Alfa Romeo 155
At the GIMS 1992, Alfa Romeo presented the Alfa 155.
The 155 was a transitional model for Alfa Romeo, which definitively abandoned the transaxle architecture introduced in 1972 with the Alfetta, and on which the Giulietta Nuova, the 90, the 75 and the SZ were based.
Borrowing the platform from the Fiat Tipo, the 155 is an FWD (except the Q4). Although the design of the 155 reinterpreted the distinctive wedge-shaped lines of its predecessor the 75, the choice of FWD architecture was deemed unacceptable by the purists who nicknamed the 155 the “Fialfa”.
Fortunately, the Alfa Romeo engineers kept the enchanting Twin Spark 4-cylinder and “Busso” V6 (2.5 l.) engines, which had already been adapted to a transverse assembly for the 164. The sportiest version of the 155 was the Q4, which received the all-wheel drive and the engine – decreased to 190 PS – of the iconic Lancia Delta Integrale.
But the Alfa 155 will be remembered above all for its entry into motorsport. Touring car racing was popular in the early 1990s and Alfa Romeo entered the 155 in supertouring in Italy, Spain and Great Britain.
But the most impressive accomplishment was its participation in the DTM, the temple of German motorsport where factory teams from BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Opel competed in front of a huge and passionate audience. From 1992 to 1996 the 155 V6 TI made DTM history as the model with the largest number of victories (38). Moreover, it won the 1993 season after some epic races. The DTM in this form disappeared in 1996 and Alfa Romeo remains the only foreign brand to have won the Deutsche Tourenwagen-Meisterschaft.
Unfortunately, this impressive racing pedigree did not translate well into production vehicles, other than a few commemorative limited editions. A mighty 155 GTA Stradale was conceived, but abandoned due to high production costs. A very small series of 155 TI.Z and GTAZ with the sporty look of the 155 GTA concept was produced by Zagato and sold only in Japan.
In 1998, the 155 was discontinued after only 195,526 units, replaced by the 156 which set new standards in design and quality for the brand.