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Alfa Romeo 155 and Mercedes C-Class (W202) driving comparison

Arturo Rivas
Alfa Romeo 155 and Mercedes C-Class (W202)
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Out of sight, out of mind - that's a saying that applies to many young timers. Not only is the existence of a particular model forgotten, but also its glamorous racing history. Such as the story of the A lfa Romeo 155, whose sports version drove everything to the ground in the 22 races of the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) in 1993 and at the same time ensured the survival of the most popular German racing series (see below).

Nevertheless, the angular Alfa limousine is less common on our streets than a modern Ferrari. And whoever opts for an Alfa Romeo 155 interested, can't even choose from 50 offers. Its main opponent at the time, the Mercedes C 180, on the other hand, scored over 9,000 hits as a used car. The other engines of the C-Class (W202) from the 75 PS diesel to the C 55 AMG with 347 V8 PS are not even counted.

Arturo Rivas
Rivals of the racetrack : In 1994 the Alfa 155, Opel Calibra and Mercedes C-Class competed in the DTM. There were also three Mercedes 190 E's at the start.

DTM class 1 with over 400 hp and up to 12,000 rpm

Of course, the few Alfa Romeo 155 fans and probably also some loyal DTM visitors know that the production versions of the C-Class and Alfa 155 come with theirDTM counterparts only had the rough body shape in common. In Class 1, which was newly introduced in 1993, the prescribed V6 naturally aspirated engines with a displacement of 2.5 liters at speeds of up to 12,000 rpm produced over 400 hp.

The engine, sequential gearbox and driver were moved backwards to optimize balance relocated. All-wheel drive and traction controls improved on the Alfa Romeo 155 the propulsion, while Mercedes waived the all-wheel drive and was allowed to compete with 40 kg less weight.

Great freedom for aerodynamics Packages

Ultimately, the entire aerodynamics were released below an imaginary line between the wheel hubs. And a large two-part rear spoiler ensured that the steam hammers, which weighed a little over a ton, stuck to the road almost like chewing gum. It is therefore all the more interesting to ask how the good production versions of the two racing cars drive today - and whether there will even be a certain DTM feeling behind the steering wheel.

We start our exploration tour with a silver Mercedes C 180 Elegance automatic from 1995. For the Stuttgart-based company, the successor to the first 'Baby Benz', of which around 1.9 million units were built, was an enormously important top seller. In the DTM, too, the C-Class of the W202 series was to continue the victorious run of its predecessor 190 E 2.5-16 (W201), which took the championship title to Stuttgart for the first time in 1992 with Klaus Ludwig in the cockpit.

Mercedes W202 with them 3 equipment lines

Well, our Mercedes C 180 doesn't look really dynamic and sporty. As a typical creation by Bruno Sacco, it shows a certain cosiness with its large headlights and its rounded, almost plump figure. The steel wheels with plastic hubcaps, the all-round bumper strips and dark, shiny wood on the center console from the gloomy era when Ikea was still an insider tip also go perfectly with this. Another wooden strip directly below the windshield and upholstery fabric patterned in the Mexican Indian style, called 'London' of all things, are also part of the classy Elegance equipment.

The C-Class was also available with the Esprit and equipment lines Sports. The latter would have brought somewhat wider tires (205 /60-15), a body lowered by 25 millimeters, no wood in the cockpit and sports seats. The engine of a C 180 Sport would have remained the same as in our Elegance with 122 hp at a leisurely 5,500 rpm. If you wanted more power, you had to order a C 200 (136 PS), C 220 (150 PS) or a C 280 (192 PS) at the start of production.

Leisurely C-Class with 122 HP

So now 122 HP, the oneTogether with a four-speed automatic, the Mercedes, which weighs 1,280 kilograms, is set in motion rather slowly. The seat is extremely comfortable, the view of the road and the bonnet with the star is exemplary, the automatic shifts early and gently. The modern, almost whisper-quiet four-valve engine goes very well with the extremely luxurious equipment with electric sunroof, window regulators, rear blinds and more reminds of Klaus Ludwig's company car, who defeated the four-wheel drive Alfa in 1994.

Arturo Rivas
The Alfa Romeo 155 has a body with a pronounced wedge shape. The switch from the rear-wheel drive of the predecessor Alfa 75 to front-wheel drive was very controversial among fans of the brand.

