Alfa 146, every morning makes my day, as I listen to that ever ready roar from that purring engine!! It has never let me down in the 5 years I’ve owned it. Yes, It’s a boxer, not a twin spark, it does have its merits –its sounds glorious, and as with all Alfa’s looks great. I purchased a brand new Alfa 146 Boxer 5 years ago when they were first released, and I've never regretted it since. Its been an absolute pleasure to drive and own. No problems, and hey! no rust!! All Alfas these days come with 6 years paintwork warranty and 8 years anti-corrosion. Cost of ownership has been very low. Service is every 12,000 miles or once a year. Service is quite cheap as spark plugs only need replacing every 24,000 miles. The only things I've had to replace in the 5 years I've owned this RED Beast are standard wear n' tear items, such as brake pads and discs (I'm afraid I tend to be one of those late breakers and heavy footed!!) and the exhaust. 5 Years on it still sounds marvellous, and still looks brand new and turns a few heads!! The only thing is, you cannot buy one of these any more, as 6 months after it was launched they started making 'twin spark' engines only - which have slightly improved output performance by about 15bp. Boxers, were replaced by twin spark 146’s in 1996. Twin sparks are smoother and have more power and also cost more. As a result of this the boxer’s depreciated very badly as with most Alfa’s in general (unfortunately!) except maybe for spider’s and 156’s, so you could pick one of these up pretty cheap!!! update: The Alfa 146’s and 145’s have been replaced by the 147 in Sept.2000, which was displayed at the Birmingham Motor Show last month. There is no enhancement in power or output performance of the new 147 compared to the 146 twinsparks, (only changes to chasis, suspension and
aid of EBD (electronic braking), with ABS. ABS is standard on all 146's. So the price of these 146’s twinsparks (and boxers especially!!) should come down further. There aint nothing that sounds as crisp and roaring to go on sun kissed winters morning as an ALFA!!!
This opinion may be biased. I've had alfasuds (lovely cars), 33s (not so lovely update on the sud) and now a 155 and a 146. Why? because they aren't Fords, or Vauxhalls and I can always find them easily in the car park (it used to be by the trail of rust...) And they seem to be designed with the driver in mind, unashamedly. Performance of my 1.6 litre 146 is good (120bhp), though not earth shattering, but the steering is exquisite, with barely 2 turns lock to lock. The 1.6 version is suprisingly economical, though it lacks the bottom end torque of the 2 litre in my 155. Both engines of course only really start to come to life at 4,000 revs, and the engines just keep on going all the way up to the red line at 7,000 rpm. Servicing is cheap with 12,000 mile intervals and plugs that last 60,000. Build quality is not brilliant though better than Alfas of old. The styling is a little bit different with the cutest rear end on any car on the road. But best of all, they still depreciate like crazy. I picked up the 146 at 9 months old at 60% of its new price. In summary - take a look at Which magazine's car review for 2000. The Alfa 146 has made it in there. If you are a typical Which reader (or what THEY think is a typical reader), you will be concerned that the car rates very poorly for internal space for oddments. If like me, you delight that it is one of the only cars in there that rates very good for steering and driveability and couldn't give a care about internal storage space for your oddment, then it is the car for you.
I've got one, a 1996 P reg and whilst I love it's looks and meaty sounding engine to bits I'm more than a little fed up with the engine. In the two years i've had it i've had a valve leak needing a full engine strip down and taking all my beer money with it and in March, the flippin, camshaft went as well causing me to chuck another six hundred quid down the swanny. In my (most humble) opinion, the dealers aren't up to much either. The one I contacted in Sheffield didn't even had a workshop manual and told me they would rely on "Jim in the back who knows all about boxers" I took it to another dealer who told me that a spark plug had gone - not much difference between a spark plug and a camshaft is there? If you're thinking of getting a 146 then, by all means do so, but i'd go for one thats as new as poss and as near to the top of the range as you can afford. Cheers, Dogs xxx
It has always annoyed me that the most imagination and talent is pumped into designing top-flight cars while the rest of us have to drive fairly dull cars such as Escorts and Astras. You will always pay extra for such individuality, but if that's what you are looking for then the Alfa 146 might be worth looking at. The 146 looks more conventional than the three-door 145 from which it was spawned, but it’s still distinctive and modern. And thankfully the back is not similar to the gastly rear end on the 145. The Alfa rides firmly but it’s never is as comfortable as a Peugeot 306. When I brought it out for a test drive I found that the handling was not as good as say a 306. Equipment levels are good, with alloy wheels, ABS and an airbag, but the 146 has a drab interior and the front seats lack support. Overall it's a solid car but I don't think that I would but one.