This car is great to look at and great to drive. It is also great value for money. Yes it depreciates faster than German marques but your initial outlay is a lot less.
A brand new 156 costs £12,000 with good standard equipment compared against a BMW 3 Series at £24k list and then £31k with decent options. So from an outlay of £12k on the Alfa reducing to £5k in 3 years losing you £7k, versus a BMW costing £30k dropping to £15k after 3 years losing you £15k in 3 years you lose £7k on the Alfa and £15k on the BMW. So which do you choose?
You also get a real drivers car and not one which you see all over the place. Even the new 3 Series is just plain boring. If you want to be different choose the 156. If you want to be one of the crowd and lose double the money, choose BMW.
I own an 1.8-litre, 144bhp, year 1998 model.
The car, with 73,000km on the clock has been proven fast and relaxed to drive, especially on motorways, where with speeds exceeding 180kph returnes a comfortable 10.5 l/100km.
Apart from that, some costly repairs have been necessary i.e. at 57,000km the valve variable timing regulator, the antiroll bar and front suspension struts had to be changed.
Although these were production faults encountered in many cars, Alfa denied to accept part of the costs.
Later at 71,000km the air-intake volume meter and the cooling system thermostat had to be changed.
I agree with Anthony Girard, after driving Volvos, Audis and BMWs, I am now on my second 156 Selespeed. Driving in Scandinavia all last winter in thick snow and temperatures below -30 degrees C, I realized that this car is more than just a stylish saloon.
After five years of using them the only problem has been with a failed oil seal on the Selespeed box - (on the old model).
Perhaps UK servicing is just not up to standard, but at half the price of an equivalent BMW 3-series, the 156 is good value, even with the depreciation.
Get one before the GM versions arrive!
Well I have had my fair share of beamers, Audis and Volvos and have to say my intro to the Alfa 156 JTD 20v was a joy!
I am really glad that I did not dwell too much on What Car?'s two-star rating. (No, I have no connection with Alfa.)
Yes, the ride is a little choppy and in time reliability maybe an issue, which I'm happy to say isn't now. However the latest Alfa styling, to my mind at least, makes a welcome change to the Northern European approach, which seems to have hooked a generation of journalists.
The new JTD 20v diesel engine is a a real joy to drive, combining stunning torque at 2000rpm and 175bhp at 4000rpm. This is one of the newer generation diesels that really will change peoples view of the old oil burners and in a unashamedly Italian package!
Order a brochure, find your nearest dealer or book a test drive
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