Alfa 155 is closer to the DTM car

In contrast to the middle-class Mercedes, our red Alfa Romeo 155 2.0 Twin Spark shows some visual references to its DTM counterpart 155 V6 TI : discreet front spoiler and side skirts, alloy wheels and the body that has been lowered by three centimeters by the current owner. However, there was never a production 155 with a V6 engine and all-wheel drive. The V6 with 165 hp only had front-wheel drive, while the all-wheel-drive top model Q4 with 190 hp was fired by a two-liter four-cylinder turbo from Fiat.

We are now content with front-wheel drive and the 143 hp of our two-liter Twin Spark model from 1992. Its real Alfa engine, made entirely of light metal, has 8 spark plugs, wet cylinder liners and two overhead camshafts driven by a chain. The floor pan of the Alfa Romeo 155, on the other hand, was donated by the Fiat Tipo /Tempra models, with which the 155 has a wheelbase in common: 2.54 meters.

This also explains the somewhat getting used to proportions with the long front overhang and the high, short stern that can still hold a lot of luggage: 530Liters - that's exactly 100 liters more than the Mercedes C-Class.

Alfa 155 with a flat nose

As with the Mercedes C180, the windshield in the Alfa Romeo 155, which extends far down, allows a good view of the road. In the Italian, however, not a square inch of the red bonnet is visible from the driver's seat. Never mind. Because after the first turn of the ignition key, it is immediately clear to you that you are sitting in a red sports sedan from Italy: The engine reports with that throaty snot that only an Alfa can sound like.

Alfa 155 is 3 s faster to 100 than the W202

The clutch and transmission of the Alfa Romeo 155 are easy to operate. The two-valve engine hangs courageously on the gas and allows decent driving performance. With 9.3 seconds for the standard sprint, it takes around three seconds off our elegant automatic Mercedes. To make matters worse, with a brisk driving style the Swabian-sedate acting C-Class slows us down a bit, while the Alfa seems to rejoice: 'Yes, do it, accelerate, 6,000 rpm is a no brainer.'

This is how much the Alfa Romeo 155 and Mercedes C-Class cost

Let's start at the bottom: ALfa Romeo 155 and Mercedes C180 is available in running order for well under 1,000 euros. Market watcher Classic-Analytics quoted for state 4 copies between 500 and 1,000 euros. With the Alfa 155, it doesn't matter which engine is on board. The price difference between the 1.8 Twin Spark and the 2.5 V6 is only 100 euros.

Good copies of the Alfa 155 in condition 2 cost 2,900 euros (1.8 Twin Spark and 1.8 Twin Spark 16V) and 3,100 euros (155 2.0 Twin Spark). The top models 2.0 16V Twin Spark and 155 2.5 V6 cost 3,200 euros.

There are more significant differences in the Mercedes C-Class of the W202 series: the entry-level C180 in condition 2 is around 4,000 euros, the 230 Compressor at 4,400 euros and the C280 at 4,800 euros. Special cases are the top models of the series that have been refined by AMG. The C36 AMG costs 12,000 euros (condition 4: 4,300 euros), the C43 AMG even 17,000 euros (condition 4: 5,600 euros).

Arturo Rivas
The Like its predecessor, the Mercedes W202 was drawn by Bruno Sacco. The first concern was a better economy of space. With only slightly larger dimensions, there is much more space.

DTM 1993 - Alfa Romeo kept its word and won

For the 1993 season, the participants in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) agreed to introduce the demanding regulations for class 1. The five manufacturers Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Mercedes and Opel wanted to build corresponding vehicles at the start of the season. But only one made it: Alfa Romeo.

The C-Class from Mercedes and the Calibra from Opel were not that advanced, while Audi and BMW withdrew from the DTM, around 1994 with their near-series class 2 touring cars to contest the Super Touring Car Cup. In 1993, only modified cars from the previous year were available as opponents for the all-wheel drive Alfa. The Italians won the championship confidently.

A year later, the tide turned: Mercedes now competed with the new C-model, also built according to class 1 regulations, and defeated the Alfa all-wheel drive, which up to Participated in the DTM /ITC in 1996 without winning any further title.


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