Liebling, you'll find hereafter another mind about selespeed from the well known journalist Ian Kuah and, after use, I fully agree with him.
I agree that a good manual gearbox scores over an imperfect clutchless system everytime. But, Alfa has honed the six-speed clutchless manual Selespeed system to perfection. Using paddle shifters, left for down and right for up, requires some mental adjustment if you have never encountered a clutchless manual before. Once you have adapted, though--not long if you take the time to understand why it exists--you can never go back. But, I cannot emphasize enough that some people may need to alter their perceptions of driving, not just gearchanging.
We say that because some may erroneously assume you can make full-throttle upshifts as with the Ferrari F1 system. Wrong! Treat the Selespeed in this way, and it hesitates and jerks, and you curse it. You need to lift your throttle foot slightly as you would in a manual car when upshifting, and then the system works swiftly and seamlessly.
Coming down the box, as when approaching a bend, the electronics thoughtfully blip the throttle for you to smoothen out the downshift and prevent the wheels locking on a loose or slippery surface. It sounds great and makes you look like an ace, but it is also much swifter in situations like the mountainous roads that made up part of our test route. Where an experienced driver might use a heel-and-toe downshift to maintain total control of the vehicle when slowing toward a bend or hazard, Selespeed will blip the throttle and downshift cleanly while you concentrate on maintaining full braking capability and directional stability with both hands on the wheel! On mountain roads with dozens of corners close together, I found it to be a valuable stress-busting device--and faster, too.
Stepping out of the 2.0 Selespeed, the manual gearbox and clutch in the 1.6 seemed clumsy, inept and archaic. Although the pedals are set up correctly for heel-and-toeing, the whole manual process seems a waste of energy and lost movement by comparison. For the macho man who stands by his manual gearbox, we can only say that if a clutchless system is good enough for Michael Schumacher, it is good enough for anyone!
The 1.6-liter manual and 2.0-liter Selespeed present at the launch are just the tip of the iceberg. In the summer, the range will be joined by a five-door version for those who need more practicality and a manual 2.0-liter. Both will help to plug the yawning price gap that now exists between the two launch models. In the UK, the entry level 1.6 Twin Spark Turismo costs £12,985, the Lusso trim version £14,090, and the 2.0 Selespeed Lusso is £17,340.