Where to start! This car was such an icon for me at a particular time in my 20s, but alas, a baby came along and suddenly it became highly impractical, not to mention the number of times it broke down on me! I know Jeremy Clarkson adores them but even he will admit they are so unreliable, as swish as they look. If you are impulsive (like me), I will not try to stop you from buying one as particularly if you have the convertible version, you will love it more than chocolate, more than sex. It is THE ultimate car to be seen in, gorgeous in so many ways and a real head turner. But it is for a certain time in your life - a time when you have disposable income and just yourself or yourself and your significant other to worry about. Please do not purchase this car thinking you have made an economy wise car purchase! It will (if your experience is anything like mine) cost you ££££s to repair. In the end it's all about weighing it up and sometimes, well sometimes we just have to be impulsive. You only live once after all.
Alfa Romeo - mention this car manufacturer's name and people will either flinch at the very thought ( and think warm thoughts about Ford Mondeos and Nissan Micras ) or they will give a whimsical smile and think of things of beauty... And a thing of beauty is exactly what I have - an Alfa Spider... This is Alfa's roadster version of their GTV coupe. It is truly gorgeous to look at, striking and angular. Unlike those nasty little MGF's and MX5's, when the roof is down, it's hidden away in a compartment at the back so you don't get that 'pram' effect. Speaking of the roof, I know the one on the old Spider used to leak something chronic, but this one is double lined and is not in the slightest bit drippy. Anyway if you can tear yourself away from drooling at the exterior and step inside the car, that's a beautiful experience too. If you go for the Lusso model like mine you get delightfully supportive leather sports seats, embossed with the Alfa logo, and a chrome lined dash with the dials angled towards the driver (keeps nosey passengers at bay) Nice adjustable leather steering wheel too. Typical Italian design, the driver's sunvisor has a nice mirror on it , so you can fix your lippy while you drive. The pedals are set a bit oddly, but I've found this in every Fiat and Alfa I've ever owned - the throttle is sort of forward and to the side, but not a problem once you're used to it. In fact the throttle is something you will love getting used to! It makes a fantastic noise when you press it and you can take it up to about 7000 revs before hitting the red! The 2 litre twinspark engine is nippy enough, and to be honest going any faster in this car I think it might be a bit wobbly. There is a 3 litre version and I reckon it would probably be a monster to drive! The Spider is front wheel drive, maybe rear wheel might be more fun. Cornering is fast and fun, it stops quickly and
they give you a lovely multi-cd stereo. What more can you ask for. This car is an Alfa so you have to love them to own one. They do get niggly faults with things like the electrics but so what, it doesn't cost much to fix. Alfas don't rust anymore and the engine is the soundest around. The most annoying thing I find with mine is that the locks and doors freeze in the cold weather! If you want to get to work on time be sure to either keep it in a garage or get a cover for it. I end up messing about with jugs of hot water and WD40 for about 1/2 hour each morning in the winter! About £20k will buy you one brand spanking new, but if you're hard up second hand ones are on the market quite cheaply now. Alfa haven't really changed the design since they brought the car out about 8 years ago, so if you get hold of a well loved, cared for car (a full service history is essential - as the car gets older some major stuff like the cam needs doing) you can be out posing for under £8k. If you're sensible and want the fun of an affordable roadster, I am wasting my time here as you will probably buy a Mazda MX5. If however your heart rules your head and you fancy something different with a bit of Italian quirk this is the car for you. Best of all, it puts a smile on your face and you will find yourself going, 'Tee hee' as you zip down the road.