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I bought my Alfa 156 2.5L V6 just by its first impression.For the asking price there was nothing close to it. The aircon wasnt working and after hitting a pothole I felt like I was driving off a cliff. Its a hard ride. I had an oil service done, but a while later the tensioner broke . 24 Valves and lots of Hours later I got my car back. I had to get a double loan at my bank for the repairs.What I like about the car...I look good in it. It has this 2nd level of performance after you hit the 4000RPM range that just whip you back and put a smile on your face.Make shure all the stamps is in its place on the service book. This is one of those classic cars that changed the way people look at Alfa.
Perhaps one of the best selling of the modern Alfa range, the 156 enjoyed success beyond anyone would have expected of it. Coupe-ish looks, stunning interior, it certainly distinguished itself from the rest.Which is the best of the range, well depends on your preferrence really. The 4 cylinder Twin-Sparks, were fun to drive and selespeed was nice. But for my money I took the 2.5 V6 Q-System.
The 2.5 V6 has to be one of the best engines Alfa ever built. It is a rare sight on roads compared to Selespeed T-Sparks. The V6 engine note is meaty in comparison and you could feel the sports car pedigree rushing through your veins with every step of the throttle. It feels like you are in a Ferrari and since both are under the same group, easily understood why. Having such a heavy engine in front, you would think that the car will understeer in the corners. Yes it will, as the car is a front wheel drive, but not to the extent that you would expect. Infact as far as I have seen, you need to take a corner pretty fast to get that kind of response. Otherwise the handling is so beautifully balanced that you fail to realize that it is a front wheel drive car.
The ride is sharp and hard, but comfortable at the same time. To be honest it could be better, but when you listen to that engine note, you don't care.
It would be hard to do any review of an Alfa Romeo without talking a bit about the 'X' factor. No one really knows what it is and every Alfa owner (myself included) will say that there is something about the brand that keeps you coming back for more. Surely the BMW handles better. Yes it does, but after you drive an Alfa, you wouldn't care.
There is a magical quality to these cars and no matter how well built a BMW or Audi may be or how economical and reliable a Toyota or Nissan may be, they will never be able to match or come close to it.
The Q-Systems (QS) did not enjoy the best of reviews. If at all the gear changes seemed to be to jerky. It remains my fav among any named triptronic gear box in the sense that you could change gears through a normal 'H' gate rather than a '+' or '-'. This gave the driver control as if he was using a normal manual. The biggest downside to the Q-system is that there wasn't enough gears to utilize the full potential of the V6 engine. If it was offered with the T-Spark, you'd probably use it better.
Once you stop thinking like a race-driver and decide to just cruise on the open highway, you notice that the normal Auto mode is smooth. The Auto mode has 3 settings: City / Sport / Ice. This works really well and is extremely useful for fuel efficiency. Each mode tunes the engine and throttle response to give the best results. I use the 'City' mode for most of the time. Whether you are in traffic or cruising on the open highway. The engine is geared to give you enough torque to get the car moving at low RPMs. The means less fuel consumption. You can change the setting to 'Sport' on the move (not reccommended) but before you do, you need to prepare for it. When you do, its like hitting the NOS button in the fast and furious. The downshift shoots the car to insane speeds of 160 Km/h in a matter of seconds.
In terms of reliability, the 2.5 V6 enjoys a better reputation among Alfa owners when compared to the T-Sparks. And the QS is noted to be more reliable than the Selespeed. But if it really bothers you, a normal manual would be really good and more fun. To this day, I have no complaints or issues with my car apart from the usual ware and tear. Service your car on time and give it some TLC, the car is sure to reward you with thrills for a long time. Even a Japanese box needs TLC to keep it going.
Whatever the option you go for, the 156 is a winner of hearts. You'd probably have to wrestle with your mind to get one, considering Alfa's reputation in reliability and seeing the new 159. But when compared to the 159, the 156 has more presence and it sure to turn more heads. The 156 is a sure to be regarded as a future classic time to come and since the Q-System is no longer in production, my car is sure to be one in no time.
Over the years since first passing my driving test, I have had dozens of cars and since I turned 21 and could get insurance for them most of them have been sports cars of one type or another. I have owned two convertible BMW`s a VW Golf VR6 and several Alfa Romeo`s, with the Alfa Romeos being my favourite cars by a mile.
The Alfa Romeo I am Writing about today is the 156, 2.5 V6 24 valve, I have just sold this particular car on in order to buy the newer model of Alfa Romeo but I am missing it badly. Even though the new Alfa is breathtakingly good it just does not seem to have the character and raw power of my old faithful 156.
