giulia will leads sales of the marque in the US once again and resurrects a nameplate last used between 1972 – 1978.
The very last Alfa Romeo 159s can be ordered today and tomorrow only, starting from a price of £23,515.