Re: Engine rattle and squeek in the gearbox
The rattling noise will be an on the way out cam variator. However, if the noise goes away promptly it isn't a big issue. If the noise continues for a fair bit longer, or returns when the oil is hot it needs to be replaced. This is about £300 all in as it needs a new cam belt and tensioners also to replace the variator.
As to hills, the 1.8T VAG engines are turbocharged and have significantly higher torque output than Alfas. You will find that power on Alfa TS engines only really picks up after 3000 rpm, so the hill will be little trouble at engine speeds over 3000 rpm, but poor below.