A beautiful and soulful big saloon which has suffered some niggling problems, but to be fair has only left me stranded once (when the clutch disintegrated).
The engine makes the car, and performance is stunning for such a tank, although traction can be a problem in the wet with 200-odd horsepower and front drive. This V6 is however one of the most aurally and aesthetically stunning engines ever made, as well as being powerful and relatively economical (25 mpg). Why didn't Alfa offer a perspex bonnet as an option so that you can show off the chrome manifolds and crackle finished alloy cam covers to the world?
The rest of the car is also good, although somewhat overshadowed by the engine. The Pininfarina bodyshell is still an elegant design which contrasts wonderfully with the increasingly ostentatious and arrogant looking designs from companies such as BMW and Mercedes. The chassis, despite sometimes struggling to deploy the power off the line in the wet, is also superb. It shrugs off potholes and camber changes, and turns in with amazing agility for its size. It isn't a back road burner, but can be made to dance quite satisfactorily if you're in the mood.
Interior is a let down. The leather is of good quality, and the design is quite stylish in a late 80's tons of buttons and lights kind of way, but the entire plastics for the dash must have cost Alfa a couple of quid at most. That said, the driving position is good and the seats support well. There is also loads of room in the back, and a good size boot.
If you want something a bit different from the BMW-clone crowd, the 164 is a great choice. Just be prepared for silly little faults, and keep it serviced on the button by a good Alfa specialist. I don't doubt mine will still be going strong with 150,000 miles on it, although I dread to think how many clutches it will have chewed through by then.