2003 Alfa Romeo 147 TS Lusso 5-door 1.6 16v twin spark
My 2nd Alfa, and the 2nd I've had towed away!!!
Front wheel bearing needed replacing.
Intermittent battery drain when parked, resulting in a flat battery.
Low oil pressure warning kept flashing up on the dash.
I have owned one other Alfa. They say you aren't a petrol head unless you've had at least one!!
Well, I bought this one with memories of my first (an old Alfa 33), which ended up being towed away after the engine caught fire. This one ended up getting towed away too.
First things first though... these are a great fun little car. Mine was a black 5 door with graphite grey alloys, and privacy glass at the rear, bought for £900 with a decent MOT. For the age of it, I think it still looked pretty trendy and up to date really, and I love the design of the rear doors to make it look like a 3 door, a la mk2 Seat Leon.
Reasonably up to date describes the interior. It was well put together and rattle free, which surprised me for an Alfa. The climate control was a bit questionable in its ability to cool; it took ages to get going, but would eventually put out ice cold air. Everything worked except the driver's side mirror, which had been clouted at some point. The BOSE stereo was quite good (although the BOSE system with a subwoofer in my Mazda3 MPS blows it away). The leather seats with Lusso stitched in them looked smart and were comfortable, as was the driving position for me. A big plus point for me was that there was space to the right of the accelerator to rest your foot when using cruise control, something I do a lot. Small boot for the class though.
It handled very well with little body roll, the steering was very positive, gear change was nice and the engine pulled very well for its size, reminded me a bit of a Honda V-TEC in the way it got a second wind at higher revs. Word of warning though... the engine noise/revs at a sustained motorway cruise do not make these a long distance cruiser. I don't know what the 2.0 litre's like, but I'd consider one of them if you do long journeys, or a diesel one. I got around 33-34 MPG out of it, which kept me happy!
For some reason the low oil pressure warning kept flashing up on start up; it was intermittent and a common issue for Alfa's of this era from what I've read. It was possibly a lazy oil pump, but it was always OK on oil level and drove fine. I've also read if the wrong oil is used, these are very sensitive to it and that can cause it too.
Now, onto why it got towed away... for the first month or two it was fine, then one day the battery just ran down unexpectedly, it was dead when I went to unlock it. Putting it down to maybe leaving a interior light on or something, I jumped it, ran it down the road and the battery seemed to charge fine. Then, it happened again, and again! So, I bought a new battery for it, which was OK for a while and then, BAM, same again!! Reading online it appeared some owners had had the same and it was down to water getting in and shorting the electrics somehow. So, as an experiment, I turfed my pride and joy out of my garage and stuck the troublesome Alfa in. Didn't work... same result!! Weirdly it would easily go a week sometimes and then all of a sudden do it for no apparent reason. Bearing in mind I'd already spent 100 on x2 new tyres, 60 odd on a battery and 200 on the wheel bearing, I decided enough was enough and called someone to scrap it and tow it away.
My second Alfa, and the second Alfa I've had towed away. I like Alfas, and would have another... but they sure as hell live up to their reputation!!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st April, 2015
21st Apr 2015, 19:56
As with most cars, it would help if you got a far younger car with far less mileage.
24th Apr 2015, 23:23
My other car only has 50000 on it... this was bought to keep the miles off that, but I wanted something fun to drive as a third car in the household. Incidentally I've run an Omega 2.5 V6 with 180k miles, a BMW 525 with 200k miles, a Mondeo with 162k miles, and a Saab 9-3 with 125k miles; none went kaput like the Alfa. The current cheapo third car/workhorse is a Laguna dCi on a 55 reg with 145k miles that runs fine. So, you'll forgive me for thinking Alfas live up to their rep!