24th Mar 2009, 14:59

The reason you never see your Alfas in your garage again is probably because 90% of them either rust or break down & end up in a scrap yard.

The person who suggested the 156 is beautiful because it has 'five different shapes going on in the bonnet alone' clearly cannot see the irony of his own statement. It's BECAUSE there are so many shapes going on, that make the 156 so damn ugly. Everything is fighting with each other for visual domination. The front end is a clutter of different shapes that all compete. The off-set number plate is the cherry on the cake! Why not complete the sloppy design with a number plate that's weighted to one side!

I'm sorry to puncture all those egos out there but if you think you're sitting in something sexy when you're behind the wheel of your 156, you're badly mistaken.

The fact is, Alfa Romeo don't often make a beautiful car. When they come along, they are wonderful but I'm afraid there's no wonderment in the 156 because it's as attractive as an accident with a bed pan.

By the way, I HAVE owned Alfas in the past. None have been good cars. They do some things very well indeed but there's always something woefully wrong. Amusingly, Alfa fans call this 'character'. What a quaint word for 'poor car'.

22nd Jan 2010, 04:38

The chap bashing the 156 above sounds very much like an otherwise anonymous character going by the handle of "impulsive" on Leftlanenews. The man has some sort of obsession against Alfa Romeos, particularly their looks. I find it hard to understand what sort of malady one must be afflicted by to hate a car's looks so much, but it seems that said malady exists.

Needless to say, he doesn't know what he is talking about. The Alfa 156 has been universally acclaimed for its looks and has aged very well. Many more modern cars on the road have similar proportions to the 156. Walter da Silva, the esteemed designer of that generation of Alfas, migrated to VW, and Seat, and those cars (not to mention Audi) are definitely looking more pleasing to the eye as a result.

The 156 absolutely captures a balance between classic proportions and understated muscularity, and even now, when I return to the carpark, I don't look for a car... I look for a big red panther crouching amongst all the other assorted boxes. Love it!


13th Jul 2010, 13:19

Hi lads, I am coming a bit late in this conversation but here is my two cents: I also own an Alfa 156 2.0 TS and must say it loosens something within you when pushing the revs to 3000... "then the fun starts". As far as style is concerned, I fitted 19" wheels and a 7" LCD touch screen with a car PC in mine which helped with the handling and great looks. I like the rear but not so fond about the front, however the car still looks great and still looks better that most 2010 designs on the road, thus it definitely matures well. Interior and features... can't complain. I owned an Opel 2 litre Astra just before, and the interior was terribly noisy and poor quality. Very happy now with my 156!

13th Jul 2010, 15:52

As a 156 owner, I am frankly not bothered by the opinions of those that cannot appreciate the true essence of a car that is Alfa. Whilst body style has an element of subjectivity about it, one could of course reference that Honda 'pinched' the concealed rear door handles for the Civic, and later went on to claim it was a design item from the NX.

One could moan about the offset number plate; offset for a reason - to display the unique grille that sets it apart from mundane boxes on our roads. Indeed the (latest) Civic is a case of Japan learning from the innovation of Alfa - its frontal area is unique and readily identifiable - be different!

However, a point that most armchair pundits are missing is actually owning and driving one!

There is no better place to be in order to get from A-B in my opinion. I had a 132,000 mile 156 that has now passed on, and am replacing it with one of the last '05' 156 2.0 JTS Veloce. Why, because I've tried the rest and find them sadly lacking - either in involvement, because their ergonomics are useless, but primarily because the 156 mixes all the ingredients into the pot and comes out with a gastronomic delight.

Comfort - fab, not too hard a ride as some.

Steering - direct, with feel. OK, a poor turning circle, but how often do you use that!

Performance - Excellent; no Japanese hi-tech anti-slew this or that; you're driving a car - don't rely on technology making up for your failure as a driver!

Leather - English classics used to DO leather well - pleats etc. but now most resort to slabs of leather, which wear less well, and look cheap compared with the traditional pleats in the Alfa.

Oh and one more thing - mentioned before - Top Gear etc:

Soul - The essence of Alfa - you can feel it from the moment you sit in it, and it is magnified when you drive down the road. Nothing in life that is interesting, that is worthwhile exploring etc. can be 100% predictable - to be so is to be a detached, uninvolved, mechanical bore. I've had GTIs etc. which are very competent but without that pleasure factor, that WOW factor which is so rare as cars become increasingly sanitised to help prevent idiots dumping it in the ditch.

I am however concerned that the GM involvement will impact the breed going forward - hence my purchase of the last of the 156's. The engines, now GM based, are so say less inspiring than before, and even the beautiful Brera, a concept that went into production, so say, has some flaws.

The best of the old bunch is, listening to Alfa fans, the 3.0 JTV - a mini Ferrari of an engine, that looks the part. A pity that the GM replacement 3.2 motor can't live up to its legacy.

Alfa are now hoping that the Guiletta will win them back into the public acclaim - it should on paper, but until I drive one I can't be sure of the soul factor!

Drive an Alfa or drive an ordinary car - it's your choice!

Comments welcomed!

14th Jul 2010, 05:19

I stumbled across this thread again today - I'm the person who posted the original review. Is Mr I-Hate-Alfa still around? He never did say what he drives, or what cars he considers beautiful.

To suggest Alfa always produce ugly cars is ludicrous - I've just been to the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK where Alfa is the celebrated marque as it's their Centenary this year (2010). SO MANY beautiful Alfas, old and new.

I owned that 156 for 5.5 years, and traded in 3 years ago for an even more beautiful car; an Alfa GT. No doubt that's really ugly too, right? Oh, my dented ego!

I still love the look of the 156 though, something of a classic. Mine didn't miss a beat in all those years and almost 90,000 miles.