The Alfa Romeo 155 (Type 167) is a compact executive car produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo between 1992 and 1997. It was released in January 1992 in Barcelona, and the first public launch was in March 1992, at the Geneva Motor Show. It was built in 192,618 units.
Built to replace the 75 and based on the parent Fiat Group's Type Three platform, the 155 was somewhat larger in dimension than the 75 but evolved its styling from that of its predecessor. The 155 was designed by Italian design house I.DE.A Institute. An exceptional drag coefficient of 0.29 was achieved with the body design. The design of the 155 allowed also big boot space, 525 litres (115 imp gal; 139 US gal).
The single most significant technical change from the 75 was the change to a front-wheel drive layout. This new configuration gave cost and packaging benefits but many Alfa die-hards and the automotive press lamented the passing of the "purer" rear wheel drive layout on a car from this sporting marque.
The new model came in "Sport" and "Super" guises. The Sport had a slightly lowered ride height and more aggressive dampers while the Super had the option of wooden trim and electronically controlled dampers and seat controls.
Reception of the new model was generally lukewarm. The 75 had been conceived prior to Fiat's acquisition of the Alfa brand, so as "the last real Alfa" it cast rather a shadow over the 155; the loss of rear-wheel drive was frequently cited as the main cause of the disappointment. Nevertheless, the 155 was entered in Touring Car racing and was successful in every major championship it entered, which gradually improved its image.
Belatedly, the factory introduced a wider version in 1995 (the "wide body") which as well as a wider track and revised steering based on racing experience or requirements, also brought in new 16 valve engines for the 1.8 and 2.0 litre, whilst retaining the 2.5 V6 and making some improvements to cabin materials and build quality.
There were several Sport Packs available, including a race inspired body kit (spoiler and side skirts) and black or graphite coloured 16 inch Speedline wheels. The more genteel could opt for the Super which came with wood inserts in the cabin and silver-painted alloy wheels.
The 155 was never produced as a Sportwagon (Alfa's term for an estate or station wagon), but Sbarro made a proposal for such a vehicle in 1994.
Production of the 155 ceased in 1998, when it was replaced by the 156, which was a further development in terms of quality and refinement, and finally moved away from the wedge styling — leaving the 155 as the pinnacle of that particular design stream which dated back to 1977, with the dramatic square styling of the Giulietta Nuova.
1992 – 155 launched
1993 – Grill changed from “flushed” to “recessed”
1994 – 155 Silverstone introduced to the British market, 155 Q4 and turbodiesels to some markets
1995 – New "widebody" series 2 155 launched with wider track, initially only with 2.0 16v engine. Quickrack fitted
The 155 was initially released with 1.7 L Twin Spark, 1.8 L Twin Spark, and 2.0 L Twin Spark petrol engines, the latter two with variable valve timing. The 1.7 L was not sold in the United Kingdom.
Two four cylinder turbocharged diesel engines, Fiat derived 1.9 L (92 PS (68 kW; 91 hp)) and VM Motori 2.5 L (125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp)) were available in some markets, but again, not for the United Kingdom.
At the top of the 155 range were the 2.5 L V6, using a (166 PS (122 kW; 164 hp)) engine derived from the 3.0 L V6 used in the larger Alfa Romeo 164, and the Q4 which used a drivetrain derived from the Lancia DeltaIntegrale which meant a 190 PS (140 kW; 190 hp) 2.0 L 16V turbocharged engine and permanent four-wheel drive.
The Q4 also incorporated three differential gears (normal at the front, epicyclic at the centre (including a Ferguson viscous coupling) and torsen self-locking at the rear). Both the 2.5 V6 and Q4 models were also available with electronically adjustable suspension with two damper settings (automatic and sport).
The most notable special edition was the "Silverstone" edition released in the United Kingdom which was known as the "Formula" in Europe: this was released as a homologation exercise to allow Alfa Romeo to compete in the British Touring Car Championship race series and consequently came with a bolt on aero kit, consisting of an adjustable rear spoiler and extendable front air splitter.
The Silverstone was a lighter but no more powerful version of the 1.8 L, even though the race car it was homologating had a 2.0 L engine. This anomaly came about because the 1.8 L engine block, with its narrower bore, allowed Alfa to use a longer stroke on the racing car and stay within the 2.0 L capacity limit.
The Silverstone was only available in either Alfa red or Black paintwork with plain, unpainted bumpers.
Enlarged wheel arches after 1995
155 with Sport trim level: 16 inch black Speedline wheels, low rear spoiler
The Q4 version was the top of range model, fitted with 2 litre turbocharged straight-4 engine and four wheel drive system, the powertrain was borrowed from Lancia Delta Integrale.
In 1995, the 155 was given an extensive revamp, resulting in wider front and rear tracks with subtle enlargement to the wheel arches to accommodate the changes underneath.
The revised car also received a quicker steering rack, with 2.2 turns lock to lock (initially only on the 2.0 , but later followed by the 1.8 L). The four cylinder cars retained the twin spark ignition system but received Alfa designed 16 valve cylinder heads with belt driven camshafts based on engine blocks of Fiat design. They replaced the elderly but indestructible all Alfa 8 valve, chain driven camshaft motors of the earlier models.
The 2.5 L v6 continued in wide body form (but without the steering changes) while the Q4 was discontinued. In Europe, the 1.7 L Twin Spark was replaced by a 1.6 L 16 valve Twin Spark. Some 8 valve engines continued in a wide body car in some markets. The wide bodied cars also received revised interiors and equipment specifications to keep the cars competitive in the showroom.
The wide body ("Series 2") 155s can be distinguished from their earlier counterparts by their flared front and smooth rear wheel arches (the latter replacing the lip round the wheel arch of the original). They also sported round or oblong indicator side-repeaters and had their model badges moved to below the rear lights rather than having them above.
Alfa Romeo in 1992, on the wake of the wins obtained by the 155 GTA in the Italian CIVT championship, decided to start the production of a "Stradale" version to be manufactured at Abarth workshop. Unfortunately due to the prohibitive production costs only one unit of this car was made. The car was displayed at Bologna Motor Show and being used at Monza GP d'Italia as safety car. After having lost track Davide Cironi, (Davide Cironi Driving Experience on YouTube) found it in "barn find condition" in Italy and called the holy grail of Alfa.
Zagato made two special versions of 155. In 1993, the 155 TI.Z was introduced, and in 1995, the 155 GTAZ. Both models had more muscular looking exterior and more power than regular models, the TI.Z had 170 PS (130 kW; 170 hp) Twin Spark engine and GTAZ had the 155 Q4's turbocharged two litre engine now producing 215 PS (158 kW; 212 hp). Both models were built only a limited amount and many of the cars were sent to Japan.
In 1994, the rivals from Mercedes seemed to have the advantage, but Alfa did manage to win a further eleven races. A more consistent performance from the Germans gave them the title. Since the 1995 season, the team got new sponsorship livery from Martini Racing.
The 1996 version had a 2.5 L 90° V6 engine based loosely on the PRV engine delivering 490 PS (360 kW; 480 hp) at 11,900 rpm, had a top speed of around 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph) and weighed
1,060 kilograms (2,340 lb).