1996 Alfa Romeo 155 Reviews - Page 3 of 4

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 TS 16V 2.0 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2002
Engine and transmission 2.0 Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.6 / 10
Distance when acquired56000 miles
Most recent distance75000 miles
Previous carRover - Austin 200

Summary:

Costly, but worth it, a real drivers car

Faults:

Started with reasonably priced general service bills, the 60K miles service being the most expensive, no serious problems.. until..

Last year (2001) at 60K miles, the Cam belts went snap, and destroyed the engine.. had to have all 16 valves replaced and the top half of the engine rebuilt, this was done, so unfortunately at the main dealer in Portslade, near Brighton.. and cost £1600!!! they has also failed to check the damage throroughly.. because..

3 weeks ago (July 2002), one of the "big ends" went bang, the crank shaft and a piston had been damaged the previous time and had gradually worn out since the last big bang. The cheap option was to re-grind the crank and for Alfa to supply new shells, no chance, had to get a brand new crank shaft, also replaced the clutch (76K miles). This total bill will come to about £800!! and it's only at this price because the garage isn't a main dealer. The labour charge is a third!! of the cost of a main dealer, i.e. £20 and hour compared to £60!!

So therefore, I highly recommend that absolutely NO-ONE ever goes to an Alfa main dealer.. I never will again, the cost is horrendous and the customer service is just Pants!!! which is why I gave it 0/10.

Apart from that, no real problems.

General Comments:

Apart from the problems I've had, I still absolutely love this car, it has perfect handling, there is an edge to the cornering that just begs to be played with.

The steering is very responsive and feel fantastic, the 2.1 turns lock to lock is handy, but the turning circle is a bit big, maybe they needed to increase the 2.1 turns to about 3 !!

The 2.0 litre 16V twin-spark engine has just got to be one of the best 2.0 litre non-turbo engines in the world, it's just mind bogglingly tempting to floor the accelerator at every opportunity. Although I hear the Honda VTEC engines are a bit tasty too.

The comfort of the car is fine, with sports suspension you can't be a big girls blouse and expect a smooth ride on long journeys, if you wanted that you should go buy one of those silly french cars.

It's basically a good all-round performance car, it's no turbo, but it's good, the handling is the best feature, so if you like your corners on the edge, get one.

But don't get anything pre-N reg, they're apparently nowhere near as sporty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th July, 2002

23rd Dec 2004, 18:24

Ditto your comment re: Alfa main dealers, you should try the ones in Spain, put it this way, because they don't have good independent or specialist garages here, I'm not going to buy another Alfa. Here they're rude aswell as not having a clue.

I'm scraping my car because I can't get anyone to see if it's only a blown head gasket or not, let alone do something about it. Basically you need a good mechanic before you buy an Alfa, not the other way around. You'd be hard pressed to find any review anywhere praising an Alfa main dealer. Alfa need to sort themselves out.

By the way, I can recommend an excellent garage, though expensive they're quick at diagnosis and repair, 'Gatwick Alfa' other wise known as 'Alfa Mike', in Rusper, West Sussex.

30th Jan 2005, 09:59

The history of your 155 is the same as mine I have had the same engine failures in the same order.

Can't even get parts anymore though!

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 2.5 V6 from UK and Ireland

Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership1996
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 2.5 V6 Manual
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.6 / 10
Distance when acquired35 miles
Most recent distance85000 miles
Previous carAlfa Romeo Alfasud

Summary:

A very rewarding driver's car, but it needs pampering

Faults:

Driver's seat missing a bolt when new.

Faulty engine management wiring on when new - car engine cut out a long way from home at 2,000 miles.

Faulty front wheel tracking when new.

Faulty ABS when new.

Cracked heater valve inside the car at 30,000 miles - leaked coolant into the car.

Blew a hole in rear exhaust silencer box at 36,000 miles.

Gearbox broke a seal and leaked its lubrication. The gearbox has a dipstick, but can only be accessed from under the car.

Optional front splitter is made of a brittle plastic and keeps breaking - quite expensive to replace.

General Comments:

Very comfortable car on long runs with standard suspension.

Hated speed bumps with standard suspension.

Slight tendency to oversteer with standard suspension.

Pulls from 18mph in 5th gear (and does 40 in 1st).

There are two kinds of brake pads available from the dealer - none of which work as well as the orignal set. Resolved with Mintex 171 pads.

Handing issues resolved with the Koni spring/adjustable damper kit. Ride was compromised, but worth it.

Car seemed to lose it's top end after 24,000 miles. 164 Green Cloverleaf cams (made up from blanks) and retune fixed this. Lost a bit of torque, but still pulled from 18mph in 5th.

Maintenance schedule suggests changing cam belts at 72,000 miles. Always change them at 36,000. This is quite expensive because of the close fit of the engine in the bay - takes time to get it right (and time is money). In fact, even changing plugs is a nightmare for the same reason.

One of the best normally aspirated cars around.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 5th March, 2001

Average review marks: 5.8 / 10, based on 10 reviews