26.10.1997

Alfa 156: Wheels and steering


Wheels
The Alfa 156's beautiful road manners are helped by tyres that achieve the ideal compromise between handing and comfort. The 1.6 and 1.8 T. Spark and both turbodiesel versions adopt 185/65 R15" tyres for minimum drift on bends combined with an outstanding ability to absorb bumps in the road. With its extra engine power the Alfa 156 2.0 T. Spark and 2.5 V6 24V gets wider and lower profile 205/60 R15" tyres.
The effective performance and optimum lateral grip of the Alfa 156's tyres also derive from the use of a 6" rim on the 1.6 T. Spark, 1.8 T. Spark and 1.9 JTD; a 6.5" version on the rest of the range. All versions also offer 205/55 R16" tyres with the optional sports kit package for even faster responses and even better roadholding.

Steering
The technical specifications of the Alfa 156's steering system explain its safety and precision at high speeds, its superlatively easy handling in all situations and the sheer effortlessness involved in manoeuvring an Alfa 156 into a tight parking space or at low speed.
The standard power steering on all Alfa 156 versions is unusually quiet. That's because baffles have been inserted into the pressure lines to minimise drone, and cooling coils are used on the oil circuit.
The rack and pinion elements in the Alfa 156's steering box have been enlarged to keep the steering line taut enough for ultra-precise steering at all times. In addition, the Twin Spark and the two turbodiesels adopt a new and unusually quiet Saginaw pump.
Kerb-to-kerb, the turning circle of the Alfa 156 is just 11.10 metres on 4-cylinder petrol versions, rising to 11.60 m on the others.
The Alfa 156 also offers an excellent servo ratio, this being the ratio between the force applied to the steering wheel and the pressure generated in the power steering circuit. Here, the lower the figure, the lighter the steering and the ideal setting, the one that offers the best possible balance between lightness of steer from a standing start and good road grip at high speeds, is around 5 Nm/40 bar. So the Alfa 156 is doing very well indeed with its figure of 4 Nm pressure to be applied to the steering wheel from a standing start.
The steering unit is coupled to a telescopic steering column divided into two sections for optimum comfort and safety. The lower section collapses to ensure that the steering wheel remains in position in the event of a collision. Meanwhile the upper section slides for axial, and tilts for rake adjustment. Next, the use of a steel bracket and an extra-stiff magnesium support eliminates any possibility of steering wheel vibration.
Finally, the steering wheel lock is a friction-type unit in line with EU anti-theft regulations to protect the entire steering column-clamp assembly in the event of a break-in.


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