I took the Alfa plunge with no little trepidation. Previous cars have included BMW 325's, Honda Accord type R & most recently, a Saab 9-5.
My brother had owned a 155 v6 and the build quality was exactly what was expected of this car, but the engine just made it all okay. So to prove myself a true "petrolhead" I took the plunge.
I tracked down a Sportpack 3 version (with Momo leather, carbon dash, lower stiffer suspension) for very little cash.
I had checked the performance against the Accord and on paper all seemed almost equal, but the verdicts generally indicated the handling was an area that needed improvement.
The performance, well for the money there's not much around that will match it in the family saloon market, or indeed, hot hatches.
However figures aren't the whole picture. Its how this car gets there that makes me happy. The flexibility of the engine never fails to astound me, but its when pushed that it lets you have the full benefit of the v6 howl. No matter what length the journey I always arrive smiling, slow moving traffic is either dispensed with or gives me a chance to cruise along in what should be an unthinkably high gear. Faster roads and traffic allow full involvment with this great car.
The handling has yet to cause me concern. Whilst not having figures to prove this, I am taking bends at similar speeds to when I owned the Type R. It has not yet hinted at understeer or failed to put its power down onto the road.
Inside the Momo leather is superb, and contrary to most reports, rattle and noise free, truly a pleasant environment.
Looks, well we're used to it now, but it still looks good, as proved by the fact the latest version is only slightly modified.
Running costs, dealer surprisingly competitive, proving similar to a non franchised specialist. Only fuel usage causes real money thoughts, but I saved so much buying it cheaply that it will work out roughly the same as running a much less involving car.
In short, this car has plenty of get up and go, with a soundtrack to make you wonder why all cars don't sound this good.