From the original Press Release:
In Sanskrit ‘Kamal’ indicates the colour red. In Arabic, the same term stands for ‘perfection’ or the ‘synthesis of opposites’. Different languages, and different meanings which balance and mutually complement each other in the same word. An evocative force to describe this concept, presented by Alfa Romeo at the 2003 Geneva International Motor Show.
It is called Kamal, and it marks an authentic conceptual and stylistic leap forward in the international car scene. New horizons and brand new segments are opening up, and Alfa wants to play an important part. At this point it is easy to imagine the enormous effort that the Alfa Romeo Business Unit has poured into one ambitious goal it set itself: to present the concept of ‘elegant sportiness’, which has always been a distinctive feature of the Brand, in a completely new form, that is unique in its way.
Through a complex, refined interplay of allusions, Kamal reminds us of Alfa Romeo’s glorious traditions in the sports car sector, while at the same time it also includes attractive ideas that look to the future and new developments in the SUV – MPV segments in particular.
A mix of style and design that represents a distinctive crossover of cultures. The model is a fusion of different vehicle types. It combines the off-road performance of an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle) with the driving and handling characteristics of a compact Alfa Romeo.
At the same time, it offers a versatile, functional passenger compartment typical of a Multi Purpose Vehicle due above all to clever use of space and a wide range of seat configurations. Everything comes packed into an unmistakable Alfa shape designed by the Arese Style Centre.
Kamal was designed at the Alfa Romeo Styling Centre. It concentrates two types of concept in its styling: belonging to the Alfa range and, more unusual for this class of car, a resemblance to an on-road rather than an off-road vehicle.
From the brand DNA it inherited its compactness, which is extremely important for manoeuvring, and formal balance. It is compactness that gives the versatility which enables Kamal to be used both on the track and off the road. It slips into the role of the everyday car with a natural elegance. Kamal is the embodiment of elegant sportiness: a fascinating exciting feature with a fresh, young appeal.
The main design elements are a long bonnet; a small roof positioned towards the rear; wrapround glazing, wheels flush with the body, the high waistline, a feeling of balanced masses.
In the front end, the emphasis is on the three-leaf clover effect with the foglights incorporated into the side inlets. An important stylistic touch that makes an Alfa Romeo immediately recognisable from a distance. The simple, refined designed of the shield with the chromed surround and metal grill that underlines its sporty appeal. The lines that shape the bonnet start from the shield like two arrows diverging towards the uprights.
The bonnet is large and dynamic, linking up smoothly into the windscreen that itself runs into the roof, making the roof incredibly light.
The first element we notice at the side is the ratio between the glazing and the sheet metal: the former predominates. This characteristic gives the sense of sportiness and sturdiness that we were expecting. It is attenuated and balanced by the elegant, soft line of the strong ‘shoulders’ on the wings, which create a sort of double wave. The shape of the rear pillar is typical of Alfa Romeo, with the strong dynamic impetus of the angle.
The tapered side draws our attention to the way the body rests on the large wheels, and lightens the overall effect.
At the rear, the focus on the passenger compartment underlines the pyramid shape which starts from the small section of the roof, and gets wider towards the rear upright and the wheelarch, giving the impression of a vehicle that is anchored to the road. The position of the lights with their horizontal shape is perfectly in tune with the brand’s ‘family feeling’. Their monochrome colour and extremely high tech features make them resemble jewels set into the sheet metal. The way the exhaust terminal is incorporated into the lower part of the bumper is a final touch of elegance.
Kamal is 435 centimetre long, 186 cm wide and 162 cm high. It has four doors that have a particular opening system, with the rear doors being side-hinged, activated by an internal mechanism.
The rear window opens independently of the tailgate. The latter has a small ‘flap’ which can be lowered and extended to the ground, to make loading even easier. And by folding away the rear seats, it is possible to create a flat, easily accessible loading area.
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, thanks to cold air from the climate control system. The enormous transparent roof is also an innovative touch.
Kamal was designed to tackle any situation on the road and any climatic condition. It features reinforced live axle and 4 wheel drive with electronic control, with three differentials and Torsen system, which splits the torque variably between the front and rear wheels.
Kamal features double wishbone suspensions, which makes driving enjoyable, combining the complete control typical of front wheel drive with exceptional sportiness and pinpoint accuracy, exploited in full on mixed routes.
Suspension has height adjustable air springs which are lowered automatically when a certain speed is reached: the effect is that of a car that really grips the road. That is not all. 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 3.2 V6 24V delivering 250 bhp at 6200 rpm, with peak torque of 300 Nm (30.6 kgm) at 4800 rpm.
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 has a lower centre of gravity than a conventional SUV, increasing the car’s stability, and it is also lower; this improves the Cd and thus performance (the estimate top speed exceeds 200 km/h).
Electronic controls include VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and ASR (Anti Slip Regulation). The first is a device that kicks in during emergency braking, while the second intervenes at any speed, assisted by the brakes and the engine management, to optimise traction.
Kamal’s ‘all-terrain’ temperament is enhanced by the aluminium protection around the chassis and engine, and 20" Pirelli Scorpion tyres, with mix and tread designed specifically for Alfa Romeo.
- Body: 5 doors
- Length: 4.35 metres
- Width: 1.86 metres
- Height: 1.62 metres
- Engine: 3,179 cc V6 24v
- Power output: 250 bhp
- Gearbox: Selespeed 6-speed sequential
- Transmission: electronic 4×4 and Torsen system with three differentials
- Suspension: double wishbone front and rear
- Tyres: Pirelli Scorpion 265-45-20"
(Source: Alfa Romeo)