Drive – Alfa Romeo 156 2001-06 Used Car Review

22 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Drive – Alfa Romeo 156 2001-06 Used Car Review

David Morley


and handling rarely come as well as they did in the 156. and sure-footed

Interior is a nice from the norm. Looks without being twee

Spark engine is smooth and

V6 offers more urge and smoothness. Alfa V6s have been good

Looks from any angle


quality not to the standard of some particularly Japanese –

Other European cars in the class offer better value

Niggling small problems

Many previous thought they were a Ferrari and drove accordingly

examples of the vehicle will be showing their age

It’s said that without the of its followers, Alfa Romeo have ceased to be a viable many years ago.

is an element of truth in that the believers will often many of the mechanical or quality inherent in some Alfa But the original statement ignores the that such fanaticism is the of more than a century of and a corporate past studded tremendous cars. No, they all been pinnacles of four-wheeled but Alfa Romeo has never in the business of making bland

On the other hand, Australia was Alfa’s happiest hunting and some very mediocre in the 1980s led to the brand almost off here.

With a new importer and potentially exciting product in the all eyes were on Alfa for its relaunch.

It did look promising: as as the 166 luxury sedan, we were to the Spider, the new GTV and the model that had the broadest appeal, the 156. was no mistaking the 156 for anything other an Alfa.

The trademark grille and aggressive looks made it a thing, even in station-wagon

A particularly nice touch was the illusion that the sedan was a car. By hiding the rear door handles (they part of the rear window Alfa Romeo gave the car a look that matched its profile.

Inside, you were to a range of truly wonderful elements, including what like pleated leather, big instruments and a sporty steering The seats were a delight, with their tailored

Powering the 156 was a choice of engines and The base-model – and probably the – version used the Spark 2.0-litre, four-cylinder and a five-speed manual gearbox. choice would be the 2.5-litre V6 a four-speed automatic gearbox, the poor relations were the that got stuck with the engine and what Alfa its Selespeed clutchless manual

Even with five the Selespeed was – like clutchless manuals of that era truly awful, with a nature and absolutely no finesse. steering wheel-mounted shift couldn’t save it. Give it a big

With 114kW and the five-speed fitted, though, the basic 156 was and willing, and loved to rev. though it was down a little on compared with some of the it was so refined and characterful, you soon it. The V6, meanwhile, advertised 140kW in reality, it wasn’t much than the four-cylinder.

In late Alfa pulled the plug on of the Twin Spark engine, it with a new generation of engines JTS. That’s only correct because the JTS four-cylinder was based on the Twin Spark’s end. The big change was a move to fuel injection, which power (to 122kW) and lowered consumption.

More expensive to than the Twin Spark, it nonetheless, a step forward and the 156’s efficiency. The best was that it still had that fizzy feel that the Twin Spark such a thing.

If it is a Twin Spark car you’re looking at, make the engine isn’t making any noises. A few early cars had a fault in the engine’s castings could potentially rob the unit of oil leading to catastrophic failure. To be though, any car with this would almost certainly shown up by now and been fitted a replacement engine.

On manual-gearbox cars, get up to operating move the gearbox to neutral and let out the Any change in the noise coming the driveline could mean a clutch thrust bearing. isn’t the end of the world but it is an engine or job and that’s always a bit complicated in a car such as the 156.

Make any Selespeed (should a clutchless 156 be selects all five gears hesitation. Third gear can go missing but it’s usually the of an electronic sensor rather part of the transmission’s hardware, so not a huge fix. Still, always better to be safe sorry with gearboxes these, so a pre-purchase once-over by a technician is good insurance.

Alfa Romeo build has always had a bit of a question mark it and the 156 could be patchy.

The biggest now are likely to be with the electrics. that power windows, locking and all the switches and gizmos as they should.

Take the to drive the car over a relatively patch of bitumen and listen for bangs and rattles. A 156 without a of such noises is likely to led a very pampered life.

to know

#9632;Electrical problems interiors. Make sure all window switches work and the locking obeys commands.

handful of early 2.0-litre had a machining fault that the bearings of oil, resulting in a engine. Should have detected and fixed by now,

#9632;Noisy clutch thrust is a bad sign, as it’s a gearbox-out job to

#9632;Drive over some and listen for rattles. A 156 with no has probably been babied new. Even well-cared-for can be a bit loose in the interior trim

#9632;Make sure any Selespeed have all their gears and accounted for. Third can sometimes stop working but usually an electrical sensor rather than the gearbox

#160; The competitors

Not as quirky as its forebears, nor filled with as character. The 9-3 illustrates why a big corporate of a boutique brand is sometimes bad Turbo engines are good, suspension not so good.

Makes you how Peugeot lost the plot so The 406 was never distinctive, never and never really sold in any Engines are lame, quality is

Well built, classy to and great ergonomically. The turbocharged, versions are best. Don’t the wagon. It’s handsome and big

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