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Alfa Romeo 156

800px-Alfa Romeo 156 Selespeed.jpg
Alfa Romeo 156
Manufacturer: Alfa Romeo
Class: front-engined saloon/estate
Production: 1997 — present
Predecessor: Alfa Romeo 155
Successor: Alfa Romeo 159
Body styles: Saloon
Sportwagon
Engines: 1.6l TS
1.8l TS
2.0l TS
2.5l V6
3.2l V6 GTA
1.9l JTD
2.4l JTD


The Alfa Romeo 156 is a very stylish car introduced by the Italian automaker Alfa Romeo in 1997 as the replacement for the 155. Its distinctive style with its high curved flanks made it, to some, the best looking car in its class. For any, this is the car with the 'hidden' rear door handles which are now commonplace.

Overview

The 156 was a highly developed front-wheel drive car (the station wagon offered all-wheel drive in left-hand drive markets) with a double wishbone front suspension and an all-independent multi-link rear suspension. The engine range encompassed 4-cylinder Twin Spark (150-155 bhp) 16 valve engines with variable valve timing, along with the 1.9 L (105-150 bhp) and 2.4 L (136-175 bhp) JTD turbodiesel engines. Until January 2001, the range-topping engine was the venerable DOHC 2.5 L 24-valve V6 engine rated at around 190 to 192 bhp.

A significant addition to the 156 range was the Sportwagon station wagon in 2000.


A significant addition to the 156 range was the Sportwagon estate in 2000

In February 2002, the 156 GTA and SportWagon GTA were launched. Equipped with a 3.2 L V6 with six-speed manual transmission, the GTA variants were aimed at the performance market. The GTA subsequently stopped production in October 2005, citing poor sales and the upcoming replacement to the 156, the Alfa Romeo 159. The GTA variants boasted at least 250 bhp, had a lowered and stiffened suspension, a distinctive body kit and leather interior.

2002 also saw the arrival of a facelifted interior with different matte-finish surfacing and chrome highlights. It also used the Alfa Romeo 147's dual-zone digital climate control and CanBus serial wiring system. A wider range of options including xenon lighting, tele-informatics and a Bose stereo system were available. Also ESP and slip control ASR came as standard.

Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

Late 2003 saw the launch of a facelifted 156, with new front and rear fascias designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. There was also a wider range of interior colour options from this date. The 2.5 L V6 was deleted at this time and the GTA never received the exterior improvements.

In 2004, four-wheel drive versions arrived to some markets, which were known as the Crosswagon Q4 and Sportwagon Q4 (both using the 1.9 L JTD engine). These cars were equipped with a Torsen four-wheel drive system.

The 156 was discontinued late in 2005 in Europe, and is to be phased out in other markets in 2006 with the forthcoming 159, which also spawned the Brera, the 2-door coupe that replaces the GTV.

Awards

In 1998, an international jury of 56 journalists representing 21 countries awarded the Alfa 156 the European Car of the Year award; it was described as having a "very refined suspension layout so to offer an impeccable roadholding". The 156 has won other awards, including:

  • Technical Innovation Award - Common Rail 1998 - (Autocar - Great Britain)
  • Best Compact Executive 1998 - (What Car - UK)
  • Best Compact Executive Car 1998- (Autoexpress - UK)
  • Die Besten Autos 1998, Paul Pietsch Preis - (Innovation prize for Common Rail, (Auto Motor und Sport - Germany)
  • Auto 1 Europa 1998 -(Panel of engineers, drivers and journalists from the 11 European magazines headed by Auto Bild)
  • Auto Trophy 1998 -(Auto Zeitung-Germany)
  • Trophee Du Design 1998 -(Automobile Magazine-France)

Motorsport

The Alfa Romeo 156 was not as well vested in motorsport as its predecessor, the 155, however it runs in the British Touring Car Championship as well as various European championships and has won the following titles:
Alfa Romeo 156 Touting GT
  • 1998 Supertouring Italian Championship, Fabrizio Giovanardi
  • 1999 Supertouring Italian Championship, Fabrizio Giovanardi
  • 2000 Euro STC Supertouring Champion, Fabrizio Giovanardi
  • 2001 European Supertourincar FIA Champion , Fabrizio Giovanardi
  • 2002 European Supertourincar FIA Champion , Fabrizio Giovanardi
  • 2003 European Supertourincar FIA Champion , Gabriele Tarquini


External links


1998 Alfa Romeo 156 1.6L 16V


2000 Alfa Romeo 156 2.5L V6


2001 Alfa Romeo 156 Wagon


Alfa 156 Valencia 2007 FIA WTCC
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