I thought I would add that the car has now covered 20,000 miles and still on the same set of tyres. Quite amazing really as it does get pushed into corners hard at times!
No problems or major faults to date. I do suggest though that you keep an eye on the engine oil level as my 2.0 JTS does enjoy the odd litre or so every couple of k. Also the brakes tend to fade a bit when used hard - nothing too alarming though!
Only other niggle is that the remote locking button often opens the boot than the door locks. Hey it's Italian so there we are!
After the first 20k the engine just gets better and will eat up most hot hatches out there, and embarrass other cars with far larger engines too - great fun, great looks and a great sound!
A quick update for you! My Alfa is now coming up to three years old and it’s time to replace it so I have ordered a new X Type Jaguar Diesel!
Over the past three years the Alfa has been very mechanically reliable and the engine is still great. As I foresaw though the electronics have not been too reliable. I have had the climate control completely replaced by my local Alfa dealer under warranty and the central locking has a mind of its own! Also I keep getting the warning light to indicate that I have a fault with my lights, but they all work fine – very odd!
Other than this and its ability to drink a fair amount of oil (always check every 1000 miles as it likes a litre or so), I have been very pleased with this car. It looks great, goes like the wind (indicated 145mph verified by my portable Sat Nav) and is a good fun and comfortable drive. Now that the engine is nicely loose it has a different life and feel once you get to 6000 rpm – feels like it has a turbo up to 7,250 rpm – great fun and good soundtrack from the engine too!
In summary – go ahead and get one – it’ll make you smile!
Thank-you, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your review and considering I have just purchased a 2002 156 JTS your comments are like gospel.
I would say to any one considering buying a 156 that you strive for the JTS. This car has much better performance, a more modern dash and the ugly gear stick has now also been updated and replaced.
I would suggest that you have a full comprehensive inspection undertaken before you purchase to help detect any major problems not visible to the naked eye. My car rated well, with a few minor things identified that I will ensure are fixed before I hand over the cheque!
OK, wish me luck - I will let you know how it goes!
Well... you wouldn’t believe it! I picked up the car yesterday and 4 hours and 100km’s later a warning signal sounds and a little friendly message pops up on the computer screen "Motor Control System Failure, take to dealer". To me this may as well have said “You're screwed now” cause that’s exactly what I was thinking!
After a sleepless night and a lot of messing around, the car is currently at the mechanics having an exhaust emission sensor changed... unbelievable, less than 24 hours after I get it home I have to give it back! Lucky I am still covered under the used car statutory warranty so I will not have to pay for the repairs... this time anyway.
Hopefully when I pick it up, that will be the end of the trouble, but as you can imagine, I have become very worried about my purchase, very worried indeed.
We brought a 2003 Alfa 156 J.S.T last year and I am really starting to enjoy the car with its great looks and flair, not usually connected with our huge Japanese fleet down here in New Zealand, although the amount of European cars coming into the country is increasing.
I have a question re my Alfa as I cannot find the information in the owners handbook, and I cannot find out anyone at the local dealer who can give me an answer.
Question, next to the gear stick there are 3 buttons, fog lights, rear fog lights and one with 'ASR' 'off'. When you start the car, the LED on this button comes on and then goes off. I figure its something to do with 'anti skid', but would like to know more, and the result when I manually switch it on when driving. Would love to know more.
I can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
I assumed that it was traction control on/off - not 100% sure though. It's funny that the hand book does not detail what it does.
In regards to my car, the dealer has refused to fix the faulty on board computer screen and now it looks as though I will have to pay to get it fixed myself! So far this car has been a bit of a nightmare and I have only had it 6 weeks!
OK this is getting ridiculous now....I have had the following headaches in only 8 weeks of owning the car:
- Loose wiring of exhaust emission sensors requiring repair!
- Loose speaker wiring causing sound to cut in and out (very annoying)
- Faulty on board computer screen requiring replacment!
- Heater/Air-conditioning fan motor died requiring replacement!
This has involved 4 trips to the dealer, a complaint to Consumer Affairs, and the car has been off the road for 2 of the 8 weeks I have owned it.
I am honestly thinking of trading the car in, I am absolutely devastated.
Hello, well I seem to have started a discussion forum here! This may make you feel a bit better regarding your Alfa’s. I chopped my X Type Jag (the most uncomfortable car I have ever had the displeasure to drive, but my chiropractor likes it…) and now have a Mercedes CLK320 – which has just cost me over £2500 for a new gear box! All I all I forgive my Alfa, as whist it had some niggling faults it always made me smile.
Oh and the button next to the fog switches in the Alfa is the Traction Control on / off. Turn it off and bury your right foot and be prepared for the understeer in corners. Fun – except if the wife was in the car at the time!
I have owned several ALFA 156 now and the "Motor Control System Failure" message is a recurring problem. Basically the LAMBDA/EOBD sensor is set on a hair trigger and the most minor of faults will trigger this message. When it first started I used to wheel the car to the dealers, but the time and cost involved soon put me off and was quickly spoiling my enjoyment of the car which seemed to be running fine. I now just ignore it and it usually switches itself off after a few days. Every few weeks it pops back on, but I just happily ignore it again. I've been driving my latest 156 JTS for nearly 3 years and have ignored multiple go to dealer messages with no ill effects. (The dealers even suggested this was the wisest course of action!) The car continues to run like a dream despite the computer grumbling.
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