Product Type: Alfa Romeo cars
Newest Review: ... style will slash your economy further but this is the pay off for high performance. Alfa Romeo 'points of interest': 1) It is fair to ... more
166 Italian luxury
Alfa Romeo 166 in general
Member Name: icetsunami
Alfa Romeo 166 in general
Advantages: Awesome V6 available, nice styling, pedigree
Disadvantages: MPG can suffer at speed, depreciates like nothing else
My Car and impressions:
I have just become an Alfista with my recent purchase of the Alfa 166 3.0L 24v Sportronic. The V6 is the famous Alpha powerhouse that originated in a 2.5L displacement form but was bored out to a full 3.0L. The engine was eventually replaced as a fully rebuilt V6 in both 3.0L and 3.2L varieties.
Sportronic refers to the automatic gearbox which has basically one drive position but can be knocked left into a sport mode allowing quick shifting manually. In automatic form the car is responsive enough for most situations and when fully depressing the accelerator the car changes gear in 1/10 sec and unleashes some serious power.
My 3.0L version develops around 220bhp, hits 60 from a standing start in just over eight seconds and ploughs on to a maximum of 147mph. I have to say that the initial acceleration does seem quicker than that though the delivery is very smooth. I believe the manual boxes claim a 0-60 time of 7.7sec. This is quite impressive given the size and weight of the car.
Aesthetically the car is beautiful and classic Alfa though some may find the quirky low front a bit eccentric looking though there was a revised facelift in 2003. Everything inside is well detailed and those little Alfa touches are everywhere. I personally love the off centre speedometer which is displaced by the rev counter. Lovely white faced dials which light up in too colours to indicate the higher end of performance.
Inside is grey velour upholstery with pale gray leather door inserts. The seats are completely electronically controlled and can memorise 3 different driver positions. The are also heated which is an added bonus if somewhat unnecessary but hey it's a luxury car. The ICS system controls the stereo system which has a tape loader and a six disc changer in the boot which is flush to the side of the compartment. The colour display also allows control of radio functions, trip data and the climate control. Option extras are GPS and telephone.
The cabin is spacious and comfortably seats five though the rear seats has a folding arm rest for when passengers are limited to four. Interestingly, and rather oddly, this rest also allows access to the boot for the loading of skis. The ride comfort is extremely high considering the stiffened sports suspension and the car glides along with very little roll even at higher speeds. Speed bumps are the enemy as they can be very high impact but of course sensible driving is the order of the day here.
Whilst there is a high level of comfort as a passenger I think the cream is kept for the driver. The adjustable positions of the seat are so precise you can sit in comfort for mile after mile. Being an automatic of course there are only two pedals, a big break one and the accelerator. The left over space provides a large foot rest. The inclusion of cruise control makes touring a simple and relaxing task and motorway miles are eaten up with great style. Should the need arise you can put your foot down to make a safe and rapid overtaking maneuver albeit at a detriment to your mpg!
Fuel economy is always going to be a concern on the larger sized engines but a steady drive is relatively efficient. I say 'relatively' because longer journeys can give a return of between 25mpg and 30mpg ish whilst urban driving with lots of stops and starts cuts this down somewhat. Hell on wheels acceleration and a 'hard' driving style will slash your economy further but this is the pay off for high performance.
Alfa Romeo 'points of interest':
It is fair to say that over the years there have been reliability issues with the marque though this is less so today. When buying a second hand Alfa you must look for a good service history and the previous owners. A bloke called Derek who has owned the car for several years and serviced it regularly probably has a very good car indeed.
As always look for bodywork rust, uneven tyre wear, scuffed alloys and pulling to either side when accelerating or braking. Any unusual knocking or emissions should be avoided.
Alfa's depreciate rapidly. Very rapidly. This is not an indication of the cars quality however. They are excellent cars to rival the best of BMW and Audi but the German cars have always been stronger sellers. This makes some models of Alfa extremely rare. My car for example was only imported in the low hundreds which means allowing for wastage that there are few around. One model of 166 came into the UK in numbers less than ten! My car is 2001 registered as a 'Y' and would have cost in the region of £30,000 yet I picked it up for just £1500!! Luckily it had just two previous owners and was in tip top shape.
Spare parts can be expensive so shop around. Look around around for special offers and smaller specialist shops as main dealers can be shock inspiring with their bill. And then they add VAT.
So buying an Alfa is a bit of a lottery but the odds are very good with some sensible viewing and some common sense. For very little money you can buy a well specified car with oodles of performance and style and more importantly a piece of Italian racing heritage.
This car is an awesome luxury tourer that is full of toys and delivers blistering performance. The power can be latte smooth or an espresso hit. Comfort and style go hand in hand and the car would suit any driving style. Buy a good quality second hand car and you could have a friend for life that will serve you reliably as long as you treat it well.
Summary: Heritage, style and power. A lustful combination.