As with the exterior styling, the New Alfa 156 interiors have also been radically altered by major and minor changes. Admittedly, the passenger compartment still displays the same smooth, unbroken lines of the previous model and we have not attempted to improve on the distinctive traits that have always distinguished the Alfa 156: the attention devoted to the driver's cockpit and the classic, uncluttered control panel. But the New Alfa 156 adds important new features to the classic Brand and model details. 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 made even better looking by 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 facia is treated with a special laser technology that creates surface micro roughness that alters the way light is refracted and makes the material more pleasurable to the touch.
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. The special cloth comes as standard on Distinctive versions and is an option on Progression specifications. It comes in light grey, beige and two shades of dark grey.
The seats may also be trimmed in beige or grey cloth in the case of the Impression specification. The Progression specification is trimmed with dark grey, beige and light grey flock. The leather trims come in six colours: black, blue, red, natural, grey and a brand new Sahara beige shade. Special care has been taken over the seat and under-facia trim colour matches (black, grey or beige). A sporty black leather upholstery is also available.
The middle of the display, at the top, also features a new multifunction display of innovative and up-to-date design (it differs according to the version). On the New Alfa 156 and Sportwagon, the device fulfils the twofold function of informing the customer of the main trip parameters (Trip computer) and also indicates any car faults quickly and accurately together with information on the action required.
The built-in radio and controls for the automatic dual zone climate control system (manual mono-zone on Impression versions) are located low down in the middle of the facia and produced with a sophisticated design. In detail, the radio, complemented by tape or CD player according to the specification, also offers an outstanding sound system designed and adjusted to the passenger compartment that consists of six speakers and delivers a power output of 4x40 Watts. The radio may also be activated by controls on the steering wheel (optional).
The cars retain their big upper central diffuser air outlets with horizontal and vertical adjustment modes.
The steering wheel button panels, climate control system and gearbox control panels and the dial frames are also in grey while the facia outlet surrounds and door handles are chrome. 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 oddment compartments.
A passenger compartment full of new features with linear styling in the very best Alfa Romeo tradition and the spirit of a fast, powerful sports car. This is borne out, for example, by the red instrument panel, the range of brand new design steering wheels (foam-padded, leather and wood) combined with special gear knobs and electrical radio controls.Published 9 June 2003