Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
At the address below is an article which appeared in a lifestyle magazine here in Tokyo (in English ;) )

Metropolis - Cars & Bikes - Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon

Not impressed at all. Anyone who calls the 156 GTA a "nightmare to drive" needs to re-sit their license or start taking the bus.

Before I write an angry reply, I would be grateful for any "ammo" GTA owners (or anyone else) could provide me with. The article is very subjective and has very few facts, but if anyone can spot anything blatently wrong...

Personally, I do not like the 159. Although the front end is very tempting, on closer inspection it just feels too "GM". No pretty engine bay, no hidden rear door handles... Funnily though, what I disliked most when I drove one was little things in the inside - like Holden-esque indicator and wiper levers and suspiciously GM airvents...:tut:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
114,703 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Cheers BF, and a belated welcome back.

Never heard of Autodelta, and never heard of Q2. And never heard of me racing a LS350 back from Nagano for 3 kms, leaving the RWD stuck behind a truck in the left hand lane while I gunned it towards Tokyo in the right hand lane :lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Cheers mate! How about a drive on Wednesday 10 September?

I'm not sure beating a Toyota deserves its own thread. Couldn't help throwing it in there though. On a negative note, I was slaughered by an E55 Kompressor estate yesterday. And he pulled infront of me without indicating to put me in my place... Like to see him try doing that to you :cheese:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,126 Posts
The chassis on the 159 is far superior to that of any 156 series car. Drive a challenging piece of road in our Q2'd GT (very similar to a GTA) and you get out feeling like you've wrestled a Croc whilst in a washing machine on the spin cycle. In the Ti, you just feel as if it could have handled a lot more. Both are fun, depending on your perspective.
 

·
Registered
Giulia Quad, Cayman GT4, Cayenne Turbo
Joined
·
23,458 Posts
I found the GTA a joy to drive. And that was before I even fitted the Q2! It was only a handful when the front tyres were nearly bald in the wet! :eek:

:lol:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,236 Posts
This is one of my pet hates. Various people, from magazines like Autocar to the editor of the AROC mag, seem to lazily refer to the 156 and/or 147GTA's as somehow vastly too high powered for the chassis and terrible handling examples of taking FWD too far, when discussing other cars. Why they always pick on these models in a generalised way, I don't know.

I've driven a few hundred miles in various 159's. We also own an A4 2.0T Avant (2005, same reg year as my GTA) that I've driven on the same roads as my GTA, and which is another car in a similar class.

The GTA is very different to either but certainly not "a nightmare". It is too softly damped as standard, by far it's worst trait - on really bumpy roads it can ground out, but it never feels unsafe, just likely to do itself some harm. But the basic handling balance is excellent - far more neutral and gripper on smooth roads than the Audi or 159 - and while the traction can be overcome with power if you drive like an ape, the basic setup has excellent traction and very little torque steer even before you add a Q2 and make it sublime. I really rate the standard car. It just has to be considered as a specialist car, it's not trying to be a housewife's shopping trolley so it's pointless to treat it that way. It looks and feels special and is very quick and responsive to drive - the downside is it needs some respect.

By comparison the 159 (and our Audi) are easier to live with - better ride, easier to get in/out of, don't ground as easily, more steering lock, etc. But - considering the performance differential (even the 156 2.5 is quicker than the 159 3.2) they have no more traction, they just have a lot less power/weight than a GTA. They don't turn in nearly as keenly, the steering lacks the same sharp feel (and has worse kickback in the 159's case), and when you reach the limit you end up with an amorphous bodyrolling blacmange like any other typical modern car, ploughing straight on with little adjustability. Safe but dull. Don't confuse ride quality with handling ability. A 156GTA can be rotated about it's axis on turn-in with trailbraking, and has throttle control so acute you can trim the cornering attitude of the car with it.

I think a lot of car journos are just lazy, and/or copy each other, and/or can't realy drive (having raced against some, I can vouch for the latter). They should consider a car against it's likely uses and be more objective. The 159 is a good car that, as our family car, I'd happily own but it's not the same sort of car as a GTA - nothing like it in any form yet launched. Each has it's merits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30,126 Posts
Oh, I forgot to say that I consider the 156 GTA to be the ultimate incarnation of the 3.2 156 Series cars due to the fixed rear bulkhead.

If it had been fitted with decent springs and dampers (no lower though please) 330mm disks, PF type pads and a Q2 diff out of the box and got the facelift nose it would be a seriously competitive sports saloon:cool:
 
O

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Oh, I forgot to say that I consider the 156 GTA to be the ultimate incarnation of the 3.2 156 Series cars due to the fixed rear bulkhead.

If it had been fitted with decent springs and dampers (no lower though please) 330mm disks, PF type pads and a Q2 diff out of the box and got the facelift nose it would be a seriously competitive sports saloon:cool:
I'd say LSD and better damping are the only serious omissions. The PF pads for the 305 discs (dunno about 330) do give an excellent braking upgrade, but I'm still not convinced the original equip. were really that bad compared to many cars I've driven. Facelift nose? I prefer the old style! :thumbs:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
They don't turn in nearly as keenly, the steering lacks the same sharp feel (and has worse kickback in the 159's case), and when you reach the limit you end up with an amorphous bodyrolling blacmange like any other typical modern car, ploughing straight on with little adjustability.
Good post Jwyatt, very good points made - the cars are very different beasts and it depends what you are looking for. I suppose with no GTA in the 159 line up it is pretty pointless making comparisons other than on looks and design...

