I second All your comments, my Alfa is a 2000 model I picked up a year ago at 6K miles on the clock. Problems so far Nil, seats creak a little and selespeed buttons need a firmer push then usual, but that's it. I LOVE this car still after a year of ownership.
I'm on my second Selespeed, if it were not a company car I would not buy one. I'd go for a 3.0L 166 (a bullet proof engine) second hand.
The drive is wonderful, the dealers worse than useless. Alfa Romeo are as much use as a chocolate fireguard when you cannot get help from their dealers. Their technical department can only be reached by fax from customer service or a dealer, they don't have phone numbers to call them!
If you drive enthusiastically get the cam belt changed at 48,000 miles. Mine broke at 59,600, just before the warranty ran out, it needed a complete new engine in the end. I know of at least three others where the cam belt has failed before the 72,000 change point. I've had two gearbox actuators on the first car, the second is only two months old, but on it's third trip back to the dealer with engine management system faults.
I have a 2000 selespeed and the gearbox has died. One of the guide holes in the casting for the gear selector has broken and jammed the box. The damage was cause by poor casting or sideways loading on the guide hole. Both in my opinion are design faults.
Alfa deny ever having problems with these gearboxes. It has cost me over £2000.00 to fix this problem.
I took the pleasure of reporting this issue to VOSA as I consider it to be a safety related design flaw. Especially when the Zone Manager said it was not Alfa's problem when he had not even looked at the failure mode.
Another problem was with the back suspension bushes. They had to be replaced in order to pass its first MOT. They were changed before the back pads at an extra cost of £400.00.
I am never ever buying another Alfa Romeo. My previous car a V6 3.0 164 G reg which I had for 8 years was more reliable.
Having listened to friends and family who told me not to buy a 156, I could not resist. I have to say the car is superb to drive and like many other owners I too drive 15 miles just to get a pint of milk from the local shop. Add a K&N air filter and as she hits 5700RPM it sounds like a VTEC coming alive. All this results in lots of Optimax going down the exhaust, but it's worth it. I've only had it 3 months and with 32,000 miles on her I hope to have a long and happy ownership.
A word of warning though. The previous owner handed me bills for around £4,000. This included replacement gearbox at 18000 miles, cam belt broke at 28,000 requiring a new top end on the engine, rear bushes and rear window regulators at a 30000 mile service. As it was an import it only had a 12 month warranty.
The way I looked at it was that if all this was repaired in the UK there should hopefully be less to go wrong.
One thing that keeps coming up, and I would like to know if anyone else gets it. Every so often the selespeed light flashes, but by the time I have driven 50 yards it goes off. Only ever happens when the car is started. Any ideas? The car done it when I went to test it, and the poor owner ended up paying £300 for a new steering wheel as the dealer fault code showed this at fault.
To sum up, a great car to drive, but only time will tell if all the 1st owner problems have been sorted. Still keep hold of an F reg Audi just in-case the Alfa decides to mis-behave, but so far no complaints.
I have a 2002 Sela speed.
Good mechanically except it has has the front 'bushes' changed twice. Sela speed gearbox 'bit' sometimes can't find reverse - drive a few forward a feet and all OK. Seats Grey Leather and the stitching has come un done on both the rear and front passenger seats.
Brilliant drive - but not good in traffic jams as the box is jerky - change up to gear 2 and all OK.
I have a 2001 156 TS Selespeed, same problem as mentioned above, frequently will not find 2nd or 4th gear both changing up and down.
After a service it fixes itself for a month or so before gradually happening again and with time every 3-4 times.
Very frustrating, especially in busy traffic, I have spoken to our Alfa Workshop and they have never come across it, strange when this site above is full of similar issues.
I owned a 156 Selespeed from 1999 to 2001. I enjoyed driving it in he first year and was very proud of it. Gearbox problem started to trouble me and force me to pull off the road many times. Alfa workshop couldn't explain what was wrong. No solution was given. I couldn't stand it anymore and sold it at huge loss.
However, I still think 156 is the coolest car to drive on the road. I plan to get a manual 156. Hope it won't cause the same problem as the Selespeed did.
50k trouble free miles for far on my 2000 Selespeed, but the gearbox has just packed in. Only other faults were fairly cosmetic, ie, fog light comes on automatically and rear window is powerless. Even crashed into the back of another car and was amazed to come away with just a slight crack on the number plate. I can't imagine driving anything else. Definately has the wow factor both to drive and look at.
A work colleague has a 156 2.0 T-spark Selespeed and it's been almost totally reliable. Apart from the gearbox. Every so often it simply refuses to engage a gear until he turns off the ignition for a moment and then restarts the car. Three Alfa dealers have had the car several times each and can't find (or even reproduce) the fault. It always "clears" itself after the ignition has been switched off, but this is highly inconvenient, not to mention dangerous.
What I find quite ironic however is our MD's Ferrari F355 F1 has the same problem periodically. Not sure what there is in the way of shared technology between the Selespeed and F1 'boxes, but it seems like a heck of a coincidence.
The motto is, if you buy an Italian car, get one with as little in the way of electronics on it as possible.
When I made some enquiries about buying a 156 to an Alfa mechanic he said "avoid the Selespeed at all costs". 'Nuff said.
I just can't figure out what is wrong with the selespeed in my 2.0 litre 156. I had just changed the pressure tank (ball) which was causing inconsistent hydraulic pressure. As mentioned by so many others. The gear jumps, does not engage 4th gear and there was once, it went neutral at 5th gear. And at that speed, this could be dangerous.
With the amount of money spent and time going back and forth to workshops, its just frustrating.
I hope someone can explain...