Alfa Romeo has given its 156 range one more facelift before the next generation is introduced ahead of the brand’s re-entry to the American market in 2007. It’s got a slight Brera look now.

Alfa Romeo has given its 156 range one more facelift before the next generation is introduced ahead of the brand’s re-entry to the American market in 2007.

It has been reworked by Giugiaro ItalDesign, the styling house that created the Brera concept car.

The front of the vehicles have a similar look to that of the Brera concept car. In the cabin, a new type of fabric called the Alfatex for the seats. There are leather options as well. Trim levels have been increased with, for example, bi-zone climate control and an uprated sound system.

The existing line-up of petrol and diesel engines have been joined by the latest generation common rail diesels: 5-cylinder 2,4 JTD Multijet 20v, capable of 129 kW and 385 N.m, and 1,9 JTD Multijet 16v with 103 kW.

TI (Tourisme International) was the designation on many sporting Alfas back in the 1960s. Now it returns on a sporty version of the 156. Suspension tweaks, new alloys (215/45 17"), front and rear spoilers, and leather-covered interior feature on the 156 TI.

Alfa was scheduled to return the United States in 2005, but the manufacturer said this has been delayed until 2007 “due to dramatic changes in Alfa's future model programme”.

“Our idea now is to have a full range of cars, including a crossover model, when we return to America,” said Alfa boss Daniele Bandiera earlier this year. “Looking at our business case, when we will have a full product range and distribution network, the most favourable time for Alfa is 2007.”

He added that the 156’s replacement would be very radical.

The 156 range was introduced in 1997 and more than 540 000 have been sold world-wide. A Fiat South Africa spokesman said the range is being evaluated for the South African market.