Alfa Romeo – Good or Bad ?

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  • Alfa Romeo – Good or Bad ?
  • Premier Icon pedalhead

    I had a new 159 for three years & it was completely trouble-free. Bit slow though in 1.9 guise (until it was remapped).


    Had a giulietta as a hire car a year ago. I still grin thinking about it.


    I had a 146 for six years followed by a 156 for three years. I’d have another

    I’ve just bought a GT 1.9jtdm (170 Bhp with the Q2 LSD)

    I’ve had it less than two weeks, so can’t comment on reliability, but did a fair bit of research (pistonheads, alfa owner)

    They have their foybles, but tbh, few diesels are ‘bullet proof’ nowadays.

    Common issues with the GT /156 (159 is different floor pan) are front suspension and EGR valve clogging (not an alfa specific problem)

    There are a couple of design quirks, which raise a smile (no handle on the boot lid, you have to claw your fingers underneath; and you can only see half your face in the mirror on the sun visor – it’s angled away from the seat.

    Spec wise it’s excellent – compare to 120d and 320d (of which the second hand market is flooded with poverty spec models ) the alfa compares well, full leather, Bose etc)

    It’s also nice to be in a car that is genuinely rare / exclusive. I await flaming for that one 🙂


    Both 😆

    Premier Icon stevied

    I’ve had a 159ti for the last 18 months. No problems with and I still grin with lust every time I go to get in it…it is a beautiful car:


    Make sure you don’t get one within a couple or 3 years of a new model coming out.

    Both of mine that were within that limit were a bit of trouble whereas the 156 that was a few years past the model launch was rock solid.

    Premier Icon hatter

    Had a 53 plate 156 twin spark sportwagon for three years, a bit fond of oil and occasionally melodramatic with the warning messages but went like a good’un.

    Recent Alfas seem to be much improved and so long as you look after them properly, don’t skimp on servicing and don’t rag them to death they’re lovely if rather eccentric cars to own.

    If I wasn’t already lucky enough to be in possession of my dream van I’d happily have another.


    I am in much need of a new car purely for commuting to work in. I quite like the look of the Alfa Romeo 159 & GT 1.9 diesel possibly 2006/07, however am unsure as to if i would be buying a whole load of trouble with the stigma behind Alfas in the past. Anybody any experience of these and if so whats your opinion ?


    Alfa’s poor reputation stems from models of the past. They’ve struggled to shake of the unreliable tag ever since.

    I’ve had a number of Alfas, from an Alfasud (well 2 to be precise) 33, 75, 146, 156 and they’ve all been quirky, fun to drive, and the later models ultimately reliable. The newer models, 156, 159, GT etc are good cars, and will do you well.

    Everyone should own an Alfa at some point.

    Premier Icon woody74

    I had a 147 for a number of years until it got stolen and it was the best car I have ever had bar the Mark 2 Golf GTI when I was 21. The only reason I didn’t replace it was that we didn’t really need 2 cars. Absolutely loved it. Not the fastest thing and yes you got the odd warning light flash on but you learnt to just turn the engine off and back on again and the warning would go away for a few more weeks.

    Lots of them are lease cars so I found the interiors were often badly looked after. Took me ages to find a top condition one, but it was proper mint. Still get a bit upset thinking about some scrote nicking it and writing it off.

    Would I buy one again…….Oh yes big time


    On the basis of “everyone should own an Alfa at sometime” I bought a 159 in February as a stop gap. It was a good price and seemed genuine. 2.4 diesel saloon. Cheap because it was due a cam belt change. So I’ve spent £1000 or so on servicing, belt, tyres etc at a local Alfa independent and that probably takes it to a faction over list but I’m content that its sound now.

    And here it comes – I regret buying it. As I said it was a stop gap while looking for a new estate. I should have got a Sports wagon. I love it. Its the best looking thing in the car park and makes you want to drive. Relaxing and engaging to drive. It really does make you smile. Yes its thirsty when pushed and sometimes the warning lights come on at start up. Turn off and start again and there is nothing there. Happens once a fortnight at most.

    I’m going to keep this until I find a replacement wagon which probably won’t be any more bike friendly than what I’ve got really. Or get another, but I’m in for Alfa action from now on.

    Premier Icon verses

    I bought a 156 Sportwagon a few years back, since then it’s had the occasional random warning light on the dash (seems to have been cured since I changed the battery) and there’s a few other minor oddities, but nothing you’d not expect on an 8 year old car.

    It’s been quite smokey at times, but again it’s an 8 year old diesel so not too surprising, and since I’ve been using injector cleaning fuel additives and cleaned out the MAP+EGR sensors it seems a lot better.

    In other words;

    Recent Alfas seem to be much improved and so long as you look after them properly, don’t skimp on servicing and don’t rag them to death they’re lovely if rather eccentric cars to own.

    Actually… DO rag them once in a while, an ‘Italian tune up” can help clear out the cobwebs 😉

    My only regret is going for a diesel, I do relatively low mileage so higher servicing costs mean I’d probably be just as well off with the 2.5 V6…


    Had a 159 JTDM in the best spec with Leather etc. No problems whatsoever. When my lease is up on my current boring but practical estate I will be looking at another Alfa for sure. a 159 sportwagon or similar.


    hughjengin – Member

    Had a 159 JTDM in the best spec with Leather etc. No problems whatsoever. When my lease is up on my current boring but practical estate I will be looking at another Alfa for sure. a 159 sportwagon or similar.

    You’ll be looking second hand then! alfa now only make the Guilietta and the Mito.


    It’s the dealer network and depreciation that are the main problems these days, but if buying used you can avoid the first and the second works to your advantage! Looking for a car for Mrs P at the mo, and the Giulietta is top of the list

    some good advice here, SH they make good buys as they do depreciate fast

    Here’s mine. Not taken from its best angle, but still very much a looker, IMO


    159 2.4 Ti owner here.. love it. Looks good, drives superbly. On 80k now so due a cambelt, just done the track rod ends and EGR, drives like a new car now!

    Would like a V6 GT to compliment it!

    159 sports waggon 1.9jtdm in red…

    It’s the least practical estate car money can buy, the boot hatch is like a letter box you have to thread bike through
    The pockets and cubby holes are small and awkward shaped
    It’s not particularly fast, or economic.

    I love it!

    I’ve done ~65k in it, the outside temperature gauge doesn’t read the correct tempteture…


    Former 156 owner here and despite the fact that it wasn’t the most reliable car I’ve ever owned, despite it being the newest and most expensive I’ve ever bought, I now miss it more than probably any other car I’ve had.

    You get plenty of Alfa owners, or ex Alfa owners, who will regale you with the stories of the “quirks” of their car (the time the throttle cable snapped as I was accelerating away at a very busy junction..), but you won’t find many who wouldn’t recommend having one.

    Have one!


    Had a 156 and a 147. Both excellent cars but you should be “mechanically sympathetic” as my Engineer mate calls me!. Keep an eye on the Oil and make sure you service it regulalrly.


    Ive had numerous over the years and enjoyed most of them, but if they go wrong the higher than normal bills are simply not worth the just above standard drive imo. RIP my lovely 166 super lusso!


    Another Alfa owner… 159 SW ti with the newer 2.0JTDM engine. Oddly, this is my first Alfa after being a serial Fiat driver. My advice to all Italian car buyers is look after them and get them serviced and they will serve you fine. The Italians don’t understand people complaining about reliability having ignored servicing. Oh, and drive them like they are meant to be.

    As for the GT, probably the ultimate incarnation of the 147/156 cars. Are you sure you don’t want a nice petrol version?


    My dad worked for New Holland tractors his whole life. So company cars were first from ford, then from the Fiat group.

    The poor guy chose to drive a Fiat rather than an Alfa. He also categorically advised me against buying a 6-9 year old Alfa, when I really wanted a Brera. Granted, I think he retired around 2007 so they might have learnt to follow a wiring diagram in the intervening years 🙂


    Get my Giulietta in 4 weeks, can’t blooming wait after driving an L200 for 6 years. Vroom Vroom. 8)


    Can’t be bothered with the above but here’s my twopeneth worth.
    Bro in law (and also very good mate) had one new in aug 2009 (159 that is) it was a diesel, he from the day he bought it was gutted he didn’t get the bigger Diesel engine. However other than that it was beautiful, never missed a beat, put together superbly (didn’t get a Friday afternoon modal) and handled superbly, which I can vouch for as I ragged the nuts off it several times.

    Premier Icon dannybgoode

    Alfa 147 1.9 JTD 2004 plate off ebay.

    Never even had an advisory for its MOT until this year and that was only for a tyre.

    Not missed a beat – properly love it.

    Most important thing is service history. Alfas tend not to be like Japanese / German cars where you can get away with being a bit lax with servicing. They need servicing on the service interval.

