Car magazine did not spare the 155 - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Car magazine did not spare the 155

Look what Car magazine, February 1994, said about the 155:

“The Alfa, on the other hand, is hopeless. It rolls about like a sailboat in a swell, the body getting out of sync with the chassis, the tail turning wayward if you’re imprudent with the throttle. Believe it or not, it’s meant to be this way, at least in part. The chassis is set up to allow the 155 to handle like Alfa saloons of old, and in some respects it does. Giulias, Alfettas, Giuliettas – they all used to roll, to feel rather soft. So it is with the 155. The trouble is, the leaning body gets in the way of progress – you have to wait for a return to the vertical before initiating the next direction-change – and no Alfa saloon had as little steering feel as this one does.

On the other hand, the accuracy of the steering is fine. Grip, provided you don’t lift off suddenly mid-curve, is pretty dependable. That leaves only the brakes, which are simply appalling.”

In a comparison wiht Honda 1.6 VTi and Renault 19 1.8, the Alfa was in third place.

What do you think about it?

Here in Brazil alfisti simply love the 155 handling.

Last edited by Tonhovsk; 02-07-12 at 19:19.
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Well Happy 155

When it comes to car reviews I have a feeling that it comes down to many factors.
1# The mood of the reviewer
2# What sort of car he/she drove just before
3# Has he/she had a bad experience with a similar car while driving to work at some time
4# Is he/she looking forward to driving the $500,000 car over in the parking area
5# The weather conditions at the time

If you read another review from another tester it could be quite different. Well that is what Jeremy Clarkson said at some time. He actually said a tester just had to good with words and at many times controversial.

So maybe it is a case of hope for the best.

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I've been buying CAR since before I left school. It got to me before work and women. I've only just given it up, it's not even a shadow of the mag it was in the late 90s with LJKS, James May and the Russell Bulgin. I think we've gone different ways and new cars don't really do it for me. I find reading through back issues more interesting.

CAR was enthusiastic about the 155 Wide Arch TS 2 litre with the fast rack when that came out in the mid 90s. I seem to remember a front cover quartered with the revised 155 in one of them. It was a bit of an Italian celebration issue, I think there some exciting other Fiat group models out at the same time.

You're just quoting one review.

I think they were quite enamoured with their long term test 75, 164 and Uno Turbo they had back then. I am hoping they had a 164 TS long termer. I am sure they said that the engine didn't sound as good tranvserely as it did in the 75.

It's just one review. They were quite praise worthy about the GT in their Good, Bad and Ugly listing section in that back that made a come back recently.

Take solace in the Tipo Sedicivalvole beating a Nissan Sunny GTi, Golf GTi and was it an Astra GTE 16V in one of their Giant Tests. The 155 is a Tipo underneath. The bits were there, just as they are in the Fiat Coupe it's just how the ingredients are used, the preparation of them and how long they spend developing them.

Bad reviews, or the cars being bad doesn't really alter what buyers and drivers feel about their cars and the brand. Even some Alfa lovers have been known to get a new to them Alfa home and doubt the wisdom of their purchase.
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It does happen that bad reviews get car manufacturers to get their sh*t together. CAR panned the Escort that replaced the MK3, I won't use MK4 as some call the MK3 FL Escort a MK4. They slated it saying the back axle was a cheaper and crappier one to that in the MK3, which was an ECOTY winner and praised by everyone. What did Ford do after that Escort with the retrograde back end? The Ford Focus.

When the second MR2 came out CAR's front cover was 'How Toyota spoilt the new MR2':

Toyota altered the MR2 suspension after a couple of years to make them more friendly to less skilled drivers on the limit.

Perhaps their criticism of the 155 made Alfa look at sorting it and improving it?

I've found this image of the mid 90s issue when the wide arch 155 came out with quite an enthusiatic headline:

On a more basic point, if a magazine says a car is great when it isn't how do we know when to believe them when a car really is great?
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A better image of that 1995 front cover. They say something nice about the 155 on it:

Atoll blue really is a great colour.

A few years ago CAR apologised for raving about the Rover version of the Honda Accord that came out in 1993, I think they gave it a Giant Test victory, saying 'We were wrong'.
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I think the tester probably didn't check his tyre pressures.

Mind you... Renault 19 and Honda VTi? Who remembers those any more? There's more '55s around, even though they sold fractions as many...

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Well,I have to say that the reporter wasn't too far from truth.I don't know about widebodies, but my 1992 Alfa 155 acually does the things mentioned in the article. It does roll about,but only when in low speed and on high bumps which is not so bad,because it doesn't transfer the hit of the bump through my spine like an same year Golf would do,but itn doesn't absorb them either. Anyway in higher speeds it really rather absorbs bumps and at really high speed it is just like a train. The other thing-the tail really feels light and tends to go out bit that means it is actually too heavy and yes,Ralf S. that does depend strongly on tyre pressure.
The other thing is that you really have to work very fine with the throttle so to be on the edge between understeer and the tail going out. I have flewn out of a curve and almost hit a tree when the tail went out beacuse I did just what was mentioned in the article-I lift my foot off the throttle. And those problems do worsen if there are any issues with the engine-like if it is underpowered because of a ECU problem for example-you hit the throttle and it does not respond immediately.
I'm not saying only the 155 does that, and my car is with vey bad tires in the back and almost sure shot shock,but anyway it has that in her. I am not complaining either-it is a drivers car,and after an year and a half of driving it I now know exactly when she's going to do the naughty stuff and I havent alowed it since.
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well afaik the reason alfa released the widebody 155 was to correct the bad handling of the mk1 version so maybe the reporter is right!
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