29 Gennaio 2002

New Alfa 156 and Alfa 156 GTA


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The models in brief

One date in Alfa Romeo's recent history was responsible for bringing about a revolution in Brand sales and image. The auspicious date, October 9 1997, was the day when the international press got its first glimpse of the Alfa 156 in Lisbon. At that moment, Alfa Romeo stepped up to reclaim its own tradition and also its place in the tight circle of prestige sports car manufacturers.

Later models were to build on this success: from the flagship 166 to the effervescent Sportwagon and the newer, highly acclaimed compact Alfa 147. Yet the event that set Alfa Romeo on its new path was the appearance of the 156, a medium-sized car that encloses all Alfa's proud sporting and engineering heritage within one clean, stylish Italian-looking package.

We did not have to wait for long to see the results. The new car won acclaim from the press, who voted it 'Car of the Year 1998' (this award was followed by 35 more accolades) and motorists themselves, who ordered 90,000 units. The other motor manufacturers also had to sit up and take notice. It did not take long for them to follow suite and extend their ranges to include the common rail turbodiesel engines you first saw on the Alfa saloon.

The Alfa 156 has gone from strength to strength in the intervening four years. It has sold just under half a million saloon and Sportwagon units throughout the world. It now occupies an enviable position in European segment D, where it has easily tripled the Alfa Romeo share: from 0.7% in 1996 to 3.2% in 2001. It also boosted overall brand sales, which rose - in Europe - from 117,500 in 1996 (0.9%) to 202,100 in 2001 (1.4%), i.e. an increase of 72%.

The model now confirms its own vitality by offering the public the new Alfa 156 and Sportwagon. The only features that these two cars share with their predecessors are their external line (so appreciated by motorists around the world) and their intrinsic irrepressible personality and outstanding dynamic assets. Everything else has undergone deep-seated changes to offer: better performance, more safety, a comprehensive telematic array and more opulent interiors.

And more. The new Alfa 156 also complements its range with two all-new cars. In other words, the Alfa 156 GTA and the Sportwagon GTA, cars that represent the quintessence of brand values and revive a legendary name that inspired the slogan 'A win a day for the car you drive to work' for the Giulia Sprint in the mid-Sixties.

The outcome is two good-looking, sporty cars that are designed for everyday use yet still able to ensure racetrack sensation under certain circumstances.

New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon The new Alfa 156 and Sportwagon offer more performance. The model has another sophisticated automotive engineering ace up its sleeve in the form of a brand new power unit that is Alfa Romeo's interpretation of a direct injection petrol engine. The engine is referred to as a JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric) and is the first direct injection petrol engine with a specific power greater than 60 kW/l and a specific torque higher than 100 Nm/l. It guarantees the performance of a 2.3 unit, yet consumes 10% less fuel.

This revolutionary new engine reduces fuel consumption by adopting a stratified charge lean burn system at speeds of up to 1500 rpm. Above this threshold, the engine harnesses all the engine's power to increase performance. Unlike other lean burn engines, the new unit is fitted with a normal trivalent catalytic converter and can use the normal unleaded fuel on sale today instead of low sulphur fuel. The engine already meets the strict Euro 4 emission limits due to come into force.

The new 2.0 JTS (the acronym destined to identify an entire family of future Alfa Romeo models) is joined by a 2.4 JTD turbodiesel with power increased from 140 to 150 bhp, a 2.0 JTS Selespeed (with improved sequential gearbox operation) and the tried and tested petrol-driven 1.6 T. Spark, 1.8 T. Spark and 2.5 V6 24V. Plus the 1.9 JTD. All in all, an engine range that is bound to accentuate the car's outstanding performance. As is borne out by the performance results.


Performance of engines fitted to the New Alfa 156 (saloon))

Engine Capacity cc Maximum power kW (bhp) Maximum torque Nm (kgm) Top speed km/h Acceleration 0-100 km/h (seconds) Fuel consumption litres/100 km (EUDC combined)
1.6 T. Spark 1598 88 (120)
at 6200 r.p.m.
146 (14,9)
at 4200 r.p.m.
200 10,5 8,2
1.8 T. Spark 1747 103 (140)
at 6500 r.p.m.
163 (16,6)
at 3900 r.p.m.
208 9,4 8,5
2.0 JTS (manual gearbox) 1970 121 (165)
at 6400 r.p.m.
206 (21)
at 3250 r.p.m.
220 8,2 8,6
2.0 JTS (Selespeed) 1970 121 (165)
at 6400 r.p.m.
206 (21)
at 3250 r.p.m.
220 8,2 8,6
2.5 V6 24V 2492 141 (192)
at 6300 r.p.m.
218 (22,2)
at 5000 r.p.m.
230 7,3 11,8
2.5 Q-System 2492 141 (192)
at 6300 r.p.m.
218 (22,2)
at 5000 r.p.m.
227 8,5 11,9
1.9 JTD 1910 85 (115)
at 4000 r.p.m.
275 (28)
at 2000 r.p.m.
195 10,3 5,8
2.4 JTD 2387 110 (150)
at 4000 r.p.m.
305 (31)
at 1800 r.p.m.
212 9,4 6,6


