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Alfa Romeo - 2002 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

 


2002 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
2002 Alfa Romeo 156 GTA picture
Specifications
Engine Type v6 DOHC 24 valve
Displacement cu in (cc) 193.994 cu in (3179 cc)
Power bhp (kW)  at RPM 246 hp @ 6200 rpm
Torque lb-ft (Nm) at RPM 221 lbs.-ft @ 4800 rpm
Redline at RPM n.a.
Brakes ABS, vented disc
Tires 225/45 ZR 17
Length 174.4 in (4430 mm)
Weight 3109 lbs (1410 kg)
Acceleration 0-62 mphs 6.5
Top Speed mph (km/h) 150 mph
Fuel economy EPA (1/100) n.a.
Base Price $57,500.00
Car Description

The 156 GTA the most powerful sports sedan Alfa Romeo has ever sold in Australia. Chris Fincham takes to the Top End to unleash the sporting spirit of this $90k Italian stallion.

The Alfa Romeo 156 GTA has a speedo in the style of the original race-bred GTA. But unlike its '60s namesake, a stripped-out version of the Giulia Sprint, the dial goes all the way to 300km/h. And rightly so.

Over an extremely brisk 600km drive through the Top End at the launch of the new 184kW GTA in August 2002, we took the mid-sized, four-door sedan to a knee-shaking 250km/h. It could have gone faster, yet the increasing likelihood of hitting one of the fat feral cats common along the Stuart Highway put an end to our experiment.

Above 200km/h, the GTA was a touch twitchy but remarkably stable for a road car, no doubt assisted by the front airdam and rear bumper's central splitter, both designed to keep the GTA nailed firmly to the tarmac. No useless boot spoiler here - the GTA is all business, from its finely-tuned suspension to its specially-designed Michelin tyres.

Getting from A to B in a hurry is the GTA's reason for existence. Under the bonnet is a highly responsive 3.2-litre V6 that propels the 1410kg sedan from rest to 100km/h in a WRX-like 6.3 seconds. From 4000rpm it surges with a low, throaty growl, and revs incredibly quickly to its 7000rpm redline. This is no peaky, turbocharged donk either, it's flexible enough to accelerate from 30km/h in sixth gear with little fuss.

The 156's tweaked 3.2-litre engine is backed up by a race-track tuned chassis. Reinforced and revised 156 suspension results in a satisfying compromise between comfort and control. Even when pushed along at 180km/h down the sweeping Daly River Historic Highway it remained flat and composed, steadfastly glued to the road.

The GTA is a front wheel drive car, yet Alfa Romeo engineers have tuned in an amount of oversteer so the rear end can be flicked into a corner and then powered out with sure-footed confidence.

Pinpoint steering with only 1.7 turns lock-to-lock provides instant feedback and super-quick turn-in, although the turning circle is relatively large as a consequence. The six-speed manual gearbox, beefed-up like most of the mechanicals, is slick and precise - the Selespeed auto version will arrive in 2003.

Powerful Brembo brakes, six airbags and unobtrusive electronic braking and traction aids provide reassuring back-up at breakneck speeds.

The $89,950 GTA is not all race-style engineering though. Inside is a well-trimmed, well-built interior with one of the most comfortable and supportive leather sports seats in the business, plus a long list of features including top-notch CD player, trip computer, and cruise control.

From the outside the GTA's subtle styling, including a GTA badge, lowered suspension, body kit, twin exhausts and wider guards to accommodate the distinctive, five-hole 17-inch wheels, provide clues to its hard-edged nature.

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