4. Alfa Romeo 156 GTA
2002. – 150.000 km – 6500 €
The 156 GTA and 156 Sportwagon GTA were launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September 2001. The GTA was named after the Alfa Romeo GTA from the 1960s, the letters GTA meaning Gran Turismo Alleggerita (English: lightened Grand Tourer). 2,973 berlinas and 1,678 Sportwagons were built until the GTA production stopped in October 2005 citing the upcoming replacement to the 156, the Alfa Romeo 159. The very first GTA was sold via on-line auction, from September 13 to 23, the duration of the Frankfurt Motor Show. Winning bid was 48,691.26 euros, which was donated to “Telethon” charity fund.
The 3.2 litre Bussone V6 engine (The big Busso, so called after legendary Ferrari engineer Giuseppe Busso) was the largest capacity version built at the Alfa Romeo factory at Arese, north of Milano. The engine has a 93 mm (3.7 in) bore and a 78 mm (3.1 in) stroke and hence a capacity of (3,179 cc (194.0 cu in)) with 250 PS (184 kW; 247 hp) and 300 N·m (220 ft·lbf) of torque. After market Alfa Romeo specialist Autodelta produced performance versions up to 3.7 litres and 400 PS (290 kW). The European Touring Car Championship winning 156 GTA was however running a 2.0 litre 4-cylinder 300 PS (220 kW) engine due to class regulations.
The GTA variants were equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or six-speed Selespeed (paddles in steering wheel, hydraulically operated robotized) gearbox, had a lowered and stiffened suspension, a distinctive body kit, wider rear arches and leather interior. The GTA did not take the Giugiaro designed facelift introduced to the 156 in 2002, but continued with the acclaimed Walter de Silva design to the very end of production.
The suspension was specifically made for the GTA by Fiat Research Centre and Fiat Auto Design and Development Department. Steering was also made faster, only 1.7 turns from lock to lock compared to 2.1 in normal models. The GTA had also larger brakes (Brembo), at front 305 millimetres (12 in) discs and rear 276 millimetres (10.8 in). The front discs were later upgraded to 330 millimetres (13 in) to cope with the performance potential.
It is easy to get very varying fuel consumption figures; the EC urban fuel consumption is 15.6 miles per imperial gallon (18.1 L/100 km; 13.0 mpg-US) and combined 23.3 mpg-imp (12.1 L/100 km; 19.4 mpg-US), extra-urban consumption is 32.8 mpg-imp (8.6 L/100 km; 27.3 mpg-US). Even though the name suggests a light car, the GTA isn’t any lighter than base 156. It was actually 91 kilograms (201 lb) heavier than 2.5 litre V6 engined version.