Chris, I agree, the Selespeed does take a bit to drive smoothly but once I got the hang of it, it was fun to use. Like you, my choice is limited and the 147 Selespeed I looked at is the best value advertised at this time.
What is making the wait for a suitable manual to come along more difficult is that this car is in the color/interior combo that I really like. If it wasn't such a good looking combo, I'd probably wait for a manual. Heart taking over here!
Jim, good advice to keep the brain out of it
My concern is not just cost but the inconvenience of the troubleshooting and repair involved with a Selespeed. If it was a straight forward breakdown of the Selespeed box, I can deal with that.
What I dread is the intermittent faults, gear sensors failure, gear slippage into neutral while overtaking, and getting stuck in gear and not being able to get into gear at all. And if any of these happens, the "trusted, reliable and forum recommeded" Alfa workshop is about 5 hours away in another city so towing will be a chunk of change!
Whew, I'm breaking into a cold sweat just thinking about it.