1997 Alfa Romeo 156 T Spark 16V 2.0 four from Germany


Sporty and fun


On delivery one of the window lifters was inoperative.

The ABS sensors went inoperative after two days.

The steering hydraulic lines split several times.

The rear brakes seized.

The front upper wishbone bushes became noisy after a few weeks. Wishbones were replaced under warranty.

General Comments:

My 156 was the very first car of this type delivered to a private customer in our country. The car was marked as a hand built prototype by label in its engine room. Therefore there were a few quality issues to be expected.

The car has proven reliable once the teething troubles were sorted.

The car is tremendous fun to drive. Very agile, made the right noises and offered good comfort.

The running costs are high. This is mainly because Alfa Romeo spare parts are extremely expensive. The fuel consumption is tolerable when its performance is taken into consideration.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd July, 2013

1997 Alfa Romeo 156 Lusso 1.8 twin spark from UK and Ireland


A little bit special, and different from all the german cars


Nothing. Just had to replace tyres and exhaust. And fix the key.

General Comments:

A few years ago I drove a friend's Alfa 156 (2006) model and fell in love with it; it was the nicest car I had ever driven.

6 months later, my Mazda 323 was written off by a lady driving into me while I was stationary.

Anyway, after reading review on BMWs and AUDIs, I decided to buy a Alfa 156. Everyone told me I was mad and it will break down, but I had decided that was what I wanted.

I originally wanted the estate version, but it was too expensive for me, so I ended up getting a 1997 1.8 twin spark Lusso saloon. For just over £1000.

The Lusso version has the wooden dash console and steering wheel. I don't particularly like the wood dash, but at the price bracket I was paying I didn't have a lot of choice.

The car also has heated mirrors, climate control and remote central locking. The seats are velor, which I prefer to leather.

I love the shape and style of the car. I also love the way the interior wraps around you, and the way the dash clocks are recessed and all the dials are positioned to face the driver.

Although it's not as nice to drive as my friend's 156, due to being an older car, it is still a lovely car to drive, and nicer than most other cars of this age, and also nicer than a lot of more modern cars.

This car is the most comfortable car I have ever owned; the seats are really comfortable. The car drives lovely. The ride is firm without being too hard.

The car corners lovely and has lots of grip. It has slight understeer when driven hard in the wet, but it's better than most other cars of this age. It's not as nippy as my old car, but then it is bigger and heavier.

The performance is great too; it will rev up past 7000 rpm easily. And the engine is nice and strong and just keeps pulling. The exhaust note is lovely without being loud. The car also cuts out a lot of outside noise, so is quiet and relaxing to drive. Lovely on long journeys. It is great for cruising down a motorway or on A roads.

I have owned this car for nearly 2 years now and so far it hasn't let me down once. It does have a few little quirks, like some days when I turn the key nothing happens for a few seconds and then it starts. To start with this worried me, but as I say it always starts and has never let me down. And now I'm used to this occasional quirk.

The only other niggles I have with it are when turning the ignition on, the climate control comes on automatically every time and I have to turn it off which is annoying.

And occasionally there is a squeak from one of the front suspension bushes when going over speed bumps.

The boot lock is not on the key remote, so the only ways to unlock the boot is to use the flap inside by the drivers door or swivel the badge on the boot and use the key manually.

The key was problematic, and I spoke to the Alfa garage about the cost to replace it, which was £200. So I fixed it myself. It just needed a new button and rubber cover, which I got off ebay for a couple of pounds.

OK so it has a few niggles (Alfa character) but it is over 10 years old now. And is still lovely to drive.

As I said, the car has been very reliable. It has passed both MOTs while I have had it no problem. So far the only things I have had to buy or replace on it is a set of tyres and the exhaust back box.

It has now done 130,000 miles and is still going fine.

Fuel consumption is not the best, but also not the worst. It does about 30MPG around town and 35 on a run.

Everyone says that Alfas are unreliable, but as I have said, I haven't had any problem.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th August, 2009