New Alfa 156 And Alfa Sportwagon | Part Four

156 Sportwagon (2003)

 

The New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon feature many changes to the exterior. But the improvements do not end here. The interior has also been enhanced by major and minor styling changes that alter its appearance. The aim: to increase the sensation of light and elegance while pursuing the close family ties with the Alfa 166 and the Alfa 147.

The facia has been completely revised and its good looks have been enhanced by a selection of three colourways: black on beige, black on grey, dark grey on light grey (tone on tone matches). The current sporty black facia complements these alternatives. The New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon are the only cars in this band to offer a leather-trimmed facia, ideal for sporty yet sophisticated customers.

The trims vary according to version and specification level and take the form of specially made cloth designed for quality and good looks. In particular, the new model now features Alfatex, a new high-tech cloth used to trim seats and door panels. Alfatex was patented by Alfa Romeo and takes the form of a microfibre used to improve transpiration and assure outstanding seating comfort and great elegance. On leather versions, special care has been taken over the seat and under-facia trim colour matches (black, grey or beige).

The centre of the facia reveals another new detail. The upper part features a multifunction display in an innovative, up-to-date design, while the lower part contains a built-in radio and mono-zone or automatic dual zone climate control system controls according to the specification. The radio, complemented by tape or CD player according to the specification, also offers an outstanding sound system designed and built for the passenger compartment that consists of six speakers and delivers a power output of 4x40 Watts.

Certain features such as the upper central diffuser outlets or seat adjustment controls have been carried over from the previous model. The outstandingly ergonomic position of the mirror and foglight controls is also unchanged. The same applies to the central console where the sensation of space has been increased by oddments compartments.

The exterior and interior have thus been revised in a quest for the sporty elegance that has always been written into Alfa's DNA. But all these good looks do not an Alfa Romeo car make. Because, as the Brand's new advertising slogan 'Beauty is not enough' puts it, an Alfa car is also a triumph of substance over form. Beginning with the outstanding engines that have always set Alfa at the pinnacle of world automotive engineering, often ahead of prestigious competitors. The brand is used to setting the benchmark that all must follow. This was certainly true for the Common Rail direct injection turbodiesel engines that were launched with the Alfa 156 in 1997. This world first immediately won over the public and experts alike for its sophisticated engineering qualities. In 2002, the Alfa 156 brought us another first: the 103 kW - 140 bhp) 1.9 JTD Multijet 16v engine, forerunner of the second generation of these power units, combined with a sporty 6-speed gearbox.

Now comes another record. Because the new models now bring us another world first, i.e. the mighty 129 kW (175 bhp) 2.4 JTD 5 cylinder Multijet 20v engine. This is the second member of the Common Rail power unit family to offer Multijet, multivalve technology and it is accordingly identified by the name 'm-jet' under the number of valves. This brand new power unit is flanked by the 2.0 JTS, Alfa Romeo's take on the direct injection petrol engine. JTS technology, initially adopted on the Alfa 156 in 2002, allows engine power and performance to be increased without affecting fuel consumption. The system benefits from a stratified charge lean burn system at engine speeds 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 also comes with the customary trivalent catalytic converter, can run on normal currently-available petrol instead of the low-sulphur type and is already in line with the tough Euro 4 emission limits. The 2.0 JTS also comes with a Selespeed gearbox to assure customers a sporty, comfortable and safe drive in any situation.

continues... | Part Five
Published 9 June 2003 Melanie Carter

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