I've sold my 147 2.0TS after two and a half years and bought a Imperza WRX. These were my impressions of the car;
Reliability - 9/10
Always started first time and all the essential parts never stoped working. The only think that I'd call a major fault was a strange noise from the gearbox some time after I put it into 3rd at 80mph by mistake. The dealer replaced it under warrantee, although I didn't tell them about my little mistake.
Other faults included a window that wouldn't wind down, a creaking clutch peddle that never really got fixed and a clunking noise from the rear near side interior. Can't comment on the WRX yet.
Performance - 7/10
After owning a 200bhp Mitsubishi FTO, 150bhp didn't feel very fast at all. But once the engine was properly worn in it was a real peach. My WRX is much faster once the turbo cuts in but it's a bit rough and without the after market exhaust it doesn't sound as good as the old twin spark at full revs!
Handling - 8/10
The standard setup is a little too soft and high off the ground for fast driving. The above score relates to my car after I lowered it by 25mm and fitted Koni adjustable dampers at the front. It was a little choppy at times but not annoyingly so and you had to watch those speed bumps but overall it was a major improvement. The WRX is a little stiffer but still comfortable for every day driving and handles amazingly.
Styling - 9/10
It's still the best looking hatchback (inside and out) on the road today. As for the WRX... let's just say it's functional and leave it at that!
Dealer - 7/10
AMC of Chelmsford were alway polite and eager to please. They fixed any problem (apart from the creaky clutch) without any arguement and had the car cleaned and ready on time. The only blot in their copy book was that the clutch cable came off the pedal so that it dropped to the floor after they fitted a new master cylinder (to try to fix the creaking). Fortunately I was at a tyre fitter who managed to re-fit it.
Overall - 7/10
The car was built better than expected but wasn't as sporty as I'd imagined. It's beauty was never diminished and the engine got even better with time. There were a couple of minor annoying features you don't get on other cars; firstly the indicator would cancel when you didn't want it to and secondly the sun visor only had two positions, against the windscreen or straight down so that you couldn't see a thing! One more major annoyance was the clutch, not only did it creak but it bit very suddenly, sometimes with a clunk, so that stop/start traffic was a bit of a pain. If Alfa could sort those things out and make a simpler and more sporty version of the 147 or 156/7 I'd be very happy. How about a 4WD GT coupe with the 3.2 V6?