Alpha Romeo is usually good for some pretty interesting vehicle designs, pretty good build quality and pretty good performance. But for some reason when adding up all the pieces modern Alpha’s just seem mediocre in comparison to their competitors. With a little aftermarket help, Alpha Romeo hopes the supercharged J4 ends that trend.
After an 18 month development program with aftermarket tuner Autodelta, Alpha Romeo added the J4 in July as the third member of its J-series group of vehicles which already included the Brera J5 3.2 C and Spider J6 3.2 C. Of main concern in the progression of the 159 was the exclusive engineering of a Rotrex C30-74 supercharger that helps the car produce 245 horsepower; an increase of at least 60 horses over a normally aspirated Alpha. Just like the other two members of the J-series, the 159 J4 2.2 C applies forced induction principles to reach a top speed of 165 with 62 mph achieved in 6.9 seconds. Exclusive features of the 159 J4 2.2 C include 19-inch OZ Botticelli Ultra Light alloy wheels, height adjustable coil over dampers with bound and rebound settings, stainless steel free flow dual silencer exhaust system in stainless steel and in a quad configuration designed to enhance the engine’s sound. The list of J4 extras continues with a mechanical limited slip differential, uprated brake discs that are additionally perforated at the front and rear, and new special compounds brake pads to improve all-round braking performance, allowing the discs and pads to operate at a much higher temperature. Saving weight is always an important component of performance which was addressed in this vehicle through the use of special lightweight materials and a significant amount of aluminum. The final weigh-in of the the supercharged J4 with all of the additional upgrades was a vehicle that is actually slightly lighter than a standard production Alfa 159.
Although the 159 J4 is given a special lip and body treatment, the design is clearly Alpha with the distinctive front gaping air intake flanked by scowling “eye” headlights. With all of the additionally performance elements and a distinct and unique design, it is hard to not like the J4. On paper at least. 245 horses don’t sound overly exceptional when talking about high end sport sedans. But we’ll reserve judgement until after it has been sufficiently wrung out on the track.