Bought my 2002 156sw 2.4jtd just over 2 years ago.
Within days it was in the shop for a leaking power steering pump, and then before that was eventually fixed the cam belt went.
enough to say that I wasnt impressed.
However, i took the dealer to court and won the case, resulting in him paying for all the repairs as he had failed to have the annual service completed at 6 years (cam belt change).
Since then the car has been totally reliable (hope that is not the kiss of death), save for the usual alfa niggles
(front wishbones, windscreen washer pump).
Nobody buys an alfa because they are super reliable, but in all fairness, once it had been serviced properly (and we have an excellent local specialist in Gloucester (cloverleaf) it has never let me down.
Personally, I prefer the look of the pre-facelift models, but then I would say that wouldnt I!!