- Weakness # 5 - a car for good roads and good weather.
- Weakness # 4 is maintenance complexity.
- Weakness # 3 - Selespeed engines and gearbox.
- Weakness # 2 is a stiff and sensitive suspension.
- Weakness # 1 is reliability.
- Advantage # 5 - design and durable body.
- Advantage # 4 - great interior.
- Advantage # 3 - manageability.
- Advantage # 2 - acceleration and stop.
- Advantage # 1 - emotions.
- Should I buy or not?
The best car in the world, which cannot be compared with any other - neither in beauty nor in behavior on the road. The most fragile car that completely empties the pockets of its owner. These two extremes of definitions refer to the same model - Alfa Romeo 156, which was unveiled at the 1997 Frankfurt Motor Show. The business class car (segment D) replaced the successful and popular (especially in Italy) model 155.
Alfa Romeo 156
The success of the new car was determined by a number of technical innovations, the main of which was the modern engines of the Alfa Romeo Twin Spark family with two liners per cylinder. This technology, together with variable valve timing, ensured decent power per liter of displacement.
Under the hood of the Alfa Romeo 156, in-line engines with 4 cylinders were placed - 1,6 liters (118 hp), 1,8 liters (142 hp), which in 2001, when switching to Euro 3 power, were reduced up to 138 hp) and 2,0-liter for 153 or 163 hp. Above them is a 2,5-liter V6 (189 hp), while the 156 GTA and 156 Sportwagon GTA versions received a 3,2-liter V6 with 247 hp. There are also diesels with a volume of 1,9 liters (from 104 to 148 hp) and 2,4 liters (from 134 to 173 hp).
The engines work with a 5- or 6-speed manual transmission, and the 2,5-liter V6 is mated with a 4-speed hydromechanical Q-system (developed by Aisin), but the main innovation is the Selespeed robotic gearbox. The suspension is sports - two-point at the front and multi-point at the rear. In 2000, the 156 Sportwagon appeared, considered by many to be more elegant than the sedan, and this is the work of maestro Giorgio Giugiaro.
Alfa Romeo 156
After him - in 2004, 156 Sportwagon Q4 and "almost crossover" Crosswagon Q4 were released, and these two variants remain the longest in production - until 2007. The sedan remained on the assembly line until 2005, with a total circulation of 156 units of the Alfa Romeo 680.
Should you buy this model now? However, he is already at a serious age, which is evident from his price, which is determined mainly by the condition of the car. Car owners point out 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses, respectively, that can help you.
Weakness # 5 - a car for good roads and good weather.
This car is designed for good European roads and dry weather (in Italy, severe winters occur only in the north). There, a clearance of 140-150 mm is quite enough. If you have a villa that can be reached via a dirt road, or if you like fishing, forget about this car and go to the crossover. Even in the city, you have to be very careful when passing speed bumps, even tram rails can be a problem.
Winter also does not suit Alpha 156, and here the reasons are not only in the small clearance and sports suspension. Locks, for example, often freeze, so car owners recommend always having clean alcohol on hand for defrosting. Cold also affects the ignition system, and sometimes affects the operation of the on-board computer.
Weakness # 4 is maintenance complexity.
Over the years, the Alfa Romeo 156 has become an increasingly rare vehicle, which in turn increases the cost of spare parts and makes maintenance more difficult and expensive. In big cities the situation is better, as some of the problems that have arisen can only be solved in workshops with specialized equipment. Since this is already a sum, this car is also quite complicated technically - its engine has 2 spark plugs per cylinder, and the Selespeed transmission is also difficult to maintain. The model is also quite moody. The gear oil must be owned by Tutela and no one else, so the owner simply has no choice. The instructions for the Twin Spark engine say that you need to use only Selenia oil and that's it, and changing the brake disc, for example, is a nightmare.
Weakness # 3 - Selespeed engines and gearbox.
Twin Spark engines and the Selespeed robotic transmission are the main technical innovations in the Alfa Romeo 156, as they give the car a sporty character. However, they are the cause of a large number of problems faced by owners of older vehicles.
Let's start with the engines - they are powerful and have impressive dynamics, but over time they start using oil. Standard procedures do not help with a problem such as replacing valve seals. A liter of oil runs for 1000 km, which is already a serious problem. And the overhaul of the engine is not cheap. Other problems include the timing belt, which must be changed frequently. The air flow sensor also quickly fails.
The Selespeed robotic gearbox also turns out to be quite moody, with oil leaks and power problems. The repair is quite difficult, so a replacement is the best option, but the unit itself is quite expensive and difficult to find. In general, the owners are unhappy with this box and recommend avoiding using it.
Weakness # 2 is a stiff and sensitive suspension.
