The Alfa Romeo 155 (Type 167) is a compact executive car produced by Italian automobile manufacturer Alfa Romeo between 1992 and 1997. It was unveiled in January 1992 at Barcelona, with the first public launch in March 1992, at the Geneva Motor Show. A total of 192,618 units were made before it was replaced by the 156.
Developed to replace the 75 and based on the parent company Fiat Group's Type Three platform, the 155 was somewhat larger in dimension than the 75 and had evolved 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 boxy design of the 155 allowed for a big boot space 525 L (115 imp gal; 139 US gal).
The most significant technical change from the 75 was the switch to a front-wheel drive layout. A four-wheel-drive model called the 155 Q4 was also available, which had a 2.0-litre (120 in3) turbocharged engine and a permanent four-wheel drive powertrain, both derived from the Lancia Delta Integrale; it was essentially a Lancia Delta Integrale with a different body.
The new model came in "Sport" and "Super" trims. 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 155 was generally lukewarm. The 75 had been conceived prior to Fiat's acquisition of the Alfa brand, so as the last independent Alfa romeo automobile made 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.
The 155 received a facelift in 1995 and changes included a wider body as well as a wider track and revised steering based on Alfa Romeo's racing experience. The facelift also brought in new 16 valve engines for the 1.8 and 2.0 litre models, whilst retaining the 2.5 litre V6 and making some improvements to cabin materials and build quality.
A 155 with Sport Pack installed
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 luxury oriented Super trim came with wood inserts in the cabin and silver-painted alloy wheels.
The 155 was never produced in the Sportwagon bodystyle (Alfa Romeo's term for an estate or station wagon), but Sbarro made a proposal for such a model in 1994 which was not put into production.
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 design 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 and quick rack steering wheel, initially only available with 2.0 L 16v engine
The 155 was initially available with 1.7 L Twin Spark, 1.8 L Twin Spark, and 2.0 L Twin Spark petrol engines, the latter two were equipped with variable valve timing. The 1.7 L was not sold in the United Kingdom.
Two four cylinder turbocharged diesel engines, a Fiat derived 1.9 L (92 PS (68 kW; 91 hp)) and a VM Motori 2.5 L (125 PS (92 kW; 123 hp)) were available in some markets, except 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 164, and the Q4 which used a drivetrain derived from the Lancia Delta Integrale 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).
155 Silverstone Edition
The most notable special edition was the "Silverstone" edition released in the United Kingdom which was known as the "Formula" in Europe: this was intended 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
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 litre model, but later followed by the 1.8 litre). The four cylinder cars retained the twin spark ignition system but received the Alfa Romeo designed 16 valve cylinder heads with belt driven camshafts based on engine blocks of Fiat design. They replaced the elderly 8 valve, chain driven camshaft motors of the earlier models.
The 2.5 L V6 engine 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 series 2 cars in some markets. The wide bodied cars also received revised interiors and equipment specifications to keep the cars competitive in the market.
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 below the rear lights rather than having them above.
In 1992, Alfa Romeo 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 the Abarth workshop. The car was displayed at Bologna Motor Show and being used at Monza GP d'Italia as safety car.
Designed by Abarth engineer Sergio Limone, the Stradale used the 155 Q4 as a base using its drivetrain and four-wheel drive system. The interior was stripped of some creature comforts and the car was fitted with a race inspired body kit with a large rear spoiler. Only unit was made before the project was due to high manufacturing costs.
Two special editions of the 155 were made by Zagato. In 1993, the 155 TI.Z was introduced, followed by the 155 GTAZ in 1995. Both models had more muscular looking exterior and increased power than the standard 155, the TI.Z had the 170 PS (125 kW; 168 hp) Twin Spark engine and GTAZ had the 155 Q4's turbocharged two litre engine now rated at 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 rated at 490 PS (360 kW; 483 hp) at 11,900 rpm. The car has a top speed of around 300 km/h (190 mph) and weighed
1,060 kilograms (2,340 lb).