    Also, the cam belt *must* be changed on schedule – if it hasn’t be wary.

    Petrols tend to be more problematic than diesels. Bear in mind the diesel lump is the same unit Vauxhall and Fiat use and is pretty robust.

    And get a GT – the Alfa GT is, IMHO, the nicest looking ‘normal’ car you can buy.


    Danny B


    Brera 2.2 jts here. The most beautiful car IMHO. But new steering components, timing chain, etc had mounted up. Love it but it costs me! Does about 35mpg too!

    Premier Icon fruitbat


    1975 Alfa 2000 GTV Coupe (Bertone)
    1982 Alfa GTV6 2.5 (rebuilt from a fire damaged write off)
    1987 Alfa 75 2.5 Green Cloverleaf
    1997 Alfa 155 2.0 Sport (First ever brand new car,- company car though.)
    2000 Alfa 156 2.0 (company car)
    2003 Alfa 156 2.0 (company car)
    2001 Alfa 166 2.5 (did a deal for money instead of company car)
    2007 Alfa 159 3.2 Q4 Lusso

    Mrs Fruitbat:

    1987 Alfasud 1.5 Ti
    (some Lancias between Alfas)
    Alfa 33 1.5 Ti
    Alfa 33 1.7
    Fiat Punto Sporting
    Alfa 146 2.0 Ti
    2003 Alfa 147 2.0 Lusso (bought new kept for 9 years)
    2012 Abarth Punto Evo

    Son of Fruitbat:

    2003 Alfa 147 2.0 (ex sister in law’s car)

    It would be correct to assume that we like Alfas 😀


    Awesome list right ^^ there!!!


    From speaking to an Alfa independent workshop when I decided to get rid of my fairly rubbish 156 he stated that the 159s are actually pretty reliable and so not do good for his business!


    147 1.6 Lusso ordered at the launch party.
    155 2.5 V6
    156 2.0 Lusso
    156 2.0 JTS
    147 Q2

    Great cars that are fun to drive and if looked after reliable. The 147 Q2 is my wife’s car and having had a remap it has more torque than the 3.0l petrol engine but can still give mid 40 mpg.

    Next will be a 2.4 Brera with a remap.


    Never owned an Alfa, but always wanted an Alfasud, and I really, really want this one:


    I hear wwaswwas’s brother has just bought one. Looks alright to me.


    Colleague of mine has a Brera over the last couple of years the seats have broken a few times, passenger door, boot and parking sensors. I don’t know why they put rear seats in the Brera as no one can sit in them!


    Said this before. I once climbed into a 156 navy blue 156 sportswagon with beige cord interior. I involuntary-gasped as I got in. Mundane colours matched so well together.


    Had one as a rental car two years ago and whilst I was impressed with its looks overall I was very disapointed. As mentioned above the boot was poorly designed and it was difficult to get stuff in and out and it didn’t seem to hold much stuff (the car seemed large on the outside but small on the inside – some sort of reverse TARDIS).

    It was really sluggish (this is in comparison to my Peugeot 207 rather than a sports car) and the driver had poor visibility – i spent ages trying to adjust the rear view mirror but eventually gave up and accepted that it was a poor design.

    To cap it all, it had black leather seats – just what you don’t need in the south of France in summer – we had to lay towels over the seats before we could sit on them in shorts.

    My father-in-law loves them and has had Alfas for years, but i suspect this is for their looks rather than their practicality….

    Premier Icon Nobby

    20 odd years ago I had an Alfasud 1.5 Ti Cloverleaf & it’s still probably the best drivers car I’ve ever owned (& I’ve owned a fair few). It never let me down other than the rear demister used to blow it’s fuse if you left it on too long.

    Fast forward to now, I was looking at new cars earlier this year & downsizing. I tested the usual suspects from Ford to BMW then, on a whim, drove the Giulietta. Ordered it the following day.

    So far it’s proven to be a blast to drive (despite the big diesel lump)& faultless – it really does put a grin on my face. The ‘DNA’ switch is permanently in ‘Dynamic’ which really brings it to life & helps with fuel economy, honestly, it really does…..

    Friends have 147s & Breras all of which have been ok other than ‘normal’ issues you’d have with other makes.


    We have 2 Alfa’s at the moment 🙂

    Lovely cars to drive and the comments you get from total strangers!! One note if your buying secondhand to do your homework on services and how well they have been treated… My 159 2.0 has had a few hiccups and the DPF has now been removed and mapped due to the previous owner choking it up ;-/

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