Lancia Thesis

Lancia ThesisContinuing the relaunch of the Lancia brand and taking up position at the pinnacle of the Fiat Groups automotive portfolio, the new Thesis (internally, Project 841) was officially released at the Geneva Motorshow at the beginning of March 2001. The interior was first seen at the Frankfurt show later that year, although sales did not start until much later.

A large (4888mm long) four door luxury saloon, it is aimed to emphasise the brand as the luxury arm of the Fiat Group, a move already started with the Lybra. As such it features a substantial 'high-tech' content, a trend shown in the Nea concept car. This is based around the CONNECT system and a 7 inch TFT colour dispay in the dashboard and includes voice recognition, hands-free phone, a navigation system, a stereo, an optional TV and access to the contact centre. Other 'high-tech' systems include an optional radar cruise control, an optional sunroof with solar cells (which power the aircon fan when the vehicle is parked in the sun), a multizone climate control system which on some models has a separate zone for the rear passengers, front and rear parking sensor, a rain sensor, an automatic windscreen wiper system, automatic headlamps, LED tail-lights (with 30 LEDs per unit), optional variable power steering, bi-xenon headlights (with an automatic ride corrector which functions with both static and dynamic pitch changes) and more.

Lancia ThesisTo emphasise the comfort factor there is also power assistance when opening the doors, the seat and steering wheel move back and up to aid entrance when the door is opened, and the entire process of opening and starting the car is keyless, using a transponder in the drivers pocket. Some interior details can be seen here. An automatic handbrake (EPB or Electronic Parking Brake) is applied whenever the car is stopped and also features a button on the centre console for manual operation.

As with all modern cars, passive safety is an area emphasised in the press release, the Thesis featuring eight airbags, comprising two multistage front bags, four sidebags and two window-bags, seatbelts with pre-tensioners, adjustable headrests, ISOFIX attachment points, a fire protection system and a carefully designed structure including crumple zones and reinforced doors.
Active safety includes an ESP (Electronic Stability program) which monitors various parameters to determine the yaw and corrects any excessive motion by braking individual wheels or reducing engine power. Traction control (ASR) reacts to both wheels spinning or just one wheel spinning (in the latter case the result is similar to a limited-slip differential), ABS and EBD (Electronic Brake Distribution) which controls the amount of braking to the rear wheels all reduce the possibility of the driver losing control of the car.

Lancia Thesis dashboard - CLICK for larger imageThe suspension utilises multilink layouts both front and rear. The front suspension is a development of the traditional double-wishbone layout, using five links to control the movement of the wheel, whilst at the rear various arms in aluminium, steel and cast iron also provides a small level of passive rear wheel steering. The damping features a semi-active system known as 'Skyhook' which significantly improves the ride quality. Developed by Mannesmann-Sachs it uses numerous sensors to monitor the relative motion between the wheels and the body then controlling the level of damping provided by each individual damper.

The design follows closely that of the Dialogos Concept car, and even moreso the example presented to the Pope. It is currently available as a four door saloon, a five door station wagon is expected to be released later. The official press release describes it as "hallmarked - in terms of styling - by exciting elegance going far beyond rational utility to leave space for the imagination, the Lancia Thesis matches retro sensations - such as the high front, the long bonnet and the profile resembling an upside-down wedge - with an entirely new stylistic language." It replaces the Kappa in production, but Fiat hopes that its success will follow that of the Thema rather than the Kappa....

Lancia ThesisPowerplants start with two versions of the well know 20 valve 5 cylinder in-line unit, a 2.0-litre turbocharged example (185bhp), and a 2.4-litre aspirated model (170bhp). The latter also features variable valve timing and a variable length induction system. A V6 derived from the Alfa Romeo 3-litre unit tops the range (215bhp), whilst a 2.4JTD (the 5-cylinder in-line family again, 150bhp) complete with variable geometry turbocharger and intercooler provides the oil-burning option. Rumours suggest that the latter will be joined later by a larger capacity GM sourced V6 diesel unit. The five cylinder engines use a six-speed manual gearbox, whilst the V6 gets a five speed automatic unit (with a sequential shift mode).

CarsfromItaly was at the Geneva Motorshow, see our Lancia page for pictures of the Thesis launch.

CarsfromItaly was at the Frankfurt Motorshow, see our Lancia page for more pictures of the Thesis.

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Screensavers of the Lancia Thesis available to download (free).

