She is an Italian goddess
- Gearbox - new 1st, 2nd and reverse gear. Use the old cogs as candle holders... quite cool.
- Clutch - replaced at 56k miles
- Air Flow meter - replaced at 60k and 90k miles.
- Immobilser coils in key-barrel
- Rear drop links 4 times
- Rear control arms
- Rear anti-sway bar
- Rear wish bones (upper and lower)
- Front wish bones
- Handbrake assy in cabin collapsed.
- Handbrake snapped cable at 100k
- Air-con broke 4 times... replaced multiple parts to plug leak... it was never very good anyway.
- Drivers seat belt jams from time to time.
- Smoke from factory radio!!
- Eats tyre's on the front due to camber..
- Exhaust 'flexi-pipe' from manifold to exhaust system rotted and fell off at 85k.
This is a beautiful looking car... quite stunning when it first hit the market. Even in 2008 she still can hold her own in a car-park, and wears her number-plate to one side like a fashion statement. She’s a saloon car disguised with some make-up to look like a coupe… and it works well.
Very comfortable car on long journeys... you never get bored of the interior.. even stuck in traffic jams the retro-styles dashboard keeps me amused. The layout of the cabin is very driver orientated.. all the dials face the driver... as they should!
Excellent cornering if you shoe her with proper tyres (do not use silly eco-budget tyres)... if you're going to have a spirited drive you need Pirellis or Bridgestone’s. Very comfortable feeling steering wheel and (I found) and excellent driving position and I'm 6 ' 1"!!
The radio in the car is not great; but with music from the exhaust system why would you listen to mp3s when you got a symphony performing live downstairs all conducted with your right foot.
I have an Alfa GTV (same 2.0TS engine as the 156) as a weekend play thing, she's also fun little thing, great engine. OK she's only got about 150BHP to play with, I have a Japanese car with over 350BHP, but the Alfa has Italian horses... and that is a very important point. It just is.
My wife and I have just ordered a 159 Ti 2.2 petrol as our family car. I'm afraid we're addicted to the brand. I don't care if the 159 is going to also be unreliable... that's not the point... right?
To summarise, the Alfa 156 was less than reliable.. but if it’s reliability and predictability you’re after then marry a Japanese or German car... if it’s passion and fun you want then have an affair with an Alfa Romeo. Be warned, she'll be unreliable, moody, selfish and cost you a fortune... but when she’s up to it on a curvy twisty country road on a sunny summers evening she'll please you like no other car.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th March, 2008