After seeing all those good comments on Mel's 147 review I'll try a 156 review
Car: Alfa 156 2.0 JTS, 165BHP, 206Nm torque, 5 speed manual
Former car: Alfa 156 1.6TS, 120BHP, 146nm, 5 speed manual
Trim level: Distinctive
Color: Azurro Nuvola
- Bose soundsystem
- Audio controls on steering wheel
- Sportspack (lowering + sideskirts)
- 17" Teledials
- Tan leather
- Aluminium Kick Guards (thanx to Mel for the name
- Chrome plate holder (rear)
- No plate (front
- Aluminium plate under the pedals
- GTA alu pedals
- Novitec doorpins
- Alfa bags for in the trunk
- EPS parkcontrol
- White or black side indicators
- Black painted rear-lights
- Horizontal chrome strips in Alfa heart
- K&N Airfilter
- Twin exhaust from CSC
- GTA frontlights
- since this week: Stitched Alfa-logo on seats
- Novitec supercharger kit
- Dension harddiskbased MP3-player
- 35% window tinting
- iPaq + Bluetooth GPS + TomTom Maps
This is my second 156 and I fell in love from the first time I saw it advertised in a newspaper. I was about to order a Seat Cordoba as a company car (1997)
as it was all I could afford. But then my boss made a good deal and my luck changed! I was offered a higher lease-contract due to this deal and also because he had me driving in a 1985 VW GOLF for 8 months! So I was 'rewarded' with a 1.6 156, full no-options except heated seats and the 15" rimms
which make a perfect combination with the 156. I couldn't believe that I had the privilege to drive a 156
I almost didn't dare driving away from the dealer when I picked her up. I was afraid that he would come running after me saying "Hey you crazy boy! What do you think you are doing? Did you really believe that you would get one?"
After driving a Hyuandai Lantra (which I crashed), a Fiat Brava and offcourse the old VW driving the 156 was a delight! But it wasn't just because I had a ****ty car before her. The next 3 years I didn't find any other car to give me the same joy when driving! Let's be honest about one thing: I can't drive
Since I crashed the Hyundai in heavy rain after some serious aquaplanning I am still afraid in curves, afraid to feel the car slide away under you.
But still with the 156 I dare more than with other cars. It feels steady in curves, and the steeringwheel is very responsive, unlike for example a VW.
The first few months with the car she turned a lot of heads. It almost made me feel a little paranoid.
The car was out only a few months and was very exclusive at that time. Like all other AlfaOwners I enjoy looking at her when walking to and from the car (one day I'll crash into a tree walking away with my head turned
My first 156 suffered a few problems though during those 3 marvellous years.
- I had the famous Rattle and squeeks from the front suspension.
- I had a problem with the camshaft what made the car lose some power and sound like a Diesel (Ivo would have loved that
It was repaired once under warranty but happened again a few months at the end of her lease-period.
- The front-light bulbs died on me a lot of times.
- So did some lights in the dashboard.
- The up/down button for the electrical window broke off.
- And so did the doorhandle on the drivers side
- Some rubber thingies in the engine had to be replaced (dealers said it was a known bug on the 1.6 engine)
- In contrast to all other 156's my fusebox did NOT fall off wink
But even with these 'problems' I enjoyed the car to the fullest!! I went to the dealer with a smile each time and made good use of the time waiting to check out the showroom
At the beginning of 2001 the 3 year lease-term was finished and I had to return my Bella!
I was determined to get me another 156 but as I had heard about a facelift I wanted to wait for it. I even drove to Geneve that year as the facelifted model was to be presented there. But it wasn't there
And I also learned that if you drive to Zwitserland in february you should bring SNOWCHAINS!
After waiting 14 months in a 146 1.8TS for the new model (terrible experience but that's another review) I finally got my new bella.
returned! Somehow the car feels more solid now. No rattles at all. I was afraid that the 17" wheels in combination with the sportspack would result in a very hard ride but it's a good mix between comfort and sport. So if anybody ever doubts going for 17" on a 156: just do it!