The Alfa Romeo 156 is a very stylish 4 door saloon and because of its hidden rear door handles it looks like a 2 door coupe from a distance. It oozes Italian style both inside and out, with the unique body styling and front grill and the offset front number plate and inside you will find the Momo leather sports seats, well in mine you did but some do come with cloth seats but even those were sports shaped and had the hand stitched Alfa logo on them and looked very nice.
The other stunning feature of the interior of these cars is the dash board, it is black in colour regardless of the exterior colour of the car and a black dash always looks best. The instrument dials all slope slightly towards the driver so the passenger cannot read the dials and it makes the driver feel very in touch and in total control of the vehicle and everything inside it.
The instrument panels all light up bright orange unless it is the model fitted with white dials but for me the bright orange original Alfa colour is by far the best option, white dials have their place in cars but not in Alfas. You get several options of interior styling when it comes to the facia on the centre console and the steering wheel, some have the plain black, some have wood and some including mine have the carbon fibre effect.
As for space and comfort inside these cars well it is very good actually, from the outside you could be forgiven for thinking they look small but it is mainly because of their coupe look and the fact they sit so low that gives this impression. In fact they probably have as much room as a ford Mondeo inside or if not they certainly have more than the Ford Focus or the Vauxhall Astra.
The front seats as I said are Momo leather and sports designed and are very, very comfortable, the back seat is of course leather also and it slopes slightly back so you are very slightly reclined as you would almost always choose to be in a front seat. I have only travelled in the back of one of these cars once and it was a very long drive and a very comfortable one.
The cars also have air conditioning and climate control in almost every model which creates a very relaxing interior climate for long drives, you never get too hot and there is no need to have to keep adjusting the heating dials just choose a temperature and the car will do the rest.
Also fitted in many models including mine was traction control and cruise control, traction control in many cars ruins the driving experience but in the Alfa 156 it actually created a better driving experience and the cruise control is great on the motorways, just set your speed and the car keeps it for you so no more pedal fatigue for your right foot.
As well as all the gadgets and toys the Alfa 156 has many safety features such as twin air bags SIPS (side impact protection system) and anti-lock brakes. The passenger air bag can be switched off by using the ignition key in a key lock inside the passenger door on the dash to allow for front facing child seats to be used, Alfa rally have thought of everything in their cars.
Exterior styling varies in these cars too with some of them having the body styling side skirts and rear spoilers and some not, the rear spoilers also came in different shapes and sizes.
My Alfa had the full body kit including the large rear spoiler similar to those found on the Mitsubishi Evo or the Subaru WRX models. With or without the body kits and spoilers the Alfa Romeo 156 was and still is a real head turner.
Along with the different body styling you also get a choice of wheels on the Alfa 156, the Alloy wheels on mine were known as the teledial ones and they grabbed the attention of many. They also fit these cars with different sizes of wheels, some come with the standard 1 inch most come with the larger 16 inch but you can chose to upgrade if you buy new as I did, I went for the awesome looking 18 inch wheels although with the Alfa going through tyres like nothing on earth I often wished I had gone with a cheaper option.
When it comes to driving the Alfa it really is an awesome experience well at least the 2.5 V6 that I owned was, this car had frightening power and speed and although I had driven other V6 cars none could come close to the Alfa Romeo. Even at standard power before I got the ECU remapped the car was capable of a 0-60 in 8 seconds and a top speed of 147mph after its remap this awesome Italian sports car would do 0-60 in under 6 seconds and hit a top speed of just over 165mph and the thing with the Alfa is you never felt like you were anywhere near those speeds so smooth was the drive.
Driving the 156 was always a pleasure whether it be out on the motorways at high speed or cruising around towns and cities enjoying the attention the Alfa got and finally Alfa had put right the one thing that was always so wrong with the previous Alfa Romeos, they had fixed out the driving position. In the older Alfas it was although they had designed the driving position around one odd shaped person and if you were not that odd you would never feel comfortable but now with the seat moving up and down as well as back and forward and the steering column being fully adjustable you get the right position no matter what your shape or size.
The comfort of the ride in the Alfa Romeo 156 was very good and even as the car got older it never had the annoying traits many older cars have such as wind noise and creaks and groans, the Alfa felt like a new car for the whole 4 years I owned it and I often found myself driving places just for the sake of driving.