Technical Details
Driveline transverse engine at front with front wheel drive
Engines 1998cc (82x75.65mm) 5 cylinder 20V turbo with 185bhp
2446cc (83x90.4mm) 5 cylinder 20V with 170bhp
2959cc (93x72.6mm) 24V V6 with 215bhp
2387cc (82x90.4mm) 5 cylinder JTD diesel  with 150bhp
Suspension front : Multilink with telescopic dampers and coil springs plus anti-roll bar
rear : Multilink  with telescopic dampers and coil springs plus anti-roll bar
semi-active 'Skyhook' system
wheelbase : 2803mm
track (front/rear) : 1569mm/1541mm
Brakes front : discs, ventilated, diameter 305mm
rear : discs, ventilated, diameter 281mm
EBD (electronic brake-force distribution)
Gearbox 6 speed manual (cable operated)
5 speed automatic (with sequential shift mode)
Steering Rack and pinion with power assistance
Kerb weight 2.0 20V turbo : 1695kg
2.4 20V : 1680bhp
3.0 24V V6 : 1750kg
2.4 JTD : 1715kg

Click here for a cutaway of the Lancia Thesis

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model max speed 0-100km/h standing km
2.0 20V turbo 224 km/h 8.9 sec 28.9 sec
2.4 20V 217 km/h 9.5 sec 30.2 sec
3.0 24V V6 234 km/h 9.2 sec 29.8 sec
2.4 JTD 206 km/h 10.1 sec 31.4 sec

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Thesis comment form

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Lancia Thesis interior
Lancia Thesis interior

Your Comments

Wonderful! True Lancia's tradition in contemporary design terms.(PAB)

Wonderfull car, returning to the old Italian style.

Thema obviously can't be replaced with a car with that will have the same carisma.I had hard times accepting Kappa but this is to much.(Srdan,Croatia)

Lancia Thesis I have been waiting this car for a lot of time. Not because I will buy it (at the moment I have a Lancia Ypsilon 1.2), but because it can represent the definitive recovery of a mythical brand in the world of automobile. The shape is excessively classic, (I miss the Gamma), maybe they want to assure the sales, although the front is powerful and beautiful. If the interior is such as they had promised, I don't believe that the new Thesis has rival in this aspect. I hope the engines and the chassis will be at the level of what is expected from a Lancia, mainly in this category. I wish the Lancia Thesis has long life, a lot of sales, and meanwhile I will wait for the new Delta... (Juan, a lancista from Spain)

This will be the absolute best car Lancia has ever made.I thought the Lybra was great, but this is awesome.

What do those headlamps look like. Lancia should be looking into the future instead of back at their past, we need a car that is advanced, not retro. I think we need another Beta or Gamma.

The Thesis is a very beautiful car but the only thing I saw is that the Thesis does not have a V8 engine version like other luxury cars (Lexus, BMW, Mercedes and Audi).

Lancia Thesis Being a two Lancia owner, Thema Turbo 16V LX and Y 1.2 16V, I welcome this new Lancia, absolutely wonderful in its design and technology. I just wish it was a little sportier. Caio. (Miguel M, Portugal)

Quite a nice car, the design is quite good, although in my opinion the rear could've been more like the Dialogos concept car. What I would like to know is WHY Lancia put an American as the director of the Centro Stile when Italy has some of the best designers in the world? We are giving our best designers to the competition!! (ex. Walter De' Silva, the genius behind the Alfa 156 and 147, is now at Seat). I also hope the Thesis will have some more competitive engines than those rumoured/ announced. The photos of the interiors look promising though, this car seems a step in the right direction as far as quality is concerned. Let's hope that the guys at FIAT/Lancia do a good job this time, otherwise in my opinion the Thesis will be yet another missed opportunity of seriously threatening the competition from Germany. I hope that Lancia Thesis will live up to expectations

Hey this design is absolutely fabulous, PLEASE PLEASE right hand drive versions for the rest of the world (Dave T, Australia)

Finally, a real Lancia again. I hope Fiat will work hard with Thesis and there will be a real atractive range with engines good enough to struggle against German manufacturers, instead of having only the limited offer of the Lybra, which best engine outputs just 155 hp. Design is great, and everybody will know they are looking at an Italian car. Thesis make the rest old fashioned and styleless at the same time. If you really like stilish cars, there will only be an option for you: LANCIA THESIS. (David, Spain)

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Screensavers of the Lancia Thesis available to download (free).

Lancia Thesis

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