Alfa Romeo 166 car review by Jason Dawe

7 Nov 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Alfa Romeo 166 car review by Jason Dawe

For the same price as a new Ford Fiesta you can own one of the world’s best looking executive saloons. Because, despite costing nearly Ј30,000 when new, you can now pick up a three year old example of Alfa Romeo’s flagship 166 model for under Ј10,000.

Buying the top spec 3.0 litre Super Lusso model gets you leather upholstery, climate control, electric front seats and satellite navigation. And under the bonnet beats the legendary 3.0 litre 24 valve V6 engine. As good to look at as it is to listen too, few cars can match the aural delights of the 3.0 V6 under hard acceleration.

Producing 226 bhp it propels the car to a genuine 150mph top speed and hits 60mph in under 8 seconds. But if the prospect of its 22mpg fuel consumption is a little daunting then you can choose the 2.0 litre twin spark unit producing 150bhp which returns close to 30mpg. Sitting in between is a 190bhp 2.5V6 but with only marginally better performance than the 2 litre and fuel consumption similar to the 3litre it is the least appealing.

All 166’s put their power down through the front wheels but torque steer is minimised thanks to the double wish bone front suspension and traction control system. And enthusiastic drivers will relish the precise steering requiring just 2.2 turns lock to lock.

In common with most cars in this category Alfa Romeo offer the 166 with an automatic gearbox. The four speed Sporttronic gearbox provides clutch less manual changes or a fully automatic mode. Most buyers choose the 6 speed manual; in keeping with the cars sporting credentials, used examples costs about Ј500 less than their automatic equivalents.

Sit inside and the car makes you feel special. The driver binnacle houses an array of dials and a large colour LCD screen in the centre of the dashboard provides control for the standard climate control and stereo functions. The list of standard equipment on all models also includes alloy wheels, alarm system and an 8 speaker stereo/cassette.

The top specification Lusso models also come with automatic wipers, xenon headlights, electric front seat adjustment and soft Momo leather upholstery as standard. The front seats on all 166’s are large and supportive with a good range of adjustment, but rear leg room is less than you would expect in a car of its size and the individual rear seats make it more comfortable for 2 passengers than three.

Whilst the 166 is better built than previous models, owners do report a number of problems. From minor (but frustrating) electrical niggles to more serious clutch, brake and air conditioning failures, making it important to take the car for an extended test drive before you buy. A common problem is excessive rear tyre wear, a sign that the rear tracking was incorrectly aligned when leaving the factory.

Cars still covered by the original 3 year/60,000 mile warranty give most peace of mind but on older cars, an extended warranty can be purchased from the dealer. If you are buying privately, get the car checked over by a main agent first and make sure the car is HPI’d before parting with the cash.

Finding a garage to look after your car should be easy with 95 Alfa Romeo dealers across the UK. But their quality does vary and many owners describe how they have used three or four different service departments before they settle on one they like. Schedule servicing is once a year or every 12 months, whichever is sooner.

But be sure to check the engine oil levels every couple of weeks, all models burn a little oil and low levels can cause serious engine damage.

Check the following

Oil – Check level every 2 weeks, as all engines use oil between services

Servicing – 12 months/12,000 miles Ј250 for minor service, Ј400 for a 36,000 mile major service

Wheels – choice of 16’’, 17’’ or 18’’ wheels available

Airbags – front and side standard on all models

Security – Alarm and immobiliser are standard

Leather upholstery – A desirable option that is standard on Lusso models

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