I traded in a 1994 Honda civic coupe 1.5 Lsi for my GTV 2.0 TS because I had always wanted an Alfa. The GTV was a nice car to drive. I loved the engine, styling and the handling of this car but the missus couldn't live with the impracticalities and forcing the mother-in-law into the back seat was a nightmare (she moans enough already) [img]smilies/frown.gif[/img] . Also I found the performance to be adequate rather than quick. It could just about live with hot hatches and I expected more for the cars price and aggressive looks(I bought this car before the price cuts. £22k). The car had a few build quality issues too. These were mainly paint and trim problems but the Alfa dealerships I dealt with were mostly unsuccessful in rectifying these problems. None of these problems were enough to put the car off the road though.
I gave into the missus and decided to order a 156 2.0 TS. This car was a horror story from the day I picked it up until the day I sold it. I accept that I may have been unlucky and got a lemon but it was Alfas refusal to accept responsibility for the problems I had and their complete incompetance in rectifying them that really put me off buying another Alfa. As I have said previously on this BBS, I would have atually felt guilty for selling this car to a private buyer so I sold it to an Alfa dealer who, in my opinion, deserved the feckin' thing.
I then reviewed what I wanted a car for. I want a car which is fast, fun, stylish and will also do all the boring, going to the shops stuff too (preferably without breaking down!) The BMW's I have owned have all done this job perfectly IMO.
Also, living in Germany, a BMW is perfect for long Autobahn drives (which I have to do a lot!). I never trusted the Alfas (esp. the 156) for extended high speed journeys. I always thought they would go 'bang' at any time.