A sedan with a sporty heart
In 1997, the company's intentions were clearly declared: to create a sedan that combined style excellence and impeccable dynamic behavior, with a perfect balance between performance and handling. A 100% Alfa Romeo product formula. The goal was highly ambitious and the result was one of the best front-wheel-drive cars ever.
Designing a masterpiece
The style of the 156 was an extraordinary mix of strength, innovation and sophistication. The front shield reclaimed its dominance and projected its lines onto the bonnet. Seen from the front, the mudguards seemed as if they were "clamped on the wheels" flush with the bodywork, radiating strength and road grip. The relationship between glass and metal surfaces resembled a coupe more than a sedan. The rear door handles disappeared, integrated almost invisibly with the window frames, and the clean flanks highlighted the car’s sleek and dynamic profile.
The 156 was an astonishing car from a technical point of view too. The designers had been asked to develop the concept of "advanced sportiness" by combining power, lightness and control. This has always been the formula expressing Alfa Romeo driving. The 156 convinced everyone: it was the most thrilling sedan to drive of its entire generation. The sporting version was a winner: in 10 years of Gran Turismo championships it won 13 titles.
The birth of the "common rail"
According to the logic of the European market at the time, petrol was the prevailing fuel, but these rules were about to change, and it was Alfa Romeo who launched the revolution: the 156 was the first car in the world to launch the “common rail” system. Journalists testing the 1.9 and 2.4 JTD versions in Lisbon were amazed: for the first time, diesel engines were offering petrol-level performance, silencing and comfort.
"Car of the Year"
The 156 won the hearts of public and critics, and in 1998 it delivered the international "Car of the Year" award to Alfa Romeo for the very first time.