Over the years Alfa Romeo had a bad name for a few reasons, the already mentioned driving position which they have now corrected and probably the biggest complaint people had about Alfas was the electrics breaking down. I have to admit when I first bought the Alfa 156 I was a bit concerned with the issues of the electrics because there are so bloody many it would have been a nightmare if they had failed but I never had a problem with the electrics in my 4 years of ownership apart from the sunroof failing once but it was no more than a simple blown fuse.
The electric packs differ in these cars too, mine had the full electrics, all four windows, the sunroof, electric heated seats, electric heated mirrors and of course remote central locking. Some do not have rear electric windows or electric seats. I should mention that my Alfa was a 2004 model and that some of the earlier ones might have had fewer creature comforts.
Many will worry about fuel consumption and the likes when buying a V6 and yes they do love petrol so if fuel consumption is an issue for you then do not buy a V6 Alfa Romeo. Whilst mine was very good on the motorway having the 6 speed box it did like to abuse fuel when driving around the towns and cities. The onboard computer would show average motorway fuel consumption to be around 36mpg which is not too shabby for a huge engine car like this but the other end of the scale was that around the town it would drop to about 18mpg which is about half of what you would get from a 2 litre Mondeo or the likes.
Running the Alfa Romeo can be an expensive business too so again if you are looking for cheap running costs then this is not the car for you. A typical service will set you back around £250 and the big service after 25,000 miles will set you back over £400 and there is no point trying to go to small garages or independents because the chances are they will not touch your Alfa with a barge pole so it is off to the expensive dealer's every time.
I have heard many horror stories from people about their Alfa dealerships but I have to say the one in Edinburgh that I bought the car from had great after sales service and never caused me a minutes problem and when it came to the costly business of changing the timing belt at 36,000 miles (which has to be done religiously by the way), they gave me a 20% discount without me asking, because I had always gone back to them, very decent service I would say.
I covered 80,000 miles in my four years with the car and never had a break down, I of course had to replace things on the car as you would with any car after that sort of mileage, I went through four sets of front brakes and two sets of rears, countless tyres which is the one thing that Alfa could do with sorting out, I needed to replace the front suspension bushes and I also needed a set of front and rear struts but all in all there were no real major issues and the only large costs were the two timing belt changes at 36,000 and 72,000, these have to be done because the timing belts just do not last far past that and if they go under driving you will bend valves and basically destroy the engine and you will be looking at a £1800 rebuild rather than a £500 timing belt change.
The Alfa Romeo is not a cheap toy to own and it really is a real driver's car, as one Jeremy Clarkson once said "you cannot call yourself a true petrol head until you have owned an Alfa". This car will make you fall in love with driving and passers by will fall in love with your car (and with you if you are lucky LOL) but you have to be prepared to look after these cars and if they need something doing you do it otherwise the problem quickly grows and you can have a very big bill staring you in the face.
I have sold my beloved 156 on now and have a newer model Alfa and as lovely as it is, I miss the old 156 so much. The new Alfa is a 3 litre V6 and also very quick, it is extremely good looking and it turns heads but it lacks the raw rough around the edges power of the old 156 and I am starting to think maybe I should have had another year with my 156 before having to let it go, I hope the guy from Newcastle that bought her is looking after her in the manor she was accustomed to and that he is getting all the enjoyment I got.
I would recommend the Alfa Romeo 156 V6 24 valve to anyone interested in owning a real powerhouse of a car but as I have said they need lots of TLC and you have to be prepared for hefty running costs. If you want a 156 but do not want the hefty running costs then you can have the style without the power if you go for the 1.8ts or the 2.0ts but as well as power you will lose some of the added extras but never the less you will have yourself a very nice car. The only thing to stay well clear of when buying an Alfa is the semi automatic gear boxes, although the option of changing gear with paddles on the steering wheel in true formula one style might seem appealing, the system fails regularly and costs a fortune to put right so always go for the manual box and if you do go for a V6 then get the 6 speed box because it will help on fuel consumption.
HOW I SCORE THE ALFA 156 2.5 V6 24 VALVE
PERFORMANCE - 10/10
RELIABILITY - 8/10
RUNNING COSTS (higher is cheaper) - 6/10
DEALERSHIP AND AFTER SALES SERVICE - 9/10
COMFORT - 9/10
TOY`S AND GADGETS - 9/10
SAFETY FEATURES - 9/10
OVERALL - 9/10
My Alfa was bought new in 2004 with zero miles on the clock for £23.489 and sold in 2008 with 80,000 on the clock for £7,900. That may seem like a huge loss but she was worth every penny I paid for her and more and she served me brilliantly over those four years so I can have no complaints.
