1998 Alfa Romeo GTV Lusso 2.0 T-Spark from UK and Ireland
Looks Great, but some serious flaws
Rear suspension failed first MOT at 21,000 miles! Common fault on GTVs of this era.
Electrical problems with head-lamps.
Broken electric aerial, fixed under warranty.
Poor seal on drivers' window and rattling drivers' window.
These cars are still a relatively rare sight, which makes them desirable. Alfa got the styling spot on and it has aged very little over the years.
I must, however, point out some major problems with this vehicle, which has cost me a small fortune to run; especially getting it through the first MOT. It cost me £1130.00 on that particular visit, ouch!
Early on, there were the classic electric problems: aerial, head-lamps and indicators. These are now sorted, but it cost me £240 for a new headlamp unit - not covered under warranty by Alfa or my RAC warranty.
Then there is the stomach churning visit to the dealer for a service and first MOT at 20,950 miles. This was sickeningly expensive: The worn rear suspension bearings failed the MOT costing me £630 to get it sorted. I'm wondering in hindsight if there was a much cheaper way to sort it - did it need the whole set-up replacing?!
This, when coupled with replacing the cracked lamp - caused by serious overheating when the full-beam refused to switch off, plus service/labour costs, cost me that £1130.
The dealer, and the Alfa Romeo organization were not prepared to do this work under warranty, claiming that at 21,000 miles, I'd have to prove that it wasn't "fair wear & tear"; I was appalled by this attitude.
I have recently written a letter to Alfa outlining my disappointment with their organization - as yet no reply, no real surprise!
On the bright side, the 2.0 litre engine has plenty of guts and a fruity sound when driven above 4000rpm, the engines do drink a bit of oil though, so keep an eye on the level. The timing belt change at 72k/6yrs is eye watering again - at about £500 alone.
The interior seems pretty well put together, and I've had no problems with trim quality. The new style Momo seats are great, and provide good support.
This car could so nearly have been one of the greats - but it doesn't cut it quality wise (or residuals) against its German rivals. Alfa take note, and sort your dealerships out too.
I am afraid that despite its gorgeous looks, I will not be buying another Alfa. It goes without saying that I am not looking forward to the next service.
Good to see that others are enjoying the GTV though. Am I the only one to feel dis-enchanted with the GTV? you tell me.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 13th June, 2002
15th Apr 2004, 02:49
Sounds like people in the UK need to find expert repairers who don't overcharge and only attend to what is strictly necessary. The right mechanic for the job is imperative and an owner with the right attitude and interest in what is an enthusiasts car is just as imperative. You don't have to be Italian, but you do have to love what you have - the cars are worth it! (most of the time!) Does anybody really love and hate a Vectra? but who doesn't love a beautiful Italian woman? What is it about Nigella Lawson - the eyes or something else? To minimise outgoings you do need to give the right servicing - Alfa Romeo theory. Ron Taylor Australia.
5th Sep 2008, 19:33
Do not own an Alfa Romeo if you don't like getting your hands dirty!!!
Go and buy a Ford rep mobile instead. Alfa's are a true driver's car!! The best car for a person who has petrol on the brain is an Alfa, not a Ford or Vauxhall.
I've owned several Alfas and Vauxhalls; they don't compare. A real driver and car person would be thinking of the experience of driving the car and doing running repairs to keep it top notch!! Not about how much you're going to pay somebody else to keep it on the road!! Learn and do it yourself??
29th Oct 2009, 10:30
I do own a GTV and it's built so badly. There is no excuse for side windows not fitting properly, dodgy electrics, poor ventilation. etc etc, not in this day and age.
I am a car/motor bike lover and I do lots of work on my 1970 Triumph.
But the problem is I can get in my Toyota roadster, drive it harder, go faster, look just as good and it's not going to cost me a fortune, and nothing's going to fall off or fail. The mid engine layout and VVTI make it a real drivers car.
You say you have to be a car lover and a mechanic to own an Alfa. That limits the amount of people willing to put up with an Alfa.
I say build the car properly and sell more.