After production of the first generation Malpensa Chiara ended, due to financial problems at the time, the development of the second generation only started in mid 2002 and was plagued with issues.
In early 2005, Malpensa finally introduced the second gen Chiara with engines between 1.4 and 2.25l and from 85-250hp, like the first one with a flat 4 boxer in the back and two trunks.
The car only sold well in italy and some smaller countries and faced criticism for being way way too heavy for a compact car, for the long wheelbase, the bad handling in snow the rwd veriants have, for not offering an automatic etc.
A big issue were the engine characteristics. Generally, Malpensa uses lightweigt, high revving engines. Due to the heavy weight of the Chiara II, the smaller engines below 1.8l really had trouble getting up to speed, not offering an automatic was a choice they made because of that issue.
The smallest engine was the 85hp 1.4 8 valve N/A engine.
It was kinda underpowered for the car and was only sold in teh lowest trim level and only offered in italy after 2008.
The 1.4t was the same engine with just 20hp more, but a lot more torque since it had a turbo charger.
The 1.6Si was specifically tuned for the car and felt decent, altough the car remained heavy.
It offered 134hp and (only) 150NM of torque. Also, with the 1.6l or bigger, you could get a higher trim level with two-twone paint jobs, an option Malpensa heavily advertised.
You could get the 1.6Si as the turbocharged 1.6SiT, making 175hp and 214NM of torque and better trim aswell as an improved suspension.
The go-to engine was the 2.0SiT with 210hp fro0m its twin-turbo 2.0l boxer. It had awd, enough power to feel snappy outside of town or on a highway (the 1.6SiT was quick too, but really needed revvs on higher speeds etc.). But.. a compact car from the mid 2000s shouldn't need 200+ hp to feel snappy or to be a decent choice for highway driving.
The second gen Chiara RSi ahs the same amount of power as the first gen, but a way smaller turbo hole and it feels much more alive on lower revvs even though its heavier. BUT.... having the same amount of power as the previous generation + 300kg more weight meant, that whilst it drives really well and is a fun car, on a track it's slower than the first generation.
So in 2008, Malpensa introduced the RSX. It has a 2.8l long stroke boxer4 with 350hp and 430NM of torque. Stiffer chassis, set up for track useage etc. And in 2008, there was no reason people suddenly couldn't afford a 350hp compact car anymore...
The reason for the 2.8l is easy: in 2007, they put a 2.8l N/A engine from a bigger model (the engien also gets used in some really small trucks in italy) into the Chiara with an automatic. The engine amde a lot of sense for the Chiara, because it is a low revving, long stroke engien with constantly high torque. So it never hasn't enough strenght and needs revvs just for power. It works great with the auto box and the 161hp feel decent.
The 2.8 was also offered as a turbo with 200hp. It was mostly popular with older people that prefered the more calm character of the engine and the automatic and people in switzerland because they have lots of mountains.
Lastly, in 2009, Malpensa introduced the Malpensa coupe. A version of the chiara with two doors and a different rear end that represents an opponent for the Audi TT. It was avaiable with the 1.6SiT engine and rwd as just the Coupe or with the awd system and the engine from the RSi with 250hp as the coupe S, like this one.
The coupe has better weight distribution and better handling and weighs a bit less, so the car is below 1600kg. For a compact car...