Some people like the stiffer suspension, while others consider it a huge disadvantage for the car. Passing even the smallest irregularities on the road leaves a very unpleasant feeling that leads many to say, "This is the worst car I have ever driven." The brakes are also too harsh, and if you add the operation of the robotic gearbox, which is incomprehensible to many, it becomes clear why people do not like it. Worse in this case, another thing is that the suspension of the Alfa Romeo 156 is completely unbearable, and its repair is expensive. Anti-roll bars break down quickly and change frequently. This also applies to other basic elements, which cover no more than 40 - 000 kilometers. "The suspension is comfortable, but soft, and every year something needs to be changed," the owners of this car are adamant.
Weakness # 1 is reliability.
This parameter is actually quite controversial, especially when it comes to sports cars. In the opinion of hard-core alphas, the 156 is a car that will never let you down and will take you from where you left off. However, this was the case 10 years ago, when the car was relatively new. Then everything changes, and the problems become many and varied. It starts with ignition, passes through the air flow sensor and reaches the high pressure hose of the robotic transmission.
With this machine absolutely everything breaks down. A manual transmission, for example, should be more reliable than a robotic one, but it also fails. This also applies to other base units, which in turn affects the price of the vehicle. It falls quickly, which is somewhat good for those who thought it was their car.
Advantage # 5 - design and durable body.
The Alfa Romeo 156 belongs to the category of cars that fall in love at first sight. It is often bought according to the scheme “I didn't even think about it, but I accidentally saw it, lit it and bought it” or “20 years ago I fell in love and finally found a suitable car”. This is due to interesting details such as, for example, the hidden handles on the rear doors and the front end with an impressive bumper.
Another advantage of the model is that its body is made of thick enough metal and is completely galvanized. Protection against rust is at a high level, which is a serious plus, because the car is still at a serious age.
Advantage # 4 - great interior.
Both externally and internally, this is a great car. All dishes in the cabin are driver-oriented. The front panel is soft, materials and workmanship are top notch. The owners are very "chic" (according to the owners), with good lateral support and the ability to adjust. They are covered with trolley leather, which retains its high quality even after 20 years. The buttons are not very high quality, but they are easy to swallow.
The ergonomics of the cabin was also appreciated, since everything is arranged so that the driver is comfortable. Some details are unfamiliar, but that doesn't mean it's inconvenient. Sometimes complaints arise about the second row of seats, where it is difficult to fit three adults, and getting in and out of the car is not very pleasant for them. Trunk volume is not the largest - the sedan has 378 liters, but it's still not a truck.
Advantage # 3 - manageability.
Alfa fans are adamant that beauty, leather upholstery or comfortable seats are not the deciding factors when choosing the 156. The most important thing for them is the first feeling after driving a car. The handling is fantastic. Stands like on rails, and this is especially felt when cornering at high speeds. You think you’re driving on the edge, but you keep accelerating and the car continues to follow the set path without the slightest hint of skidding. Another feature of the Alfa Romeo 156 is the extremely sensitive steering wheel. The driver can only operate with his fingers, slightly adjusting the direction of travel. The car reacts quickly to any movement and can take the driver out of a critical situation. Perfectly overcomes obstacles at high speeds. However, you will have to get used to such a steering wheel, because when switching to a high gear, the driver sometimes accidentally turns a few more degrees, and this can be dangerous.
Advantage # 2 - acceleration and stop.
Everything can be said about the Alfa Romeo 156, but even the biggest critics of the model admit: "This car has come a long way." Acceleration performance is not particularly impressive - the version with the most powerful 2,0-liter engine accelerates 100 km / h from standstill in 8,6 seconds. But it happens in a wonderful way - 1st gear - 60 km / h, 2nd - 120 km / h and so on up to 210 km / h. Each gear is a stab in the back, a pedal on a sheet of metal and the feeling of an aircraft taking off. The engine spins up to 7200 rpm, which is also liked by true connoisseurs.
Many argue that this car is a real "provocateur" because it simply fills up gas. And it is very pleasant when you see the driver's amazed face at the traffic light BMW An X5 with a big bike that gets left far behind after you've thrown full throttle and pulled forward.
Fortunately, the brakes of the Alfa Romeo 156 are perfectly matched to the acceleration. They are sensitive and effective, which can sometimes be a problem. However, it quickly gets used to it, as the brakes, along with the responsive steering wheel and responsive engine, create a quore sport feel, which is why the car has so many fans.
Advantage # 1 - emotions.
This is a typical men's car and the owners treat it like a woman. According to some, it is necessary to constantly look after and look after her, while loving the "firm hand". Many people part with her to get her back in a few months. Or, as a last resort, get the same model.
What makes the Alfa Romeo 156 so unique? Great interior, impressive performance and steering. Driving this car, a person is transported to another world and is ready to forget all the troubles that he caused him. That is why brand love is the first and most important thing for purchasing this car.
Should I buy or not?
The most accurate definition of Alfa Romeo 156 is an unusual car, and the most important thing when choosing is the state of a particular instance. There are many cars on the market that are simply not worth looking at, even because bringing them back to normal can ruin the buyer. However, there are things worth it. And they quickly become a favorite toy, which they part with only as a last resort.