My 156 Sportwagon is a Cat D. I gave it a good check over and it was immaculate. Definitely the best condition car I have ever bought second hand (including my old S3 from a main dealer). 5 months and 8000 miles later I've changed a thermostat, had a recon drive shaft, new back bumper where someone drove into the back of me, I have a MCSF now and again and now have the ABS and VDC lights on!
Sounds horrific doesn't it?
The car starts first time every time. Is smooth to drive (now the drive shaft is fixed), it's quick and economical and looks great, and was cheap, so I try to keep things in perspective.
Have any of my other cars been any more reliable? No. They have all had problems.
Renault 21 - Had to run with the heater on full blast in summer to stop her over heating. Various electrical lights on and sometimes didn't start in the wet. Did 120,000 miles though.
Renault Laguna - Pretty reliable actually, however both keys started to randomly fail and so couldn't mobilise the car. Very annoying in the end
Brand new MGF - Dodgy door alignment from new (fixed), and as with all 1.8 k series engines the head gasket went (warranty claim).
Audi S3 (275bhp) - Awesomely quick - started to overboost and go into limp mode - then went lumpy - lost compression in cylinder 4 - new engine
Ford Escort 1.8Si - Great car for £1100 - Rocking drivers seat - dodgy idle - numerous wheel bearings changed - boot warning light flickered on and off. Alternator cable disconnected on motorway and battery went flat leaving me on hard shoulder on the way to the airport. It's still going with my brother now and is at about 130k miles.
My wife's Polo has a frustrating habit of randomly cutting out whilst at speed and then re-starting itself causing a nasty judder and the radio often doesn't switch on. Already had a new clutch and only at 50k!
My point is that all makes are unreliable not just Alfas. Freinds with new BMW's have had problems as have colleagues with Mercs and believe it or not Porsches.
I think if you want reliability you need to go Japanese and who wants that?
I say enjoy the Alfa