Performance of engines fitted to the New Alfa Sportwagon
Engine Capacity cc Maximum power kW (bhp) Maximum torque Nm (kgm) Top speed km/h Acceleration 0-100 km/h (seconds) Fuel consumption litres/100 km (EUDC combined)
1.6 T. Spark 1598 88 (120)
at 6200 r.p.m.
146 (14,9)
at 4200 r.p.m.
200 11,0 8,3
1.8 T. Spark 1747 103 (140)
at 6500 r.p.m.
163 (16,6) at 3900 r.p.m. 208 9,7 8,6
2.0 JTS (manual gearbox) 1970 121 (165)
at 6400 r.p.m.
206 (21)
at 3250 r.p.m.
220 8,2 8,9
2.0 JTS (Selespeed) 1970 121 (165)
at 6400 r.p.m.
206 (21)
at 3250 r.p.m.
220 8,2 8,9
2.5 V6 24V 2492 141 (192)
at 6300 r.p.m..
218 (22,2)
at 5000 r.p.m.
230 7,4 12,0
2.5 Q-System 2492 141 (192) at 6300 r.p.m. 218 (22,2) at 5000 r.p.m. 227 8,5 12,2
1.9 JTD 1910 85 (115)
at 4000 r.p.m.
275 (28)
at 2000 r.p.m.
195 10,7 6,0
2.4 JTD 2387 110 (150)
at 4000 r.p.m.
305 (31)
at 1800 r.p.m.
212 9,4 6,7


Safety is improved on the New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon too. Active safety is improved by VDC (Vehicle Dynamic Control), now fitted - as standard - on all New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon cars. The electronic system controls the car's dynamic stability and cuts in under near-limit conditions to help the driver to control the car. v The MSR (Motor Schleppmoment Regelung) cuts in when the gear is shifted down abruptly under conditions of low grip. This device restores torque to the engine to prevent the wheel skidding as a result of lock.

The best possible visibility in all driving and weather conditions is assured by Xenon headlamps (optional). These offer a lighting intensity and duration twice that of normal halogen headlamps and are also more efficient (85 instead of 25 lumen per Watt).

As far as passive safety is concerned, all versions are now fitted as standard with window-bags that drop down along the windows in the case of side impact to safeguard the heads of front and rear occupants. Isofix attachments to the left and right of the rear seat also secure child seats easily and safely.

More performance, then, more safety - and also more comfort. In-car comfort is improved on the New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon by an automatic bi-zone climate control system that allows the driver and front passenger to adjust their air temperature levels as though each had their own personal heater or air conditioner.

Interior microclimate quality is controlled by an Air Quality Sensor that automatically activates air recirculation when the car is travelling around town, in tunnels or in traffic jams.

Comfort also means automatic devices that reduce the demands of driving on the motorist. Such as a rain sensor that automatically activates the windscreen wipers at the first drops of rain. Or Cruise Control, so useful on motorway trips because it automatically maintains a cruising speed set by the driver.

A brand-new multifunctional display forms the centrepiece of the control panel on the New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon. This fulfils the twofold function of informing the customer of the main trip parameters (Trip computer) and also indicating any car faults quickly and accurately together with information on the action required.

The dashboard is equipped - as standard throughout the range - with a built-in radio with cassette or CD player according to the specification. All possible options share an excellent sound system. The system has been designed and adjusted for the passenger compartment. It comprises six speakers and offers a power output of 4 x 40 Watts.

The radio may also be activated by controls on the steering wheel.

These radical changes to the Alfa 156 have allowed us to add all the devices that technological developments in the computer and telematics industry have created in the years since the original model launch. The New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon therefore come with an array of equipment that includes the state-of-the-art CONNECT system and a sophisticated Hi-Fi system by Bose®, the US company that leads the world in this sector.

The New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon may feature many new technical features, but the changes do not end here. The exterior styling of both cars is the same, but the interior environment has been enhanced by large and small style changes that radically change the appearance.

Just for starters, the facia has been fully revised and made even more good-looking and practical by a new treatment that creates surface micro-roughness that alters light refraction for greater tactile gratification.

The built-in radio and automatic bi-zone climate control system controls are located low down in the middle of the facia. The latter are produced in a brand-new up-to-date, sophisticated design.

The control wheels feature new appearance and materials while the new central diffuser upper outlets are bigger and adjustable horizontally and vertically to improve air flow. The central console is also different because the sensation of space has been increased through the use of bigger ashtray and compartments and more user-friendly mirror and fog lamp positioning. A new front armrest, fitted as standard, is also revealed as a convenient oddments compartment.

