Alfa Romeo 164 Origins
The 164 was created as part of an effort to help Alfa Romeo reestablish itself as a prestigious car brand after a difficult period during the late 1970s and early 1980s. The 164, which the company produced until 1998, was also the last Alfa to be made available to the North American market.
While the 164 failed to impact the U.S. market to any major degree, the car sold very well in Europe. European drivers saw the 164 as a reliable sports saloon that is more affordable than similar models issued by German carmakers such as BMW or Mercedes-Benz. When the 164 was ultimately discontinued in 1998, the Alfa Romeo 166 replaced it.About the Alfa Romeo 164
In addition to being reliable and affordable, the 164 offers drivers style and performance in the form of an upmarket executive car. The car’s body was styled by famed Italian automotive design firm, Pininfarina; the same firm responsible for the Ferrari Testarossa.
Many drivers appreciated the 164 for the stimulating cacophony of high-performance noises it produces when driven. Far more affordable than a Ferrari or Lamborghini, the Alfa 164 offers drivers the thrill of Italian high-performance at a reasonable price. However, while the 164 earns high marks for style and performance, its interior is often criticized; particularly for certain dashboard controls which are regarded as overly complex and distracting to drivers.
The 164 was also the first vehicle produced by Alfa Romeo to fully embrace new technology and, in fact, set the technological and styling precedent for all Alfa Romeos to come. Some of the advanced features the 164 offered included automatic climate control and an electronically controlled suspension. The 164 boasted a better build than previous Alfa Romeos, with a galvanized steel frame that helped prevent the rust problems associated with many earlier Alfa Romeos. The 164 also featured a plush interior, upholstered with fine Italian leather.
The 164 came equipped with a 3.0-liter, 24-valve, V-6 that is capable of generating 210 hp. This was more powerful than many V-8s of its time. Of course Alfas are generally known for their superb handling capabilities, and the 164 was no exception. After all, the 164 was engineered for European highways, where cars must regularly be able to function well at speeds topping 100 mph. In a nutshell, the 164 provided drivers the power and handling of a sports car in the form of a reasonably priced sedan. It’s a shame that during its U.S. run the 164 wasn’t able to overcome American drivers’ poor impressions of Alpha Romeo cars.Alfa Romeo 164 Evolution
The 1995 Alfa Romeo 164 was the last model made available before the company ceased new car sales in the U.S. In Europe and elsewhere, the 164 was produced until 1997, when it was replaced by the rather unorthodox-looking 166.
The 1995 version of the 164 featured a 24-valve, 3.0-liter V-6, as did the 1994. Previous versions of the 164 had come equipped with 12-valve V-6s.
The interior of the 1995 version featured the same firm leather bucket seats and thick, luxurious carpeting as previous models did. However, like previous models of the 164, the 1995 version also underwent frequent criticism for the poor design of its air-conditioning controls and other accessories, like the radio.
Despite the poor design of certain dashboard controls, the 1995 Alfa 164 offered good front, rear, and side visibility as well as excellent legroom. It also provided a generous array of standard features including power windows, locks, mirrors, sunroof, and cruise control. Standard safety features included a driver’s side airbag.Alfa Romeo 164 Features
Alfa Romeo introduced a four-wheel drive version of the 164 in 1993. The Q4, as it is known, came equipped with a more-powerful V-6 engine and features a four-wheel-drive system that Alfa Romeo developed in conjunction with Austrian manufacturing conglomerate Steyr-Puch.
Highly advanced in comparison to other four-wheel-drive systems of its time, the Q4’s four-wheel-drive system was comprised of a viscous coupling unit, center epicyclic differentials, and Torsen differentials in the rear. This advanced system allowed for torque to be distributed between the axles; depending on factors such as how fast the car goes, its turning radius, the engine rpms, the throttle position, and ABS parametrics. The Q4 also came with a Getrag six-speed manual transmission.