I just love the 156's innovation... Bear in mind that this car was released to the public in 1998.... 13 years ago!
No boot lock... Hidden behind the badge!
No horrible aerial... Hidden in the rear heated screen!
No apparent rear door handles!
Gas struts on the bonnet so no bonnet stay to worry about!
Every extra that an E class merc had in it's day! And most was standard!
It was at least 7 years ahead of it's time in looks and performance.
Just look at it.... Go on... Now go and park it next to a new Skoda Superb and tell me what looks more modern!
I can't quite see the innovation...
The Seat Arosa had hidden boot handles from 1997 iirc
The Skoda Estelle had the aerial hidden in the sunroof from 1986!
Hidden door handles - the REAR handles was a first, but not an innovation - Ferrari and Honda had already been doing it for years on coupes.
BMW have been using gas bonnet struts since the 70s and boot since 80s.
The E-class was the mid-range Merc, and not at all innovative.
it does have dramatic looks yes, but quantifying a precise amount of years?? In performance terms, absolutely not. I have a 1993 BMW 525i (2.5 inline 6, 192bhp, 245Nm, 143mph, 27mpg) and a 2001 Alfa 2.5 V6 (2.5 V6, 189bhp, 220Nm, 143mph, 26mpg). Both with sports orientated leather (BMW more adjustable), both with all round electric windows, a/c, electric mirrors, etc etc.
Talk about passion, craftmanship, evocativeness, then I'll agree. But in engineering or innovative terms, the Alfa is not breaking new ground.
Bear in mind that I ADORE my Alfa.