After 6 months of deliberating, reviewing and saving, I finally got an Alfa GT 2.0 JTS on Saturday.
For those who are interested I will start with why this beautiful car got chosen from all the others out there, which were below, equal, or slightly above our budget.
We were looking to buy a second hand car to get a better deal than we could afford from new. My fiance and I were looking for something sporty, with above average performance, practical boot space for shopping, and a good level of build quality.
First we went through the German choices, BMW 3 series, Mercedes SLK. Having a BMW 325i (1995) we did not want to drop in quality of the car. Then we looked at an Audi A3/4, Porsche Boxster, Mazda RX8, Nissan 350Z and Chrysler Crossfire. For personal and financial reasons we were finally left with the choice of BMW or the Alfa.
We went to our local Alfa garage, and got a test drive in a JTD. We did like it, but at low speeds and at idle it still sounded like a diesel. Did not bother me too much, but my girl would not have it.
We waited a couple of months and then the dealer called us with a JTS, Black, leather seats (red) and 18” alloys. We were concerned about the red leather, but the sales rep said it was tasteful and we should see it. Well he was right. It’s a gorgeous red, not garish and ‘pimp’ like, but suits the car. We took it for a drive, liked it and put our deposit on it. Well 3 weeks later and after selling our BMW, we collected our car.
The car had 1200 miles on it and was 9 months old. After reading many reviews about the car, we got rear sensors put on it and also got it Supagarded. Going into collect it on the Saturday morning, the car was in the garage, not on the forecourt. We walked through to see a gleaming, gorgeous sculpted beast of a machine, all ready for our driving pleasure.
Driving out of the garage, we took the car straight out on to the North Circular (Londoners will know it). Obviously not hoping to floor it as there was a traffic jam as usual. Well let's see how it is in real world conditions. Firstly you get looked at. At least half a dozen young guns rubber necked to get a good view of the car (or in retrospect maybe it was my fiance).
Then the impressions of the car start to take over. Restrictive seats or supportive? For me at 5’ 11” and my 5’1” finacé supportive.
The stereo system is very good for a standard option, and the steering wheel controls are very easy to use.
I’d read that the heating controls were complex. Without reading the manuals, I just turned the temperature gauge up to 22 degrees and had the control set to auto. After 3-4 minutes the car felt very comfortable, and there was no need to keep adjusting the fan speeds or temperature.
On the road, the first thing I noticed was the car felt bumpy, but not bouncy. It wasn’t a shudder through the seat, just you knew you’d gone over a bump. The steering felt light and responsive.
Once onto a little open road I got into 4th gear, about 40mph and just enjoyed the comfort. Coming out of London I took the car up to the M25 where I got a chance to see how the car would perform.
Approaching the motorway off the the slip road at about 50mph, the road ahead was clear and nothing was coming up behind me. I progressively took the car up to 70mph. No problem, increase the pressure on the throttle and you could feel the JTS want to pull away eagerly and smoothly.
Once I caught up with the flow of traffic and was cruising in 5th, I throttled down and off she went, pulling away, but something happened here I’m not used to. The car seemed to jump forward with an extra boost of power. As I’ve not had a new car for a long while. Maybe someone else could explain this, as it does happen at certain speeds and in certain gears.
Once we were into the mid 80s I did feel the steering become a bit too light and thought the car was a bit edgy. As I get used to the car, I may feel more secure about this, but for now I slowed down and just cruised at 70.
There was wind noise, but not too much to be a distraction, and with the music on, I hardly noticed it.
Getting off the motorway, I got the car onto a nice little A road with a few windy turns. The car took the bends, twists and turns with ease and little to no body roll. With a steering lock of something like 2.2 turns, a small shift in the steering wheel and the GT will go where you point her to go.
One thing I did not notice was the brakes. What I mean by that is they worked perfectly. Gentle on the pedal and the GT would gradually slow down, a stronger foot and it pulled up smoothly and quickly, without a great deal of body movement.
So what is wrong with the car? Well I do have a few niggles about it. None of major concern at the moment, but could become quite a problem if I don’t get used to them.
The steering wheel feels a bit too small. This could be because I am used to driving a van, and also the old BMW, both of which have larger steering wheels.
The throttle pedal has nowhere to rest your foot. I felt I was having to hold my leg in position. This is the one I’m worried about. All my other cars I can remember have somewhere to rest your foot to the side of the pedal, or the pedal can support the weight of the foot. The one solution to this problem is to put the car in cruise control. It’s very quick and easy to set, and you don’t need to use your throttle, but this obviously won’t help you in town driving.
With some regret, I do have to write about one technical problem. As soon as we got the car, we noticed a smell of petrol within the cabin. At first I thought it was because we overfilled the tank, and maybe that contributed to it. A couple of days later it was still there. Calling the dealer and telling them the problem, they booked the car in for checks. I took the car in on Saturday and they have found an issue with a gasket/seal type thing. They refused to release the car on safety grounds, and apologised for the inconvenience.
Well I did not get a chance to upload my review until today (Tuesday), and I have the car back all fixed. Apparently it was the fuel injector system. It was faulty and needed replacement. All work was carried out under warranty, so there is no charge. I took the car out tonight and already can see the mileage has much improved with no effect on performance.
I hope the above helps some of you prospective Alfa GT buyers out there. I know before I bought mine, I wanted as much information as I could get, and as long as they fix the issue above, I won’t hold it against Alfa or the dealer.