Alfa Romeo 156

Alfa Romeo 156

Infobox Automobile

name = Alfa Romeo 156
manufacturer = Alfa Romeo
parent_company = Fiat Group
production = 1997–2006
assembly = Pomigliano d'Arco, ItalyCite web|url=|title=Press Files/26/10/1997|accessdate=2008-01-27|]
Rayong, Thailandcite web|url=|title=Automotive Intelligence News||accessdate=2007-04-25]
class = Compact executive car
layout = Front-engine, front-wheel drive / four-wheel drive (estate)
body_style = 4-door saloon
5-door estate
engine = Petrol:

  • 1.6 L "TS" straight-4
  • 1.8 L"TS" straight-4
  • 2.0 L "TS" straight-4
  • 2.0 L "JTS" straight-4
  • 2.5 L "V6"
  • 3.2 L "V6"
  • 1.9 L "JTD" straight-4
  • 2.4 L "JTD" straight-5

transmission= 5 and 6-speed manual
5 and 6-speed seq. manual
  • Selespeed (Magneti Marelli)
4-speed automatic
  • Q-System (Aisin) Cite web|url=|title=Unique Performance Automatic Gearboxes for the New Alfa Romeo 156|accessdate=2008-01-27|]

wheelbase = convert|2595|mm|in|1|abbr=on
length = convert|4430|mm|in|1|abbr=on
convert|4441|mm|in|1|abbr=on SW Q4
convert|4441|mm|in|1|abbr=on CW Q4
width = convert|1745|mm|in|1|abbr=on
convert|1765|mm|in|1|abbr=on CW Q4
height = convert|1415|mm|in|1|abbr=on
convert|1430|mm|in|1|abbr=on SW
convert|1458|mm|in|1|abbr=on SW Q4
convert|1497|mm|in|1|abbr=on CW Q4
weight = 1230–1530 kg (2709–3373 lb)
predecessor = Alfa Romeo 155
successor = Alfa Romeo 159
related = Alfa Romeo GT
Alfa Romeo 147
fuel_capacity = Convert|63|L|1|impgal|1||abbr=on
similar = Audi A4
BMW 3 Series
Lexus IS 200
Saab 9–3
Volvo S40
designer = Walter de'Silva
Giorgetto Giugiaro (2003 facelift)
The Alfa Romeo 156 (known internally as the type 932) is a compact executive car introduced by Italian automaker Alfa Romeo at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Showcite web|url=|title=Press release 01/09/1997||accessdate=2007-04-25] as the replacement for the Alfa Romeo 155. Cars were assembled at Fiat Group factory in Pomigliano d'Arco, Italy and General Motors facility in Rayong [] , Thailand (production in Thailand started March 2002 and lasted couple of years, cars were targeted for Asia Pacific marketsCite web|url=|title=Equipment Boost For 2002 Alfa Romeo 166|accessdate=2008-01-27|] ). Between 1997 and 2005, 680,000 examples of the 156 were produced,cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 159 article||accessdate=2007-04-25] a huge success for the brand.

The 156 was available in saloon and estate 'Sportwagon' bodystyles with seven engine configurations and it went through two facelifts, first in 2002 and second in 2003.


At the beginning the engine range encompassed four cylinder Twin Spark (1.6 L convert|120|PS|kW|abbr=on|lk=on, 1.8 L convert|144|PS|kW|abbr=on and 2.0 L convert|155|PS|kW|abbr=on) 16 valve engines with variable valve timing, along with the straight-4 1.9 litre 8-valve convert|105|PS|kW|abbr=on and straight-5 2.4 litre 10-valve convert|136|PS|kW|abbr=on JTD common rail turbodiesel engines. Until January 2002, the range-topping engine was the venerable double overhead camshaft 2.5 litre 24-valve Alfa Romeo V6 engine rated at convert|190|PS|kW|abbr=on.

