2001 Alfa Romeo 147 Turismo 1.6 120bhp from UK and Ireland
Nothing new has gone wrong since I've had it, although there have been a couple of unpleasant surprises such as the petrol cap not fastening properly (who checks these thing buying a car?). And the seat adjuster having snapped off on the passenger side. More a reflection of rough handed previous owner than any poor reflection on the car.
Alfa Romeo have made some great cars, and this is definately one of the best. Once you enter the car for the first time, it becomes immediately apparent that the build quality is rock solid, easily on a par with the likes of the A3 or Golf. But where both these cars lack, at least in petrol form, the smaller Alfa shines.
This just does not feel like 120 horses. In comparison to a MINI Cooper, it is far faster on the road than just the marginal 5 bhp advantage claimed. The engine note is fabulous, with an urgent metallic scream past 5000 and on to the 7000 rev limiter, where the well spaced gear ratios keep you in the sweet spot as long as you keep the revs up. Like a lot of Alfa Romeos, it is one of those cars that you will happily nail on the power then back off, just to hear the noise and feel the acceleration. The handling itself is well sorted, with a precise, perfectly weighted feel and plenty of grip from the Pirelli tyres. The steering is sharp and responsive, and the car feels very safe, which is helped by the six airbags.
Despite all this fun, the real reason I went to see the car was the looks. In red with the 17's, it's hard to find another hatchback as pretty as this. The alloys and colour combination do have a dramatic effect on the overall look of the car.
In addition, the fuel economy is excellent for a car this fast, maintaining 30-35 mpg most days. Buy one if you have the chance..
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th November, 2005