1997 Alfa Romeo 146 TS 1.6 Twin Spark (16v) from Taiwan
This is the ideal sporting family car
The car has been incredibly reliable for me, and has given little trouble.
When the car was almost new, there was a broken wire under the seat which caused the rear electric window from operating.
The timing belt broke at about 68,000 Km. That was really my fault for not changing it sooner. The owner's handbook listed the service interval as 70,000 Km. I think they were being a little optimistic!!! I was lucky it only bent 2 valves. I now change it every 40,000 Km or sooner. I really wish they used a chain like they always used to!
There was one other nagging intermittent ignition fault where the car would cut in and out with no warning. It would always get me home, but this went on for weeks until it was finally solved. It turned out to be a camshaft position sensor. The part said Bosch-Made in Germany. So much for the Italian electrics jokes!
This car is not my first Alfa, that being a 1966 Sprint GT, but it was my first new car.
It is a true driver's car and has been fantastic all around. The handling is beautifully balanced, and the harder you push it the more it shines. It is perfect on the twisty Taiwanese mountain roads, where you need to be ready for almost anything.
The engine is a real soprano. It loves high revs. There's plenty of willingness throughout the rev range, but it feels almost supernaturally smooth at the top.
The best way to describe it is that it feels like a complete car. Where the engine and chassis were made to work in harmony. The best compliment I can give it is that it is a REAL Alfa.
I do have 3 children and this is also a practical 5 door family sedan which is surprisingly luxurious (mine has got the factory leather seats).
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 18th May, 2005