Thanks for reading
Well, I have now been driving my Alfa 156 for over 3 years and can hosetly say it still remains a pleasure to drive. What I will say though is that it is not without a few niggles. The first is that since owning this car I have picked up my first ever 3pts for speeding. I guess it is understadable given the immense power and ease with which it can be delivered to the wheels and therefore your forward velocity. The second is the odd occasion when I still get caught out by the football field like turning circle. Believe me it can be quite annoying when other drivers laugh at you or indicate their distress while you reverse back to negotiate an innocent looking mini roundabout. The third is an Air con annoyance - although now sorted - an AC pipe was damaged and the AC gas escaped. The damage - in my opinion - was due to a design fault as the pipe had been rubbing against part of the engine compartment. Interesting that the replacement part was a slightly different shape so that it no longer rubbed. The fourth is the mortgage size dent that running the car leaves in your finances - it really is very thirsty. Anyway even with the negatives above the car remains my pride and joy and every time I start it up and hear the wonderful engine I remember why I bought it and that combined with the fantastic looks it remains one of the greatest creations ever produced by Alfa.
I first sat in one at the nec motor show and at 6' 2" could i get a good position, no! I left it for a few years, decided i could do without no longer and brought one all in glorious black,sports pack 3 + superb tan momo leather seats. I drove several engine sizes but V6 2.5 it was always going to be. The car was chipped and air intake changed and on a rolling road was showing a healthy 207 BHP.This car has the damper settings at minimum and is lowered 30mm. I have found the car fun to drive even a handful at times but always assured. The local road humps are a pain and i have to go the long way around as some brush the bottom of the engine cover even at very slow speed. The brakes on this car seem to be a bit poor and don't inspire to much confidence and i am about to uprate them to grooved discs and better pads.The engine sounds impressive but has to be worked using the 6 speed box to the full to get the best out of it.On the motorway at 70MPH it's wasted and you soon find it creeping up.I find it hits dips in the road quite hard, but does not get thrown offline.Steering is pin sharp and it holds the road when cornering almost like a go kart as long as you keep the power on. Turning circle is rather wide which can cause a few problems, but you soon get used to it. Fuel consumption is around 24/25 mpg at the moment and it has not used any oil in 5000 miles.So far the love affair is ok and yes i did find a good driving position in the end. A splitting rear seat would have helped and would be my main moan if anything as i have a job getting my fishing gear in.I will update on the brake situation at a later date alfa say they are ok ???? 18.9.02. Trouble has struck the car needs a new starting motor which is being done under warranty from garage purchased. 6.5hrs change time??. Problem 2 alfas appalling customer care strikes , the engine had a squeak to be investigated the timing belt gear was re
moved now been in the garage 5 days. Sorry mate we have not got a new belt tensioner in uk, we need to order 3 days delivery from Italy??. You have got to be joking there must be hundreds of alfa v6 cars with 70,000 + miles where this is a standard service replacement part. They really want to pull there finger out. The garage to avoid is Priory of mill road Cambridge, it seems they are not very competent. It will not be serviced there will have to wait a week for a spark plug??????
I own a 156 2.5 V6 for two years now. It's simply stunning! Let's start from the aspect many foreign people look for in Italian cars: style. It is undoubted that Walter de' Silva, the de-signer of the 156, 166 and 147, has done a great job (damn, now Seat got him!). The 156 is a very elegant car, but it doesn't lack the sporty feeling which is typical of Alfas. It almost resembles a coupe, with the back door handles that can hardly be seen. And, damn, the sporty feeling is not just a feeling! Once you start the 2.5 V6 engine you enter another world... It can quietly buzz at lower regimes, but when it's up on RPMs... You immediately recognize the typical Italian sport car sound, thanks to a fabulous exhaust system. Acceleration is very good (0-100 Km/h in 7'3"), and the engine is very brilliant and elastic thanks to its excellent torque curve. My 156 has Pack Sport 3, which gives her (!) a nice sporty look, and greatly enhances roadhold and stability (excellent roadhold for a front-drive car). Some of my friends have 156s too, with different engines. I've tried some of them, and I can tell you that the 2.4 JTD diesel and the 2.0 Twin Spark engine are very brilliant and powerful, despite their small size. Especially the Twin Spark series engines are a demonstration of how much a small engine can be exploited for power and torque. Still one word on the interiors: forget the cold, rational German interiors. You won't see a lot of displays and buttons on this car. Just the trip computer. And an automatic clima system, which is one of the best I've ever tried. Seats are of sport type (with Pack Sport), in very nice and strong sporty black leather. So is the turning wheel, in black leather, offering a great grip. The gearshift is a champion in maneuverability and speed. Taller people may have some problems reading the instrumentation, somewhat covered, but... is it really a problem?
