Re: Known Faults of 147?
I had a 2002 model for 5 years, and no problems, except for this one:
Start it up. If it splutters like a diesel for about 10-30 seconds before settling to a nice smooth sound, then the inlet cam variator needs replacing. This isn't cheap (£300-500 depending on labour), but it is a common problem with 1.6 Twin-sparks: dealers here offer to replace the variator at the cambelt service (and charge for it too!).
The only other "odd" service item I ever had was that the bushings in the rear suspension needed replacing at around 20k miles, but that could be more to do with where I was driving.
As others said, the cambelt needs to be done at 30,000-36,000 (don't believe the service schedule). If they've got paperwork for that, the variator (see above) might have been done then too. And I'll add my voice to those saying make sure the oil has been regularly changed - and kept topped up. The engine drinks a bit of oil, especially with a heavy right foot, and it does not like to run low.
Other than that, the 147 is a very reliable car. Not just "Alfa" reliable, but "any maker" reliable. I'd rate it above a Golf if experiences of Golf owners I know are anything to go by.