Gearbox: Selespeed gearbox is jerky, jumps into neutral whilst on the move, sometimes reverse gear cannot be engaged, actuator replaced many times, entire gearbox replaced once.
Engine: Engine can be difficult to start sometimes.
Interior: Creaky and rattly interior trim. Upholstery's leather stitching became undone. Peeling carbon fibre trim. Car was delivered with damaged interior door trim. Holding clips missing from some of the interior trim parts. Torn soundproofing. Faulty Selespeed gear in-dash indicator. Petrol gage malfunctions occasionally. Ashtray light bulb blew within a few months.
Exterior/body: Front right door and rear right door clash with each other at the top edges causing paint chipping. Uneven panel gaps. Rubber trim on the driver's door window sill became warped. Poor body-shell rigidity - the rear parcel shelf area creaks loudly during cornering. Car was delivered with cracked fog-light lens.
Others: Wiper blades are noisy and cannot last longer than 2 months. Ineffective air-con.
This car has a smooth and powerful engine. Engine sounds very nice and sporty. Fairly economical too.
Handling and road-holding are very good -stable cruiser on highways and excellent on twisty back roads. Steering is precise too. Ride is a bit firm, but still quite acceptable overall.
However, the seats can induce backaches if driven for a long period at a stretch.
Air-con is barely adequate in the tropics.
Selespeed gearbox, when it works, has useful blipping feature when downshifting which allows beautifully executed downshifts. However, the Selespeed gearbox makes progress too jerky for urban crawls/traffic jams.
Stylish exterior and interior design. Still one of the best looking cars on the road today, in my opinion.
However, the car suffers from poor overall assembly quality and/or reliability.
Selespeed gearbox is especially problematic - Alfa Romeo should seriously consider a recall.
I have had to visit the local dealer's workshop countless times to rectify all kinds of problems. This can be very irritating besides wasting a lot of time. Worse still, quite often problems are not effectively rectified, if at all, the first time around. This necessitates annoying follow-up visits to the workshop to fix the same old problems.
After-sales service not a strong point. Long waiting period for parts.
As a driver's car, the 156 Selespeed is superb. But it is a frustrating car to own and to maintain. All that talk about the Alfa 156 having "character" is a poor excuse for dodgy quality.