2005 Alfa Romeo 147 GTA 3.2 V6 from UK and Ireland
A car of compromise, but if you overlook the faults it is a real gem!
I had to take it to the dealer because the stupid useless dealer I brought it from steam cleaned the engine and got water on the coils. NOT the cars fault.
I have only had my GTA for about 3 weeks, but I am very happy with it.
There is a lot of information out there, and it seems it is either very positive or very negative. Basically everyone is BIASED.
From my relatively short ownership I believe the truth lies somewhere in the middle. While the car is not a fantastic drive, it isn’t rubbish. There is certainly scope for improvement, but that is the case for most cars. What you have to realise with the 147 is that it is not a hot hatch in the same way as the Clio or Civic are. It is more of a muscle car.
Your conventional hot hatch is designed to provide a good balance of everyday usability and performance. The majority of this performance is extracted from decent suspension and brakes. These allow you to maximise the power on tap. These cars will usually have more power than there standard brothers and sisters, but most will still only do 0-60 in around 7 seconds.
What you have with the Alfa is a different sort of car. It has not been designed for performance. It has been designed to be a baby supercar. As a result it won’t be practical in everyway or the best drive. It has some compromises.
The main issue is of course the handling. The electrics do a very good job of countering this, especially in the dry. In the wet they do struggle - As noted by a controllable amount of understeer! Over the last few weeks I have gotten used to its behaviour and it does feel better. There is a surprising amount of grip there, but it takes a while to feel confident to use it. I think it is the quick steering which causes this. Because I’m not used to it, it does feel a little unnatural.
The other issue is the turning circle. I test drove one and the dealer said the turning circle is fine. YOU ARE A LIAR!!! It is not the end of the world, but it is a pain. I cannot get into my driveway without taking a couple of swings. I have never had to do this before. Even with big cars and vans. Tight car parks such as supermarkets car parks can also be difficult to navigate. Some times you need to back up a bit to get a wide enough swing on those 90 degree turns. You then get the feeling everyone thinks you can’t drive.
Lastly the fuel economy. Trust me it is bad. I average about 20mpg and honestly I don’t drive it hard that often. I can get 99mpg on the motorway (going down hill with the throttle released) and usually average about 33mpg on motorway runs. I am thinking about getting the LPG conversion done, as the cost of LPG is half that of petrol. In other words it would be like having a 40-50mpg 3.2 V6!
Anyway I am thrilled to bits with it. I will update this review over time - Maybe do another one when I have a had a better chance to get to know it. I would happily recommend the car to anyone who wants a fun alternative to an Evo or Scooby (Brilliant drives, but seriously naff). Like I have said, you will have to compromise, it is not to everyone's taste, but it has really character and makes you smile!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th November, 2007
29th Nov 2007, 04:00
A truly excellent report - unbiased and gets the point of this site completely.
The 147 GTA is an acquired taste, and I test drove one and was hooked - as you say it is not as complete a package as other hot hatches, but is in a different league of desirability.
It really is like a supercar hatchback, but more like a supercar than a hatchback-utterly engaging, intoxicating, impractical, scary maintenance, depreciation etc etc.
One thing you have is my respect; only a true petrolhead would buy this in favour of the competition. The 147 GTA is a deeply desirable car, but you have to be committed to own one.
I chickened out two years ago and bought a motorbike instead-but I have moved house since and one of my neighbours owns the actual car I test drove (red 04 plate, black/brown leather). Every time I see the car, I get strong feelings of elation from the experience I had driving it, strong regret for not buying it and a sense of relief that I kept the money!!
This has to be one of the best cars of all time-not as a complete package - but as a true drivers car, a total classic and a car worthy of carrying the Alfa badge.
I think what haunts me is that emotion I got from the GTA, was the same I got from a Maserati GT. Other people compare it to Golfs and R26s. WRONG!!
If you think of it as a practical, budget (!) Ferrari or Maserati, it makes perfect sense.
I am so jealous!!!