1998 Alfa Romeo 156 V6 2.5 24v from UK and Ireland


The mother of all engines in a great body


When I got the car it needed some work doing on it, but since I have had that fixed nothing has gone wrong (touch wood)

Things I had to fix which are fairly typical for the mileage were:

Suspension wishbones

MAF sensor

Airbag ECU - this not so common.

General Comments:

Firstly I'd like to say I did my homework before buying one of these as they can quite easily bite you on the bum if you're not careful. If it were not for the fact I have a very good independent alfa garage a mile from my home, I don't think I would have taken the plunge.

Buy boy am I glad I did! This is one amazing car.

The steering is super-direct, even more so than my really old 205xs. It really makes twisty roads a pleasure. The handling is pin-sharp, thanks to the excellent suspension.

Inside is very beautiful - you look ahead to just the speedo and rev counter and the other dials on the centre console face towards you. The instruments are cowled so the passenger cannot see your speed (handy!).

6 speed gearbox is quick and sharp.

Now all this is merely window dressing for the real reason anyone should buy this car - THAT engine!

The Alfa V6 engine is truly one of the last affordable classics if our time. No variable valve timing, just revs revs and more revs. It comes on cam at about 3500-4000 and pulls like a freight train till 7000 from there. Not that it's any slouch below this level with 190hp.

The soundtrack is beyond compare unless you are willing to buy a Ferrari - I'm not joking. You will have a smile from ear to ear for years. From a bassy rumble to a meaningful growl to a scream to insanity, this engine is a masterpiece.

Stomp on the pedal whilst trundling along and you'll be breaking the law before you can say V6 24 valves. Having said that, you can still have fun at 30.

The number of people who have stepped out of the car looking shellshocked at the engine is amazing (no, it's not my driving). It's as if they've found out what an engine can sound like.

The downside? Oil consumption is interesting so you need to check the level each time you fill up. Low oil on one of these = trouble. Parts are expensive, but do the sums: second hand V6 £6000 depreciation in 3 years £2000. New Ford Focus £9200 depreciation £4000. Leaving you with £2000 to buy a warranty and fill it with petrol.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th July, 2004

11th Nov 2005, 01:52

Whats its 0-60 time??

24th Jul 2007, 07:55

I believe the 0-60 is a shade over 7 seconds.

28th Aug 2007, 18:22

"If it were not for the fact I have a very good independent alfa garage a mile from my home, I don't think I would have taken the plunge."

I strongly urge anyone thinking of buying an Alfa to bear this in mind. Mine conked out, I knew what was wrong, but I'm no mechanic. Were the only Alfa garage within 100 miles interested, nope! (and how weird is a garage turning down money?) I would dearly love to own another one, but without the safety-net of a mechanic, it's not going to happen.

13th Aug 2013, 17:16

I bought one of these as a project on eBay last year. Very clean and tidy 102,000 mile 99 V plate with loads of history, a short MOT, and a few bits needing doing, namely the brakes, which to all intents and purposes didn't work, and the cam belt, which was 5,000 miles overdue. Bagged it for £425. Spent about £300 all in getting everything up to scratch, and did the work myself over weekends and evenings (this is not my main car).

She's almost become part of the family. My wife loves driving her as much as I do. When that Busso V6 comes on cam, and starts howling like a junior Ferrari, I still even a year later grin like an idiot. Yes, it only does about 23 MPG, which is close to 40p a mile at today's prices, and it's not a stunningly capable handler, but we love it. In 8,000 miles it has rewarded us with 100% reliability as well.

1998 Alfa Romeo 156 Lusso 1.8 TS from UK and Ireland


If the Alfa Romeo 156 was built by Honda it would be the perfect car


Delivered with engine management system fault. Three attempts required to repair it.

Rattling dashboard Three attempts to almost cure problem.

Safety recall on braking system.

Air bag system fault. Two attempts to repair. Spare module took three months.

Hand brake fell apart. Repaired and fell apart again.

Fuse box cover kept falling down which required four attempt to cure.

Rear passenger air vent fell apart.

Replacement air vent also fell apart after being used three or four times, but as it was a year after the previous one and out of warranty I didn't bother.

All the above in the first year.

The air conditioning never worked properly until I paid for a service at four years. (£45)

Rear disc's seized at 30000 mile. Pads needed replacing. (£158)

Front stainless steel exhaust failed at 38000 miles. Mild Steel section still OK at 44000 miles (£265)

Water leak floods passenger foot-well, possibly from sun roof. About £360 to investigate and repair, but with guarantee of a cure.

General Comments:

Whilst this car has had more problems than all my previous cars of the past 20 years (All Fords) it is still the best one I have owned.

It is a delight to drive.

I would like another when I replace this one, but I doubt I will because in my experience Alfa Romeo and the dealer network do not respond effectively to problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st January, 2004

3rd Feb 2004, 06:48

I too have suffered the majority of these faults, the most potentially damaging being the sun roof leak. I really like the way that the interior trims of the 'A' pillar have been designed to perfectly funnel the water down behind the dashboard into the electrics!! This was traced to a poorly fitted sunroof seal, but given the age of my car was not fixed under warranty (£300). I think if you have one of these, if (sorry when) there's a problem you have to smile and remember the good times! Didn't stop me buying another alfa though...

1st Mar 2004, 18:44

My sunroof leaked also, when I brought my 2L 156 to dealer they quoted me Eur 750 to attempt to fix without guarantee! Dealer also told me the leak was definitely NOT the seal around the sunroof as I had suggested because he had the same problem on his 156! I took the car for a 2nd opinion to Autoglass - (Car windscreen supplier/fitters), who told me to rub vaseline into seal - I did and leak was fixed!

My passenger foot well only became wet after I removed plastic belly pan from under car for servicing purposes.

When replaced, dampness disappeared.

14th Sep 2004, 06:54

My mate steve wants to buy one of this cars, I have told him they are troublesome, but he won't listen hellllllllp him.

10th Nov 2005, 05:13

Has anyone experienced a water leak in the roof of the 156 TS?

My Alfa (which is a dream apart from this) has been with the garage for 3 days and they cannot detect where water comes in.

It sits on a steep driveway and in heavy rain water leaks in overhead, back seat, passenger side.