I have owned the car for just under a year, covering around 13,000 miles. I have been all over the country and in some cases doing around 9-10 hours of solid driving without any problems. I have however had the following problems:
When I brought the car it began misfiring shortly after I collected it. It was later diagnosed to be water on the ignition coils. The most likely cause of this was the stupidity of the dealer who sold me the car jet washing the engine. It was all sorted out within a few hours at the main dealer.
The gear linkage was loose and there was no block to stop you crunching reverse gear when moving forward. This was resolved under warranty.
A few months after the original misfire the car began to loose power briefly when driving, particularly at speed. I thought there could be an ECU problem. It however turned out that the electrical terminals were damaged (which I believed happened when the misfired was resolved). This was again resolved under warranty.
The driver side electric window switch is temperamental.
The drive side heated seat button no longer works.
After around 9 months of ownership the front differential exploded and destroyed the clutch and gearbox. Apparently this is quite common in the GTA. I was fortunate I had taken out an extended warranty (the Alfa warranty expired about 3 weeks previously) so I got all parts replaced. Alfa also gave me £250 towards an up-rated limited slip differential as an act of goodwill too. The total cost was just over £3,000 so be warned!
This car is absolutely phenomenal and I very much doubt I will ever sell it. Firstly there is the look of the thing. It is pearlescent white and beautifully styled. Everywhere I go with it people look on in admiration. It is a very tasteful car so you don’t get any disapproving looks (which you might get in a more aggressive looking Astra VXR or Focus RS).
The speed is also amazing. I am not joking here, you can give the likes of supercars a scare. In gear this thing is very very fast and if they want to get away from it they have to really try hard! When put up against the lesser hot hatches it is hilarious. Take the current Golf GTI, it may as well be going backwards! – Of course the GTI is about 50bhp worse off.
These cars are very rare. I believe there were only around 300 registered in the UK. To put that into perspective there are well over 800 Clio V6’s in the UK and how often do you see those?
The interior is beautifully crafted and offers comfortable support to your backside even when you are sitting down for the best part of 10 hours straight. None if it has fallen to bits yet either!
Q2 DIFFERENTIAL UPGRADE (LIMITED SLIP FRONT DIFF) – AROUND £500.
The handling is quite reasonable without it, but with the Q2 it is incredible! I have only had it back a short while, but can sum it up like this. Without the Q2 you always have this nagging feeling it will under steer down a twisty B road, mostly because you can feel it slipping ever so slightly as the traction control systems attempt to keep it on the road. With the Q2 there is virtually no give! It just follows the line you pointed it at. The only other car I drove which was this precise was the Clio 197, which if you know anything about is one of the best handling cars you can get. It isn’t quite as good as the Clio as the chassis and suspension are still not the best. At high speed down a bumpy road it still feels a little wobbly, but I doubt the majority of the competition is any better. I now feel confident to drive with the traction control off. Corners are now something I seek out rather than long straights!
You can get 30mpg on a long run. The downside is that you can’t behave long enough to get those figures. I usually average 25-26mpg doing long runs with some town driving. On a commute it is therefore not bad, but hit any traffic and those figures can plummet to 20mpg or less!
Insurance is also a huge cost. Last year I paid around £1,200, this year with a multi-car policy it is something like £900. However, I have now brought a second car for work so the Alfa is insured for 3,000 miles per year rather than 15,000.
Tyres are expensive. You need to budget at least £100 per corner. Don’t buy cheap rubbish if you want to stay on the tarmac and out of the trees!
Road tax is going to be ridiculous next year - Over £400. It is extortionate and a sign of the complete uselessness of the current government.
This car, with the Q2 diff fitted is probably one of the best affordable fast cars you can buy. The only competition I can see being faster would be the new Focus Rs (300bhp), Clio V6 MK2, latest Audi S3 and Latest Golf R32. The German cars are a little common though so you won’t want those. The Clio is like a baby supercar so very exciting to own, but has no boot or back seats so not suitable for everyone. The Focus is a bit boy racer (which isn’t a bad thing but I bet PC Plod will like pulling them over). You could go for the Subaru or Evo alternatives but the Scooby is sinfully ugly and the Evo is a bit too technical. Both may be quick but they won’t stir you soul like an Alfa GTA!
All of the above will also be subject to higher road tax next year and will in many cases cost more to run in other areas (tyres and parts?) Some will depreciate less but remember the 147 GTA is very very rare so demand will keep prices reasonable.
This leaves you with one choice: the 147 GTA. If you can put up with it having a few niggles, you will be very happy with one.