I bought my 156 V6 about a year ago, importing it from Holland. The local Alfa dealer in UK never did commit himself to a firm quote for a car without sportpack (I do like white dials, but I don’t like the skirts, and the ground clearance is questionable enough in speed hump-infested suburbia, without lowered suspension) but with sunroof and leather. I understood his reticence when I found I could get the car home all paid for about £5,000 less than the price list he waved at me. So I paid the deposit and waited with growing impatience as the lease ran over on the company Golf VR6 I was replacing. I collected it from the dealer a month ahead of the six promised (the only unexpected snag was that the Dutch dealer closed all weekend), and it’s been a love thing ever since. I won’t try to persuade you that it’s a perfect car. It’s far from that, and your head (and your accountant) will nag you to buy a BMW 3-series. But those are so common (i.e. ubiquitous) and the extras you want are ruinously expensive. The depreciation figures don’t look nearly so good if you buy them and you’ll never sell the thing if you don’t. Let’s face it, nothing looks as drop-dead gorgeous as the Alfa 156, from any angle. How, or if, they’ll face-lift it remains to be seen, but any change I can think of would be negative. Oh, hang on, the flat, telephone-dial alloy wheels that the non-sportpack cars come with are pretty uncomplimentary, definitely room for improvement there. That’s it, though. But looks are not the most important thing (after all, I used to run a Golf), a car is for driving. The Alfa is just great to drive. On the motorway, the steering is just a little reluctant to stay on-centre, but it’s quiet and comfortable long-term, and the driving position isn’t too Italian even for a 34” inside leg. The height and rake adjustable steering wheel helps enormously here
, though if Mr A. Romeo could find a way of moving the seat back just another inch or two, my joy would be unconfined. This would reduce the legroom in the back seat to approximately zilch, though, so I’d have to have my son’s legs amputated below the knee. The lovely burbling rasp of the V6 is with you all the time, not obtrusively, and the 190 bhp whips you up and over the legal limit in no time, helped by a nice 6 (yes, six) speed gearbox. This has a lovely smooth (apart from first to second, to which there is a knack) retro feel via a longish lever that sprouts from the front of the console rather like Alfas of old. The clutch has an odd action that doesn’t bite until the very top of the pedal, but doesn’t release until the very bottom. You get used to it. Unlike the VW, the Alfa six has very little flywheel effect, and so quick changes are the best on the way up, and you can play tunes on the way down. It seems odd to have the extra gear on a V6 with 2.5 litres, and it isn’t an overdrive, but this is not an engine with massive grunt from tickover. In fact, you’ll find a quick drop from sixth to fifth a good idea in some motorway situations. It sounds so good, you’ll be thankful for the excuse. Once the engine is spinning the power is delivered strongly and smoothly all the way to the rev limiter. This will take you by surprise until you get the hang of the way the needle shoots towards the redline when you depress your size 10, so it’s just as well it works. Off the motorway and on normal roads, the car really shines. The combination of really quick steering with great turn-in and apparently limitless grip will have you choosing the twistiest roads, and negotiating them in a fashion that will have weaker-stomached passengers searching the car for brown paper bags. If you specified the leather it cleans up well, so carry on playing with six gears and revelling in the now glorious so
unds this car makes. Back, too soon, in the 30 limit, the first speed hump reveals that the under-tray will ground unless you slow right down to residents-association approved speeds. At the supermarket, the boot reveals itself to be adequately large, but the turning circle is larger still. It’s darned embarrassing, having to reverse to get around ramps in multi-storey car parks, but believe it or not such is the case. If, encouraged by the remaining space in the boot, you call in to the electrical warehouse, you’ll find that nothing fatter than your middle-sized suitcase will go through the hole, and you’ll have to send one of your back seat passengers home by bus to get the 14” TV in. And so the Sportwagon was invented. This sounds like a very niggly story, and I did warn you that this is not a perfect car. If you want a near-perfect, A-to-B status machine that nobody will argue with you for buying, take your accountant’s advice and get that BMW 3, probably a diesel with the badge-free option, in silver. If you can stand the dinner-party controversy and want a car that looks unusual but wonderful, goes, stops and corners in an incredibly satisfying manner, and that you will itch to take out of the garage and drive at every opportunity, get the best Alfa 156 you can afford. In red.