my two cents having lots of german cars in the family,
one cousin is on his 3rd BMW. he loves them, will never buy anything else, his latest is some kind of top of the range m3. he always told me to stay away and never buy a bmw though! says they are generally reliable but when things do go wrong, the cost is hard to accept as he had has problems. considering the high price of the car and then potential parts on top, will be far more expensive than running an alfa.
^one uncle is always working on his, its a 95 i think so likely to be knackered anyway. it sounds shot even though he has always taken very good care of it.
an uncle has a new merc, but is unimpressed with the dealer, also with the reliabilty, not as bad as alfa
but not as bullet proof as they used to be.
his service was cheaper than mine will be though...
several VWs in the family, experience tells me the dealers are useless, and at my 3 nearest, they really dont care, but that might be a local trait to be honest. my view is reliabilty is an issue, 3 cars are 51-02 plates and have engine problems that after several visits to dealers are still not fixed.
(assuming the dealers just reset the computer and hope it goes away...) but the engines feel messy and wasteful, not the clean burners they used to be, maybe they all just need a flush?
in 2-3 years i hope to be in a 159, unless my current 156 goes t*ts up then i'll be going japanese.