Initially the 156 range was available with different options (packs) like a sport pack that could include either Blitz clothing , Momo leather interior or Recaro seats, it also included 16 inch wheels, lowered suspension and leather steering wheel and gear knob. There was also available De-Luxe pack with Momo's mahogany steering wheel and gear knob and for Nordic countries special winter pack consisting of fog lights, headlight washers and heated seats.

Starting from 1999 five-speed "Selespeed" sequential transmission came as an option to 2.0 litre Twin Spark version and four-speed automatic "Q-System" to 2.5 litre V6 version,cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo history 1990–2000||accessdate=2007-04-25] the Q-system can be used as normal automatic or shift manually with H-pattern, it has three automatic modes: city, sport and ice.

A significant addition to the 156 range was the Sportwagon estate in 2000, a first attempt at an estate car of this size for the company. Sportwagon was also available with Boge-Nivomat self-levelling hydropneumatic rear suspension.cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 156 restyling article, page 5||accessdate=2007-04-25] The Sportwagon was marketed as lifestyle estatewithout large carrying capacity.Cite web|url=|title=2003 Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 JTS Sportwagon review|accessdate=2007-08-06|]

In 2001 engines were upgraded, engines complied with Euro3 norm and outputed convert|120|PS|kW|abbr=on (1.6 L), convert|140|PS|kW|abbr=on (1.8 L), convert|150|PS|kW|abbr=on (2.0 L) and convert|192|PS|kW|abbr=on (2.5 L).

Exterior styling

The 156 was designed by Alfa Centro Stile under control of head designer Walter de'Silva.Cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 156 Women's view|accessdate=2008-01-27|] Its distinctive style with its high curved flanks, retro styled front door handles, hidden rear door handles, dramatic deep grille and sweeping profile made it, to some, the best looking car in its class.Cite web|url=|title=ALFA ROMEO 156|accessdate=2008-01-27|] The car was one of the first saloons to feature hidden rear door handles and prominent front door handles to give it a coupé look. The design was influenced by three historical Alfa Romeo models: the 1900, the Giulietta and the Giulia.cite web|url=|title=History of Alfa Romeo 156 (project 932) (v2.0)||accessdate=2007-04-25] The 156 achieved a drag coefficient ("C"d) of 0.31.The sportwagon bodystyle filled a gap in the market that Alfa Romeo had distanced themselves from since the 33 SportWagon of the 1980s. The 156 Sportwagon was released to much critical acclaim, being one of the best, if not one of the most spacious estate cars available. Oddly enough, the 156 saloon has more luggage space than the sportwagon.Cite web|url=|title=ALFA ROMEO 156 1.9 JTD 140|accessdate=2007-11-08|] It can be seen the sportwagon is a hatchback version of the 156 with much better access to storage. Other differences included a lower ride height, side skirts as standard and a factory spoiler.Walter de'Silva has commented the design of the 156 as: cquote|"perfectly balanced."

Interior styling

The 1998 original interior builds on a benchmark set by Alfa Romeo in their previously released Alfa Romeo 166, with a deeply scalloped upper dashboard and simple centre console. All of the main controls and displays are angled towards the driver in typical Italian sports car style, although this can sometimes be awkward for passengers who will struggle to see the interior clock. Despite being a family car, the interior design lacks cup holders, which normally come standard in saloons. Typically, for a smaller executive car, there is ample room up front for the driver and passenger to sit comfortably, with very comfortable seats. However, rear seat passengers may find the design restrictive in overall room. The 156 is a car for four people, rather than five, although later models did add a full centre seatbelt in place of the lap belt in earlier models.

2002 saw an update to both the interior and exterior of the 156.

Platform and suspension

The 156 uses a platform derived from the Alfa Romeo 155, which in turn was derived from the Fiat Group's "Tipo" platform. However it is sufficiently different from the original "Tipo" one to be seen as a new platform.Cite web|url=|title=Tipo's derivatives|accessdate=2007-07-24|] Cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 156|accessdate=2007-07-24|] The 156 is a highly-developed front-wheel drive car; (the Cross/Sportwagon Q4 offered four-wheel drive in left-hand drive markets) with a double high wishbone front suspension and all independent multi-link rear suspension, [It's a common mistake to think that car has McPherson rear suspension, with shock absorber has combined with the spring, but this isn't McPherson,] which consists of a telescopic vertical strut with coaxial spring and two transverse links of different lengths and a longitudinal strut. This structure means that the rear wheels have a small passive steering ability. Weight saving material (aluminum) has been used in several parts both front and rear suspension. The weight saving materials was also used in many other parts like magnesium framed front seats.Cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo - 156|accessdate=2008-03-03|]


2002 facelift

2002 also saw the arrival of a facelifted interior with different matte-finish surfacing and chrome highlights.New version used the 147's dual-zone digital climate control and CanBus serial wiring system, the interior climate could also be controlled via air quality sensor.Cite web|url=|title=Press Files/29/01/2002|accessdate=2007-07-29|] A different choice of colours were available for the interior, with the option of a two-tone interior very much like that BMW were introducing at the time. A wider range of options including xenon lighting, tele-informatics (CONNECT and CONNECT NAV) and a Bose stereo system were available, the stereo system could now also be operated via buttons on the steering wheel. Also the Selespeed gearbox control system was updated, buttons at steering wheel were replaced by paddle shifters, like seen earlier on Alfa Romeo 147. In the center console was added multifunctional display with trip computer, fault and service monitor. Also electronic stability control VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control) and slip control ASR (Anti Slip Regulation) came as standard. Passive safety was also made better, all versions gotwindow airbags as standard. The 2.0 L JTS convert|165|PS|kW|abbr=on gasoline direct injection engine replaced the 2.0 litre Twin Spark engine, offering more low end torque and more power than the Twin Spark, diesel engines were also uprated. Only notable difference exterior-wise was a body colored mirrors and bumper strips which were earlier black.

2003 facelift (2nd series)

Late 2003 saw the launch of a facelifted 156, with new front and rear fascias designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro.Cite web|url=|title=Press Files/05/06/2003|accessdate=2007-07-29|] To the top of range was added new TI trim level (Turismo Internazionale) designating a sporty kit, this version was equipped with modified suspension, bigger wheels (215/45 17") and leather-trimmed interior. This mid-life facelift divided opinion with some preferring the prettier pre-facelift look with others singing the praises of the newer more aggressive demeanour of the latter models. The GTA models never received the exterior update. Diesel engines underwent a major re-working, new four valve per cylinder heads were added, second stage common rail injection with 1400 bar maximum injection pressure with up to five injections per cycle for lower noise, consumption and higher performance. They were rated at 140/150 PS (103/110 kW) for straight-4 1.9 litre 16-valve and convert|175|PS|kW|abbr=on for straight-5 2.4 litre 20-valve.

2004 Q4 variants

In 2004, Q4 (short for Quadrifoglio 4) four-wheel drive versions arrived to some markets, which were known as the Crosswagon Q4 and Sportwagon Q4 (both using the 1.9 L convert|150|PS|kW|abbr=on JTD diesel engine). These cars were equipped with a Torsen C four-wheel drive system and raised ride heights (Crosswagon height: convert|1497|mm|in|1|abbr=on, Sportwagon convert|1458|mm|in|1|abbr=on.cite web|url=|title=News 18/2/04||accessdate=2007-04-25] The Crosswagon version was made to look more like all-terrain vehicle; door sill aluminium protection, front and rear bumpers were equipped with aluminium inserts. The Sportwagon Q4 was a normal looking version with just slighly higher ground clearance than the front wheel drive Sportwagon.

The 156 saloon was discontinued late in 2005 in Europe, Q4 Crosswagon was produced to the end of 2006. The 156 was replaced with 159, which also spawned the Brera, the 2-door coupe that replaces the GTV along with its convertible sister the new Spider.

Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

In September 2001, the 156 GTA and Sportwagon GTA were launched atthe Frankfurt Motor Show. The GTA was named after the Alfa Romeo GTA from the 1960s, the letters GTA meaning Gran Turismo Alleggerita ( _en. lightened Grand Tourer).Even though the name suggests a light car, the GTA isn't any lighter than base 156. It was actually convert|91|kg|lb| heavier than 2.5 litre V6 engined version.Cite web|url=|title=Fortissimo!|accessdate=2008-01-29|] With its 3.2 litre engine its easy to get very varying fuel consumption figures, the EC urban fuel consumption is convert|15.6|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus|lk=on and combined convert|23.3|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus|abbr=on, extra-urban consumption is convert|32.8|mpgimp|L/100 km mpgus|abbr=on.Cite web|url=|title=Road Tests Alfa Romeo 156 GTA|accessdate=2008-01-29|author=Graham Whyte|]

The very first GTA was sold on-line auction from September 13 to 23, the duration of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Winning bid was 48,691.26 euros, which was donated to "Telethon" charity fund.cite web|url=|title=Press release27/09/2001||accessdate=2007-04-25] Equipped with a 3.2 litre V6 with six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Selespeed (paddles in steering wheel, hydraulically operated clutchless manual gearbox), the GTA variants were aimed at the performance market. The GTA variants boasted convert|250|PS|kW|abbr=on, had a lowered and stiffened suspension, a distinctive body kit and leather interior. The suspension was specifically made for the GTA by Fiat Research Centre and Fiat Auto Design and Development Department.Cite web|url=|title=Press Files/29/01/2002|accessdate=2007-07-24|] Steering was also made faster, only 1.7 turns from lock to lock compared to 2.1 in normal models. The GTA had also much bigger brakes (Brembo), at front 305 millimetres (12 in) discs and rear 276 millimetres (10.8 in). The front discs were later updated to 330 millimetres (13 in). The GTA subsequently stopped production in October 2005 citing the upcoming replacement to the 156, the Alfa Romeo 159.


The 156 offered various engines and power levels during its lifespan, four and six cylinder petrol engines and four and five cylinderdiesel engines, all produced at Pratola Serra except the V6 engine , which was produced at Alfa Romeo's Arese plant. Cite web|url=|title=TECHNICAL SPECIFICIFICATIONS|accessdate=2007-08-02|] Cite web|url=|title=new models: facelifted Alfa Romeo 156 and Sportwagon including GTA versions|accessdate=2007-08-02|] Cite web|url=|title=Press Files 20/01/1999 ALFA 156: TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS|accessdate=2007-08-02|] Cite web|url=|title=Technical information|accessdate=2007-08-02|] The 1.9 JTD diesel was world's first common rail diesel engine in a passenger car.Cite web|url=|title=New Powertrain Technologies Conference|accessdate=2008-04-08|]

"*Crosswagon Q4 topspeed is convert|192|km/h|mi/h|0|abbr=on and acceleration 0–100 km/h (62,5 mph) is 10.5 seconds, for Sportwagon Q4 numbers are convert|200|km/h|mi/h|0|abbr=on and 10.2 seconds."

pecial versions

Alfa Romeo 156 GTAm

Alfa Romeo 156 GTAm was shown at Bologna Motor Show in December 2002, car was built by Fiat Group's partner N-Technology. The GTA Auto cc|3179 engine was bored to Auto cc|3548 and power pushed to convert|300|PS|kW|abbr=on.cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 156 GTAm article||accessdate=2007-04-25 It icon] Car had widened wheel arches and 19 inch tyres and it was equipped with N-Technology limited slip differential. This car never reached production phase.

