Fiat was not in an easy position after buying Alfa Romeo in 1986, as the key to the brand’s survival was the use of a common floorboard. The Italians already had experience in this, the 1987 164 was built on a common foundation with Fiat Croma and Lancia Thema, but development was even started by Alfa Romeo, and Saab was also part of the project with the 9000. The end result was an attractive and exciting novelty. It didn’t matter that he drove his first wheels either, as the Italians didn’t have much laurels in the upper-middle class before, and after the 90’s they were clearly seen by customers as a step forward.
Not so with the 155 sharing the Fiat Tempra and the Lancia Dedra, which in the eyes of fans could not follow in the footsteps of its predecessor, the rear-wheel drive and transaxle 75. Despite the differences between the two designs, the skepticism of the target audience was the main reason for the disappointed reception of the 155, which was shoveled by the trade press, although the company felt the weight of the task and tried to present an attractive sports limousine in January 1992. The exterior is marked by Ercole Spada, who composed the colors of the I.DE.A Institute, and the interior by Walter de Silva. Of the Italian cars from the studio, the 155 is the most passionate, the most sporty! The wedge shape, which rhymes with Pininfarina’s 164, was not only characteristic, low air resistance and useful, its shape factor of 0.29 was favorable, and its 525-liter boot was spacious. Although the quality of the material has also been criticized, it has been in the liking of brand-friendly details such as the embossed emblem on the pedals, the center console slightly turned towards the driver, or one of the most important, the ideal driving position.
What were the most sensitive to those who wanted Alpha? Of course, for the engine, of which the 155 offered four types when it came out. The base engine was a 1.8-liter, 129-horsepower, twin-spark (Twin Spark) petrol, so the 1230kg limousine accelerated from 0 to 100 km / h in 10.3 seconds and reached a top speed of 200 km / h! The 2.0-liter, 144-horsepower was 1 second more agile, but the 23 Nm of extra torque was an advantage everyday. Equipped with the well-known Busso V6, the design was 2.5-liter, delivering 165 horsepower at 5,800 rpm with an injector, and 216 Nm of torque at 4,500, not to mention its heartfelt sound. Although the car’s weight increased to 1,330 kg, its acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h was reduced to 8.4 seconds.
At the top of the range was the Lancia Delta Integrale, driven by a powertrain, that steered the 155 with a 2.0-liter, 195-horsepower turbocharged engine and 3 differential locks. Due to the extra elements of the powertrain, its weight was reduced to 1445 kg, its luggage space was reduced to 410 liters, in exchange it sprinted from 0 to 100 km / h in 7.5 seconds and was able to race on the German motorway at 225 km / h, although the top model was more loose was on the ground in his element. The V6 and Q4 even offered an extra, electronically adjustable shock absorber at an additional cost. Fiat was sure to include a 2.0-liter, 90-horsepower and a 2.5-liter, 125-horsepower turbo diesel from 1993, but together they accounted for barely 14% of sales.
In addition to the growing popularity of diesel in Europe, the parent company’s achievements in Alfa Romeo’s motorsport have not been forgotten; . Thanks to the success of the race track, the street car also attracted the interest of the fans, in addition to the Formula sports model, they also tried to boost sales with limited series that differ from market to market. With the model update unveiled in December 1994, their 155 rating was further improved. The front-rear track and fenders have also been widened, its steering tuned more directly, with a chrome-plated shield on the outside and a color-blown bumper at the base price, better quality materials on the inside and a redesigned instrument panel. From 1996 onwards, the range was renewed with new 16-valve, 1.6- and 1.8-liter engines, and in 1998, despite all efforts, a total of 195,526 units of the brand left the plant in Pomigliano d’Arcó. By comparison, 2,745,773 of the BMW 3 Series E36 running in parallel were produced, and more than twice as many owners of its sister model, the Fiat Tempra and the Lancia Dedra, were found in the market.
The Italians seized several opportunities to promote the 155. Josef Matula (Claus Theo Gärtner), the protagonist of the German crime series Two Men in One Case, replaced the 75 with a brand new 155, and then Rex’s investigator Richard Moser (Tobias Moretti), who started in 1994, was replaced by a new 155. He was put in a service car. The apt cop proved his and his car’s abilities in several parts, and the Austrian crew shot spectacular yet realistic car scenes. They also received several cars from the Italians, until the 29th episode the Q4 was a star car, which was replaced by a front-wheel-drive model during some stunt-stunts, with the double-decker wheels on alloy wheels instead of the characteristic alloy wheels. From Season 3, Rex had already jumped into the right front seat through the window of a 2.0-liter Twin Spark.
THE DEVIL OF THE TRACK
Launched in 1984, the Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft did not only feature German products in its first season, but in the first 9 years only domestic models won the championship. This series was spectacularly interrupted by Alfa Romeo in 1993, when the Alfa Corse team decided to prove themselves in the DTM after winning the 155 GTA Superturismo in Italy. In the new season, two categories were launched, in addition to the Class 2 GTA, a prototype race car developed in Class 1, the V6 Ti based on a carbon fiber chassis, was introduced. Nicola Larini and Alessandro Nannini were planted behind the wheel of a 2.5-liter, 420-horsepower, aluminum-clad V6 with a titanium valve and all-wheel drive. Already in the first, rainy race, the superiority of the 155s became apparent, and they finally won the 1993 season on both an individual and constructive level.
Source: Autó-Motor by www.automotor.hu.
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