Alfa Romeo announced plans to enter that 4WD/Sports Utility Vehicle segment with this month's unveiling of the Alfa Romeo Kamal concept car at the Geneva International Motor Show. The Kamal retains Alpha Romeo's trademark sports styling in the shape of a 4WD and adds versatile interior functionality along with some innovative passenger comfort enhancements.
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Double wishbone suspension all round and height adjustable air springs (these are lowered automatically when a certain speed is reached) provide the smooth, road-hugging ride. The driver can adjust the suspension height according to the type of use: higher off the road, lower on the road.
The Kamal is powered by a 3.2litre, V6, 24V engine that delivers 250 bhp at 6200 rpm and has a peak torque of 300 Nm at 4800 rpm. Smooth power delivery even at low speeds allows you to travel in 6th gear at less than 2000 rpm and to slip rapidly away without needing to change gear according to Alph Romeo.
The gearbox is the Selespeed unit with an operating logic derived from Formula 1, which makes for faster gear changes at low and high speeds.
The prototype also has a lower centre of gravity than a conventional SUV, increasing the car's stability.
Off-raod performances is boosted by the reinforced live axle as well as the adoption of 4 wheel drive with electronic control, with three differentials and Torsen system, which splits the torque variably between the front and rear wheels.
Accommodating a wide range of seat configurations and with rear doors that are rear-hinged, the Kamal is designed for maximum load space when required or enhanced comfort when passengers are aboard. The luggage compartment exceeds 400 litres and there are also numerous oddment compartments and glass recesses in the central tunnel. The tunnel can even be used to keep drinks cool using cold air from the climate control system.
The rear window opens independently of the tailgate, which has a small 'flap' which can be lowered and extended to the ground to assist loading the vehicle.
No details as yet on when the Kamal will enter production.
March 2003View gallery - 2 images