Re: spare key
I am looking into the key situation with great interest as I too require a spare but have no intention (yet) of giving into the "man" and buying new.
I used to work as an design Engineer for medical devices and we used a system that sounds similar for users to gain security access into service the kit.
Basically there was a passive or "dumb" transponder "tag" that was read by an RF inductor or aerial. This would relate to the Alfa aerial that surrounds the ignition key.
What would happen was that the machine would be told to look for a tag and memorize it's id (that was a random code NOT programmed by us) and basically let it into the system next time you see it.
We were able to load in or delete as many tags as were needed at each site.
I do not believe that Alfa are coding these tags that are imbedded into the keys, they are, as mentioned by others simply getting the ECU to open-up, grant clearance to them and maintain a register of "friendly" transponders.
In response to Chris - If Alfa had changed the transponder type, how would the new key that you would buy now from a dealer work as they would have updated transponders also wouldn't they?
The mystery deepens..