By the way, what is a blacmange? Some kind of pudding?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
397 Posts
My 166 3.2 was a bit of a pig on rollerskates on worn standard dampers; but with Q2 and Bilstein B6 dampers, it is a really great ride on any country lane, no wrestling, no spin cycle ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,236 Posts
Good post Jwyatt, very good points made - the cars are very different beasts and it depends what you are looking for. I suppose with no GTA in the 159 line up it is pretty pointless making comparisons other than on looks and design...

By the way, what is a blacmange? Some kind of pudding?
Indeed, you could for example compare a 159 2.2 with a basic 156 2.0 on non-sports suspension if being fair. In fact in that comparison - having driven both recently - I think the basic 159 is a much better car than the basic 156 for the typical car buyer, it really is a good all rounder and still has more character than most cars out there today. Feels very solid too. But a compact sports saloon, for the keen driver, in the mould of the E36 3-series or 156? Not really.

Indeed, having driven a 156 2.0 recently, the same age and with less miles on it than my GTA, I was reminded just how much of a step up from the basic car the GTA is - it really is not just a bigger engine in a normal 156. The track/suspension changes, different steering, brakes, totally different interior materials/seats, more luxury kit, etc all make it a much better car even before you consider the performance/sound and the considerable visual changes.

A Blacmange is a sort of jelly with milk in it. I have probably spelt it wrong too...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
133 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
A Blacmange is a sort of jelly with milk in it. I have probably spelt it wrong too...
Hmm, sounds awful. I think you have spelt it right after a quick google search. At any rate, it sounds like typical Australian suspension (or GM suspension for that matter). No good for any roads with good bends in it.:eek:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
318 Posts
I too get annoyed about the 'lazy' opinions of GTAs going on about there being too much power for FWD. I read one magazine (think it was Topgear) that described the 147GTA as a "startled greyhound on a polished wood floor" - not at all.

But there is another way of looking at things - everyone else thinks GTAs are rubbish, but we know they're not, they're actually pretty capable. I think that's kinda cool.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,881 Posts
Wed 10th sounds good: let's pencil it in and confirm closer to the date.

Shame about the E55, I think it's time to get the GTA tuned up ... I know you want to ... :D
Make sure you video it BF ;) :D
 
A

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
This is one of my pet hates. Various people, from magazines like Autocar to the editor of the AROC mag, seem to lazily refer to the 156 and/or 147GTA's as somehow vastly too high powered for the chassis and terrible handling examples of taking FWD too far, when discussing other cars. Why they always pick on these models in a generalised way, I don't know.

I've driven a few hundred miles in various 159's. We also own an A4 2.0T Avant (2005, same reg year as my GTA) that I've driven on the same roads as my GTA, and which is another car in a similar class.

The GTA is very different to either but certainly not "a nightmare". It is too softly damped as standard, by far it's worst trait - on really bumpy roads it can ground out, but it never feels unsafe, just likely to do itself some harm. But the basic handling balance is excellent - far more neutral and gripper on smooth roads than the Audi or 159 - and while the traction can be overcome with power if you drive like an ape, the basic setup has excellent traction and very little torque steer even before you add a Q2 and make it sublime. I really rate the standard car. It just has to be considered as a specialist car, it's not trying to be a housewife's shopping trolley so it's pointless to treat it that way. It looks and feels special and is very quick and responsive to drive - the downside is it needs some respect.

By comparison the 159 (and our Audi) are easier to live with - better ride, easier to get in/out of, don't ground as easily, more steering lock, etc. But - considering the performance differential (even the 156 2.5 is quicker than the 159 3.2) they have no more traction, they just have a lot less power/weight than a GTA. They don't turn in nearly as keenly, the steering lacks the same sharp feel (and has worse kickback in the 159's case), and when you reach the limit you end up with an amorphous bodyrolling blacmange like any other typical modern car, ploughing straight on with little adjustability. Safe but dull. Don't confuse ride quality with handling ability. A 156GTA can be rotated about it's axis on turn-in with trailbraking, and has throttle control so acute you can trim the cornering attitude of the car with it.

I think a lot of car journos are just lazy, and/or copy each other, and/or can't realy drive (having raced against some, I can vouch for the latter). They should consider a car against it's likely uses and be more objective. The 159 is a good car that, as our family car, I'd happily own but it's not the same sort of car as a GTA - nothing like it in any form yet launched. Each has it's merits.
well said and i totally agree...
journos are becoming lazy alright...
 
E

·
Guest
Joined
·
0 Posts
Only just saw this thread, what utter s***e!

All I can say is last year I with a load of others here drove to the Nurburgring and had an unforgetable weekend. It is close on 400 miles from my flat to the ring, we only stopped for coffee once and to get more fuel. When I arrived I saw Trailbraker, who told me the ring was still open that day. I don't think we even unloaded, just followed him to the ring and did a quick lap. I can't think of many cars that you could drive that distance and do that, the GTA really is a great long distance cruiser.

As for being a nightmare with 250bhp :confused: Sure the Q2 makes it so much better, but I owned mine 3 years without the Q2 and was always impressed with how it coped, you have to be driving like a moron to get in trouble.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top