The consensus mainly seems to be people who haven't had a sele or who read the problem posts, if we applied the same logic to engines nobody would buy a twinspark
i completely agree with this
everyone is quick to give the sele system a bum deal, but the reality is there are many cars out there that have had no issues with them.
Mine is now at 90K miles and the only issues i have had have been the clutch needed replacing (normal wear and tear) and it threw a wobbly once with losing 2nd gear (low gearbox oil, and i was guilty of this)
aside from that it has been faultless, i have all the control of a fully manual car but dont have the dead left leg when sitting in traffic for ages creeping along.
If you look through the Selespeed thread that is a stick at the top of the 156/147 page you will find that most of the sele issues seem to stem from another component being faulty, garages are quick to fail the actuator as this is the main unit, however there are a number of solenoids and a accumilator that can be replaced at a far lower price.
If you do get a selespeed then invest in Alfadiag and speak to rearbear and get a Connection lead so you can connect a laptop to the car, first thing to do is run a calibration, these are supposed to be done annually and if done will ensure all is well.
for a cable and Alfa diag budget on about £90, i have got that money back in airbag resets i have done for friends on other Alfas and that was charging £5 a time