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:
Airbag ECU - this not so common.
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
Whats its 0-60 time??
I believe the 0-60 is a shade over 7 seconds.
"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.
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.