Other changes include the steering wheel button panels, climate control system and gearbox control panels and the instrument and control surrounds, now painted in grey Techno metalluro. The facia air outlet and door handle rings are now chrome. And the seat adjustment controls are soft-touch.

Customers can also choose from three interior seat trim options: Classic in grey or blue shades, Elegant in airy beige and a darker sporty alternative that consists of black cloth run through with a red or grey rubber thread. The perforated leather trims come in five colours: black, blue, grey, red and natural. Other options include a sporty black leather trim.


Alfa 156 GTA
Alfa Romeos are universally acknowledged to be good-looking, sporty cars that combine a glittering racing pedigree with the cream of contemporary engineering. Cars that enhance everyday driving experience with a true racing feel and authentic driving satisfaction.

The Alfa 156 GTA and Sportwagon GTA offer all these attributes but also hold something extra in reserve: more performance, more handling, more braking capacity. All the dynamic performance of a car destined for the track, in other words.

The credit goes mainly to the exuberant engine concealed beneath the bonnet of both cars. A 3.2 V6 24V capable of a power output of 250 bhp and a torque of 300 Nm (30.6 kgm). A power unit that is capable of exhilarating performance that also makes the GTA extremely satisfying to drive even during everyday use. The torque curve reaches such high levels at low speeds that the car can be driven along in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm yet still sprint away without the need to change gear.


The 3.2 V6 24V power unit fitted to the Alfa 156 GTA
Engine Capacity cc Maximum power kW (bhp) Maximum torque Nm (kgm) Top speed km/h Acceleration 0-100 km/h (seconds) Fuel consumption litres/100 km (EUDC combined)
3.2 V6 24V
manual gearbox
3179 184 (250)
at 6200 r.p.m.
300 (30,6)
at 4800 r.p.m.
250 6,3 12,1
3.2 V6 24V Selespeed 3179 184 (250)
at 6200 r.p.m.
300 (30,6)
at 4800 r.p.m.
250 6,3 12,1
The 3.2 V6 24V power unit fitted to the Alfa Sportwagon GTA
Engine Capacity cc Maximum power kW (bhp) Maximum torque Nm (kgm) Top speed km/h Acceleration 0-100 km/h (seconds) Fuel consumption litres/100 km (EUDC combined)
3.2 V6 24V manual gearbox 3179 184 (250)
at 6200 r.p.m.
300 (30,6)
at 4800 r.p.m.
250 6,3 12,1
3.2 V6 24V Selespeed 3179 184 (250)
at 6200 r.p.m.
300 (30,6)
at 4800 r.p.m.
250 6,3 12,3



Yet sports cars need much more than excellent engines. For this reason, our engineers made more deep-seated changes to the already excellent base offered by the thoroughbred Alfa 156 saloon. Changes were made to all the parts that affect the car's dynamism, with the suspension first on the list. On the New Alfa 156, the lower beam of the high double-wishbone configuration front suspension adopted on the previous version has been reinforced. The specially designed wheel strut features a different steering link fastening position and the suspension also offers lower ride, new shock absorber spring settings and a bigger diameter anti-roll bar. The rear is fitted with a MacPherson strut system with particularly advanced geometry and construction details, different body attachment points, bigger diameter anti-roll bar and a special spring, shock absorber and bush settings.

More sporty feeling has been assured by a more direct steering ratio that gives you better control of the car and lets you do everything with pinpoint precision at the slightest turn of the wheel.

Then all we had to do was add two particularly effective gearboxes (one manual and one Selespeed); brakes that are powerful and effective even under the harshest conditions (305 x 28 mm ventilated front discs with twin-plunger Brembo calipers and 276x10 mm rear discs; an ABS with electronic brakeforce distributor (EBD); Anti Slip Regulation (ASR) system and everything was in place. The result is a car capable of thrilling performance and truly scintillating responses in terms of dynamism, ride and handling. All in all, a car for those who demand the very best when it comes to sportiness. And want it to be known without ostentation.

Hence the decision not to make radical changes to the much-lauded shape of the original saloon and Sportwagon but simply tweak a few features that add extra oomph to the model's sporty appeal.

All the stylistic changes are deliberately designed to enhance the functional appearance of the car and reflect technical changes to the chassis and mechanicals.

The car is still therefore recognisable from the outside and simply looks like a more beefy Alfa 156: wider, lower to the ground and more evidently glued to the road. This is partly due to the tyres fitted: 225/45 tyres on 17" wheels.

Inside, the GTAs offer the same opulent specification developed for the New Alfa 156 but add certain decidedly sporty details that are exclusive to the version. The main ones are: high-containment, sports configuration seats with an adjustable thigh support; steering wheel spokes with Peltro grey metalluro inserts; leather gear lever knob and gaiter; aluminium pedals with rubber inserts.

Images Alfa 156

Images Alfa Sportwagon

Images Alfa 156 GTA - Sportwagon GTA


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© 2011 FIAT S.p.A • P. IVA 00469580013 • Note LegaliCredits