Glovebox started popping open over bumps
CV joint failed
Coil pack burned out
Clutch failed (no warning)
Gearbox oil leak
Intermittent rev counter failure
Air conditioning compressor failed
Gear linkage went out of adjustment
Uneven front tyre wear.
I could go on and on about the tale of woe this car inflicted on me, but the list above should give you an idea. This all happened within 11 months and 13,000 miles. The car had none of these faults when I first got it.
The 2.5 V6 is one of the best sounding engines ever built and has a fantastic top end rush. Over 5,000 RPM it just howls, the car squats and hot hatches go backwards, quickly. The car also handles neatly, looks fantastic and has a definite sense of occasion that rivals such as the 3-series and Mondeo just can't get near.
Trouble is, and being brutally honest, my 156 turned out to be a cheaply built, fragile pile of junk. It always seemed to need something doing to it. I was fooled by the surprisingly good quality interior which is actually very nicely finished. Sadly though, the engine, trim, electrics and ancillaries are all as fragile and temperamental as you might think in even your most cynical moments.
Dealers are shocking too. They never carry the right spares in stock, close down/move at random and charge the earth. Sadly, you still have to buy something boring like a 3 series if you need your car to actually get you where you want to go. Alfa Romeo, despite claims to the contrary, still seem incapable of making cars that work, and that stay in one piece. In this day and age, that is completely inexcusable.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 15th March, 2004