I've reached 20000km's now and so far so good. The only minor problems are:
- the light of one of the power window switches turns on and off
- the buttons of the doorhandles didn't come out after pressing them in
- I had an error from the boardcomputer twice (some non-fatal reading-error from the 'lambda-sonde', don't know the proper translation).
I also thought my airco had broken down but I learned it was because of the low temperature outside. Hey, it was my first airco ever ok?
I have most fun driving little roads with 'unsharp' curves. The quick response of the wheel make you feel like you are driving a cart. The response from the JTS at lower RPM's is a lot better than the 1.6 and even the 1.8 I had in between. The only difference with the 1.8 is that you don't seem to feel such a kick in the back when reaching 3500RPM's but it propably only feels that way because you already have power below that mark.
I can't compare to the old 2.0TS because I've never driven one. I hope to drive in a TS one day to see if I notice any difference. Maybe on a meeting?
The sound of the engine isn't very spectacular either, although when idle I hear a very low sound from the exhaust when I stand next to the car. I wonder if that's normal or not. I hear a more annoying, high pitched sound from the engine when driving in 5th gear and around the 3000 rpm's. When I release the throttle suddenly it stutters a little bit. I think something is not ok so the dealer promised to go on a ride with me next service to listen to it.
But again: I LOVE my Bella
Top 10 nice options/features that come with the Alfa 156:
I'm not a ass-kissing, slimy Basterd like Mel so I ain't gonna mention Alfaowner.com as the first 'feature', altough I think you are the best wink
1. The looks. After 4.5 years I cant' get enough looking at her and sometimes I even walk to the kitchen just to look out of the window! And my girlfriend believes I love washing the dishes
2. The 2.1 lock-to-lock of the steeringwheel
3. The engine! So smooth! So powerfull! But I still would like a Turbo-Kit
4. The lights turning on and off automatically when turning on/off the car (that's probably why I killed so many lightbulbs
5. The flashing when locking/unlocking the car (new since 2002). I used to walk back 3 times to make sure she was locked!
6. The audio controls on the steering wheels. Very handy and safe! (And good looking!)
7. Opening the trunk with the remote (new since 2002)
8. The drivers position who suits my dwarf-body (1.65) perfectly! I can see the meters perfectly, reach the pedals well and have no problems with the arm-rest! This is a big minus though for taller people which also have their right leg touching the console in the middle.
9. The feel of the leather steeringwheel
10. The integrated cd-player which looks better than a Sony or Blaupunkt with weird buttons and colors etc.
Top 10 of things that could and should be improved:
1. Electrical problems in the interior! No more lights that stop working please!
2. Why o why didnt' alfa opt for a nice full color TFT for navigation instead of the board-computer icm with the blaupunkt Navi with pictograms
3. The automatic wipers, automatic fogged-window detector and the automatic keep-fart-odors-out detectors don't work very well
4. Rear-view is bad! Standard EPS parkcontrol should solve that problem though
5. Big turning circle
6. Like in the 147 the airco behaves like a woman from time to time wink
7. Annoying warning sound when it's cold or you are running out of gas that startles you because it sounds the same as an engine-failure
8. The brake and 'go-faster! FASTER'-pedals are too close to eachother. Even for little feet!
9. Changing a front-light bulb requires removing a metal plate!
10. The back seats can't be brought down to fit a christmas tree or something like that. Altough I read that was done to improve rigidity of the chassis.
I think you can conclude that I love the car! Even though it had a few problems I was still convinced to get another one! And if it's up to me I'll keep driving Alfa Romeo! Maybe I'll buy this car from the leasecompany at the end of the lease-period (as new Alfa's are getting more expensive each day) or I'll buy a secondhand 156V6 or maybe a 3.0V6 GTV, sigh....
For more info on
More Twin Exhausts
EPS Parking system
Cheap side indicators
Dension MP3 Player
Automatic opening doorlocks (dutch)
ps. Yes, I own all of these companies so please buy all this stuff wink
Some badly taken pics: