Alfa 156 was a type 932 compact executive car that is considered to be the predecessor of the Alfa Romeo 159. The 156 was introduced at the 1997 Motor show and was produced commercially from 1997 to 2007. Like the 159, the 156 was available in both sedan and sportwagon variants and several other engine variants. The car was designed by Alfa Romeo head designer Walter de’Silva and the design was a modern day rendition of the classic Alfa Romeo 1900, The Giulietta and the Giulia.
The 156 was built on the same platform as the Alfa Romeo 155. The 155’s platform was a slightly modified version of the Fiat group’s ‘Tipo’ platform. The 156 was launched as an advanced front wheel drive type car which was later introduced with the ‘Q4’ four wheel drive and several other features.
Facelifts and Other Versions
In 2002, the 156 saw its first facelift. The new version of the car included several features like the climate control air conditioning, better interiors and upholstery, better handling and engine mechanics and mild improvements in the car’s design. The passenger safety was significantly improved in this version and various new body colors were introduced.
The 156’s second facelift came in 2003, when the car underwent a major design overhaul with a new ‘robust’ grille and a more streamlined rear. The suspension of the car was modified and was fitted with wider and bigger wheels. The people’s reaction was however mixed as some praised the prettiness of the earlier design while some felt the vehicle looked more mean and aggressive with the new design. The interiors were designed by the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro and the car’s engine performance and handling was further improved making it a popular choice in 2003.
In 2004 the ‘Q4’ Crosswagon (Sportwagon) variants were launched, the ‘Q4’ refers to the 4 wheel drive version of the 156. In a four wheel drive all the 4 wheels receive torque from the engine which allows better handling of the car on all terrains. The GTA version of the 156 was also released in 2001 and was available in both Sedan and Sportwagon variants. Despite of its name meaning a lighter vehicle, the 156 GTA was fitted with a considerably heavier V6 engine.
The various special versions of the Alfa Romeo were launched during the time the car was in production. The most popular ones are as follows.
- Alfa Romeo 156 GTAm – The car was built by N. Technology a partner of the Fiat group. It featured a 3,179 CC engine and an N technology slip differential. Nevertheless, the car never reached the commercial production phase.
- Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon GTA 3.5 Autodelta – Alfa Romeo’s racing division Autodelta built the car and unveiled it at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show. It was powered by a 3,548 cc V6 engine and several design and component changes were made to the car’s suspension and handling. The car’s weight was also reduced by the use of lighter material.
- Autodelta 156 GTA 3.7 V6 – The London based branch of Autodelta designed this car and launched it in 2004. The car was fitted with a 3,750 cc Alfa Romeo V6 engine that helped the car reach top speeds upto 280 kilometers per hour.
The various engine variants of the Alfa Romeo 156 are listed below
- Alfa Romeo 156 1.6 (TS) petrol
- Alfa Romeo 156 1.8 (TS) petrol
- Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 (TS) petrol
- Alfa Romeo 156 2.0 (JTS) petrol
- Alfa Romeo 156 2.5 petrol
- Alfa Romeo 1563.2 petrol
- Alfa Romeo 1561.9 diesel (JTD)
- Alfa Romeo 156 2.4 diesel (JTD)