The Alfa Romeo 166 (Type 936) is an executive car produced by the Italian automaker Alfa Romeo, between 1996 and June 2007. The car was designed by Centro Stile Alfa Romeo, under the control of Walter de Silva, and was facelifted in September 2003.
The 166 is rumoured to have had a troubled genesis. The vehicle was designed before the 156, having been almost signed off for production at the end of 1994. At that time, Alfa Romeo sales were flagging, and the project was shelved in order to concentrate on the development and launch of the 156.
In order to keep the design fresh, Alfa Romeo made a series of modifications to the Lancia Kappa based underpinnings, radically changing the suspension set up and also taking a clean paper approach to the interior. The 166 was the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 164. Production began in the end of 1996, and model was available from the end of 1998.
Alfa Romeo 166, prior to facelift
The car was initially available with a 2.0 litre Twin Spark (155 PS), a 2.5 V6 (190 PS), a 3.0 V6 (226 PS) or a V6 2.0 Turbo (205 PS) petrol engine. Diesel engines were a L5 2.4 10v common railturbodiesel version with 136 PS (100 kW; 134 hp), 140 PS (103 kW; 138 hp) and 150 PS (110 kW; 148 hp) output, praised for its refinement.
The TS model used a five speed manual gearbox, whilst the 2.5 and 3.0 had the option of a Sportronic automatic gearbox. The 3.0 V6, L5 2.4 and V6 Turbo were otherwise supplied with a six speed manual gearbox.
Suspension was by double wishbones at the front and a multi link setup at the rear.
Alfa Romeo 166, facelifted model
In September 2003, the 166 was substantially revised, with the début at the Frankfurt Motor Show. As well as upgrades to the chassis, interior, and the engine range, the styling was substantially altered. The new front end resembled the also recently revised 156.
The 2.0 V6 Turbo model was dropped because of marketing problems, the V6 2.5 was re rated at 188 PS (138 kW; 185 hp) and a 3.2 litre V6 (240 PS) was introduced. Both the new 3.2 litre and the 2.0 Twin Spark models now featured the six speed manual gearbox, whilst the 3.0 model was retained, but made available only in Sportronic form.
In the diesel sector, the L5 2.4 was re engineered with Multi-Jet technology which allows up to five injections per cycle, second stage common rail, with maximum injection pressure of 1400 bar and four valves per cylinder, to output a class leading 175 PS (129 kW; 173 hp).
End of production
In October 2005, the Alfa Romeo 166 was officially withdrawn from sale in markets for RHD. Sales of the 166 never grew as Alfa had hoped, following the facelift in September 2003, and the additional lack of a diesel engine in the United Kingdom, Australian, and Irish markets limited its reach into company car sectors. This was as the 2.4 JTDdiesel engine was only optional on markets for LHD.
In June 2007, production of the 166 effectively ended, with no direct successor. In September 2008, the platform was sold to the Chinese state run manufacturer GAC Group. In total, less than 100,000 units were made.
In August 2009, Autocar named the 166 as "Britain's Worst Depreciating Used Car", as it held just 14.4% of its original used value after three years.