Tyres wear rapidly at the back.
I have owned and driven new Toyota's, Hondas, Ford's, BMW's, Fiat's, and VW's, but this is a truly great car. When they first came out I thought the front-end styling was a little strange, but now it makes sense. From the rear it has a great stance. They still look great, this one will be a classic.
The interior is very stylish comfortable and robust. Its lasted well in the three years I've had it. Italians know how to make stylish furniture. I have the beige leather, so things look nice and light. People comment on how luxurious it is. The stereo is great.
It drives like a grown up 164, which is ideal: far more solid and refined, but still sporty. You can cruise very confortably in it, or when the road gets more interesting, really have a fun drive. It ain't a GTV, but that's another story.
The sportronic gearbox takes a bit of getting used to. In normal mode it changes quite early from first to second, which is quite smooth around town, but not that fast. Anytime you want a more sporty response, nudge the lever over to the left and it is in sport mode, where it holds onto the gears for longer. I find sport mode good for windy more demanding roads if I get a bit of space. For a cool trick, change it into first and floor it. it goes to the redline in first and second. By then you have to slow down because you are exceeeding the speed limit. It sounds glorious, best sound this side of a Ferrari.
People are funny about Alfas. It seems you either love them or hate them. People still ask me if breaks down all the time. Puh-Leeze. I've run a variety of Alfas for 16 years. They are better than the VWs I had at the same time. Just because your father had an Alfasud once and it dissolved in a rain shower. Its reliable, comfortable and fun. If you truly love cars, you would love this. If you care about what other people think, buy that BMW.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 4th August, 2006