It is a shame that the main dealers are struggling to get their act together. I love all Italian cars and have only ever owned Fiat, alfa and Lancia. All are mechanically very robust, but let down by varying build and poor dealer backup. They do seem to be doing something about it though, as I cannot fault our local fiat/alfa dealer in Welling. As the other comment said though, using a specialist can make life with an alfa better and cheaper. Sadly with the recent GM fiasco I think they may be on borrowed time, though I hope the new 159 and brera coupe keep the alfa brand alive. However bit late for you :o (Though the IS300 is a cracker of a car!
Sorry to hear your experiences. It really does seem to be luck of the draw. I had a '98 156 with similar problems (air conditioning broke, engine seized up), however after receiving a full refund I bought a '03 156 jts, and apart from a few minor problems, its run perfectly for nearly 2 years now, touch wood.
I'm surprised to hear of the appalling problems experienced by the owner mentioned here. I have owned several Alfa's and can honestly say I have never ever experienced problems like this with any..Sud, 33, 155 & 156. I have had two 156's...both 1.8 TS'...a 01 and now an 05 facelift. You have to cherish these cars and maintain the service schedule... I change the oil every 3,000 without fail. these cars represent superb value for money and I recommend them to anyone. As a side issue.. in between the Alfa's I have owned an 03 MG ZS (Unreliable) Vectra V6 (Electrical nightmare) VW Bora (Windows fell out!) and a Renault Megane (Rubbish build.. trims fell off and windscreen trim flew off on the M6)...so we need to keep things in context hey?
I bought a new 04 Veloce (facelift) in ivory mist with GTA multispoke 17". A real head turner.
I've still got it because I'm finding it hard to replace it on performance/per £ and style. Even looking at 2nd hand XK8 and lotus Espirt (how I found this site). I live in South East UK so every other car is a Audi/BMW.
I've had less problems than my Audi/BMW mates. nothing major. Reading, UK dealer OK for my first experience with a main dealer. Alfa has only annoyed me by bringing forward CAM belt change to 36,000.
Agree with your advice re hire purchase payments. It's a good way to go with a fast depreciating motor of variable build quality like the 156... 3+ yrs HP agreement and by the time you're half-way in, the car's worth less than you've paid in instalments (inc interest!). If it's not for you, hand it back with no penalty.
Hi guys or gals.
I'm on my 2nd 156 and 6th alfa - and same as above haven't anywhere near the nightmares I've read about - my 1st 156 was an 2000 2.0 TS selespeed - yes s e l e s p e e d - Jeremy Clarkson was right - 'it will drive you mad'.
No issues apart from the SS oil pump dying one day so $600 Australian dollars later all fixed - loved and hated the Selespeed, was craving for a spd manual again. Should never have sold my alfa 3316V BOXER :( However I'm now the proud father of a red 03 2.0 5spd man JTS - it's better than what happens in the bedroom when you're not sleeping :) :)
I've serviced all my Alfas early or on time by a very trusted and honest Alfa/Fiat specialist and it's paid off - my sister took her Golf to a franchise auto mechanics chain for a service - a simple oil change turned into the car being scrapped due to engine totally cooking itself - so much for a cheap service!
Always Alfa - Australia.
At an Alfa/Fiat specialist in Perth whom I have been using for years - why?
And I would like to put all the reliability questions and jokes about Alfa Romeos to bed. I have had the joy of driving a 166 from Sydney to Perth - 4000 kms the 3.0ltr V6 was giving a superb economy figure of 800km to a tank! The car performed beautifully - of course.
Live in DK, and bought my 156TS 2.0 in 2002 when it was 3 years old, and on its 2nd engine. Am just about to trade it in for a JTS. Have done 115,000km in the car, changed almost everything imaginable, but it has never left me stranded.
The only cars that I have had more fun in were my 2 Corrado G60s and my VW Golf GTI II - way back in the day. Would have liked a BMW E46, but realised you would need a 2.5l engine to match the JTS' performance, and close to twice the money in Denmark to pay for it!
Words of wisdom:
Don't buy parts from the dealer, they rip you off, buy them over the specialist internet shops, like Alternative Autos.
Watch the early TS, poor sealing around the steering column at the front bulkhead allows water ingress and rotted driver's side floors. Steering racks can leak oil into cabin - simply unacceptable in my eyes, but most importantly of all - drive gently when cold, and keep the oil in tip top condition. Alfa's are not Hondas or Toyotas, but they are fun and offer great value used.