Autodelta zal volgende week de J4 2.2 C in Amsterdam presenteren (C staat voor “Compressore”). Deze aangepaste 159 is het derde lid in de exclusieve J-series, tezamen met de Brera J5 3.2 C en de Spider J6 3.2 C.
Dankzij een Rotrex C30-74 supercharger en een specifiek systeem gaat het vermogen van de 2.2-liter van 185pk naar 245pk (60pk extra). Het max koppel stijgt van 230Nm naar 290Nm.
While the Brera J5 and Spider J6 models have focused on improving Alfa Romeo’s 3.2 V6 engine, the 159 J4 2.2 C will be launched with a supercharged version of the 2.2 JTS direct injection petrol engine. The addition of a Rotrex C30-74 supercharger and a specifically-developed system boosts the 2.2-litre unit’s power from the standard 185bhp up to 245 bhp, an increase of 60 bhp. Meanwhile peak torque is lifted from 230Nm to 290Nm, giving the sports saloon an extra 60Nm of torque.
Supercharging the 2.2 JTS engine and evolving the 159 J4 2.2 C package to perfection has been a long-term project for Autodelta, running alongside the development programmes to realise the J5 and J6. Autodelta’s engineering team was able to build on valuable experience gained when it became the first company in the world to apply forced induction to Alfa Romeo’s 2.0 JTS unit, as used in the 156 and GT models; and although an all-new unit, many of the important lessons learnt, and technical knowledge gained, were carried forward to the 2.2 JTS project.
“Both are high compression engines, which mean that a very thorough development programme is called for,” says Autodelta’s Managing Director Jano Djelalian, “but one of the biggest advantages is that a high performance driving experience can be coupled to excellent fuel efficiency, something that is becoming more important with ever rising oil prices.” In fact Autodelta’s technical excellence is quite simply unchallenged: no other company has been able to successfully supercharge and commercialise Alfa Romeo’s direct-injection JTS engines.
The Brera J5 3.2 C revolutionised Autodelta’s operations when it was added to the range in the autumn of 2005, creating a demand that resulted in a restructuring programme being implemented in order to offer customers respectable waiting times. “Alfa Romeo created a superbly stylish sports car with the Brera, and one that we were able to take forward in a number of areas,” says Jano, “It moved us forward as we welcomed a whole new type of customer coming through our doors; for the first time we also had one model that was in demand right across the world, and as well as gearing up to cope with it here, we had to take our global network of agents one step further.” The engineering had to be designed in such a way that Autodelta’s fully trained agents are able to install the supercharger package and test the cars in a most efficient manner. To that effect, the 2.2 JTS Supercharger package has an installation time of only six to seven hours, and then all cars are driven between sixty and eighty miles to complete the testing process.
“The J5 arrived just as we celebrated our 20th anniversary,” continues Jano, “and it has superbly launched us into our third decade.” The global demand for the J5 saw Autodelta’s R&D operation also being restructured and expanded to other regions to spread the demand placed on its UK HQ and allow all new models to be targeted at specific markets right from their launch. Autodelta’s two main R&D satellite hubs are in Athens (Greece) and Moscow (Russia). This widening of focus gives Autodelta’s engineers the ability to run the cars in extreme climatic conditions of heat and cold as well as in very dusty conditions and on surfaces that are extremely challenging. It also allows the cars electronics’ to perfectly suit the different requirement posed by local fuel characteristics.
Development of the 159 J4 2.2 C was able to slot perfectly into this new organisation, with more than half a dozen test cars running in three countries. Autodelta has been able to smoothly bring its development partners into the new structure, including Rotrex (superchargers), OZ (wheels) and Dunlop (tyres). “We have also learnt a lot from taking the decision to run testing on some of the most demanding race circuits in Europe,” says Jano. “The Nürburgring in particular puts a huge strain on every part of the car, not least the brakes, and every flaw is amplified; so we have gained invaluable feedback from taking this route. Although we are a small company with finite resources we want to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of high performance motoring.”
Before starting the supercharger installation project Autodelta’s engineers had to develop solutions to driveability issues that come into the equation. “We listened very closely to customers who had bought the 2.2 JTS and the points they raised,” says Jano. “A re-map to perfect these criteria and optimise the performance was developed.” This re-map will be made available by Autodelta for the standard 2.2 JTS aspirated models, similar to a re-map which has been commercialised for the 3.2 V6 engine; and it will improve driveability, increase performance and improve fuel consumption.
The 159 J4 2.2 C features a completely new aluminium inlet manifold as the factory plastic unit was not able to withstand the 0.65 bar boost which the Rotrex C30-74 unit is producing. The new inlet manifold design, now with a reduced volume was also a critical part of the development as we managed to increase the speed of response says Autodelta’s head of Research & Development, Sergio Truzzi. “Changes to the inlet and exhaust camshaft variator control strategy had to be initiated to generate more continuous torque and improve driveability,” adds Sergio.
With increasing fuel prices and taxation rising on larger capacity engines, Autodelta believe the 2.2 JTS supercharged engine offers certain beneficial advantages over the 3.2 V6. The additional advantage of a lighter kerb weight than the 3.2 V6 Q4 model means that the 2.2 JTS supercharged cars are almost 150 Kilograms lighter and therefore have a better bhp per ton ratio in comparison.
Autodelta has also taken a slightly different overall approach for this project, the third J-series model, in light of the excellent characteristics of the production Alfa 159 2.2 JTS. “During the extensive test programme we were very impressed with the chassis’ all-round capability as factory standard,” says Sergio, “and we found that with the additional performance from the supercharger the very capable chassis came alive and coped extremely well as far as grip and steering turn in was concerned. This clearly demonstrates the inherent sporty nature of the 159 chassis,” he continues. “Although the standard brakes also coped very well, we felt the Selespeed supercharged versions did incur some brake fade; improving the braking window was addressed by developing new perforated brake discs.”
Due to the inherent responsiveness of the overall Alfa 159 package to the supercharging conversion Autodelta will offer the J4 package with its bespoke Rotrex supercharger system, while utilising the car’s standard components. “We’re very pleased with how this project has turned out,” says Jano, “it means we will be able to offer a fully supercharged car at a highly competitive price, and hopefully bring the Autodelta driving option to a wider audience than has been the case, which is especially relevant with the broad appeal that the Alfa 159 offers. The cornerstone of our philosophy has always to blend extreme performance with day-to-day practicality, and with the wide appeal of the Alfa 159 this becomes even more requisite.
“Overall we feel the cars are more then capable to fulfil most drivers’ demands but of course we have gone a further step to satisfy the most demanding of owners and for the most extreme usage of the cars,” says Jano. This has involved progressive all round dynamic development of the car to create a cutting-edge, envelope-pushing sports saloon. The Alfa 159 is based on the same architecture as the Brera, allowing technology applied on the Brera J5 3.2 C to form the underlying basis of the upgrade. A fully adjustable coil over suspension set up allows for height adjustment as well as rebound adjustment to enable the driver to fine tune the car for any occasion. Up-rated perforated brake discs and special compound pads improve the braking capability, while an entirely new aerodynamic package will present a distinct new styling direction.
Autodelta will also release a special ‘Corsa’ tuning kit for the 245 bhp supercharged 159 J4 2.2 C, that will see the car producing more power than the 260 bhp currently available in the Alfa 159 3.2 V6; the Corsa tuning kit will be available as a retro fit for those who want even more power and is fully reversible.