Autodelta 156 GTA 3.7 V6

London based aftermarket tuning company Autodelta made also two high performance versions based on 156 GTA, in GTA AM version Alfa Romeo V6 engine was bored to Auto cc|3750, which was capable to push convert|328|PS|kW|abbr=on at 7300 rpm. With this power car can reach top speed of 280 kilometres per hour (175 mph).The other one GTA AM Super was "upgrade" to the first version, now fitted with Rotrex supercharger and pushing out convert|400|PS|kW|abbr=on.cite web|url=|title=Technical details||accessdate=2007-04-25]


In 1998, an international jury of 56 journalists (40 of whom voted for the 156) 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".cite web|url=|title=Previous winners||accessdate=2007-04-25] The 2.5 V6 engine was awarded with the International Engine of the Year award in 2000.Cite web|url=|title=Previous Winners|accessdate=2007-08-02|] The 156 has won more than 35 awards,cite web|url=|title=Alfa Romeo 156 restyling article, page 9||accessdate=2007-04-25] including:

*Technical Innovation Award - Common Rail 1998 - (Autocar - Great Britain)
*Best Compact Executive 1998 - (What Car? - Great Britain)
*Best Compact Executive Car 1998 - (Auto Express - Great Britain)
*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)
*European Award for Automotive Design in Belgium 1998
*Car of the Year in Denmark, Spain, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, Portugal, France and Croatia 1998
*Car of the Year in South Africa 1999 (South African Guild of Motoring Journalists)cite web|url=|title=South African Car of the Year, Previous Winners||accessdate=2007-04-25]
*Prix de l’Innovation Technique pour le Common Rail 1997 (France)
*L’automobile più bella del mondo ("The most beautiful car in the world") in Italy 1997


The Alfa Romeo 156 was as well vested in motorsport as its predecessor, the 155. It runs in the
British Touring Car Championship as well as various European championships, most notably the WTCC and formerly the ETCC where it was especially successful. The 156 sports car program was run by Fiat Group's partnerN.Technology S.p.A., originally founded as Nordauto Squadra Corse to compete in Italian Touring Car Championship.In 1994 name was changed to Nordauto Engineering and 2001 to N.Technology.cite web|url=|title=N.Technology background||accessdate=2007-04-25] In 1998 Alfa Romeo also offered for sale the 156 Group N version for the track. The 156 Group N had no carpets, seats or upholstery, but included additional track safety devices. The 156 has won the following titles:

*1998 Italian Super Touring Car Championship - Alfa Romeo 156 D2, Fabrizio Giovanardi
*1999 Italian Super Touring Car Championship - Alfa Romeo 156 D2, Fabrizio Giovanardi
*2000 European Super Touring Car Cup Winner - Alfa Romeo 156 D2, Fabrizio Giovanardi
*2001 FIA European Touring Car Championship - Alfa Romeo 156 D2, Fabrizio Giovanardi
*2002 FIA European Touring Car Championship - Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Super 2000, Fabrizio Giovanardi
*2003 FIA European Touring Car Championship – Alfa Romeo 156 Super 2000, Gabriele Tarquini

Touring versions:
*Alfa Romeo 156 D2, 1997 cc convert|310|PS|kW|abbr=on @ 8200 rpm
*Alfa Romeo 156 GTA Super 2000, 1998 cc convert|260|PS|kW|abbr=on @ 8450 rpm
*Alfa Romeo 156 Super 2000, 1998 cc convert|275|PS|kW|abbr=on @ 8450 rpm

Coloni S1 Alfa Romeo 156

Italian race car constructor Coloni made an one-off racing car prototype for FIA Group-E Formula Libre called Coloni S1 Coloni S1 Alfa Romeo 156 or 156 Maxiturismo.Cite web|url=|title=156 Maxiturismo|accessdate=2008-10-04|] The car is carbon fibre silhouette racing car on tubular frame,Cite web|url=|title=Engineering|accessdate=2008-10-04|] powered with 3.0 litre Alfa Romeo V6 engine producing between convert|380|bhp|kW|abbr=on and convert|500|bhp|kW|abbr=on. The car has 6-speed Hewland-Coloni sequential gearbox and weights around convert|900|kg|lb. The car is able to achieve over convert|310|km/h.Cite web|url=|title=Engineering|accessdate=2008-10-04|]


External links

* [ Alfa Romeo 156 resources (International)]

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