Wow! I wasn't expecting so many replies. Thanks for the suggestions guys. It seems like the general concensus is to give the brakes an overhaul up front (rears already done) and see where I am from there.
A remap to 180bhp sounds excellent, although I may go a stage or 2 further if the bank balance allows. I'm no stranger to fitting bigger turbos and intercoolers etc but all of my experience has been with Turbocharged petrol cars so far.
The Alfa has had the clutch and flywheel done with genuine parts very recently at a cost of £1140 by Alfatech with the previous owner. The belts and waterpump have also been done last year. I noticed on the way home it runs a bit cold so I think the thermostat is sticking open. Are the stats easy to replace on these?
be careful once you get past the 200 BHP mark. the stock clutch will be toast in no time. the clover 170 clutch is uprated it will slot nicely into your gearbox and is a nice ''stage one'' option and advised. there are various stage 2 set ups out there that keep it driveable in normal conditions...once you get up to the 230 BHP and above levels its pretty much dual friction paddle clutch time, nothing else will reliably hold the torque levels for long.
you say you have experience with petrol's which will help, but diesel power delivery comes in a big lump, transmission will suffer as a result if the map and driver are not sympathetic to it.
180 is what the car should have come with, its not especially quick, but brings the car to acceptable performance levels, 150 bhp is very pedestrian IMHO.
i'm currently at around 200 BHP with my GT and also must say that the quaife LSD is a must if planning stage 2 power...I also have Bilstein B12's all round and the eibach ARB kit...its fun now and when the FMIC goes on and the hybrid it will be a quick car by most standards, up there with the 3.2 for sure.
the map will uncover all of the suspension woes in anything but a straight line on flat road...se be prepared to spend some money!
that said I think the SW is the best balance of all the 156 derived cars...
stat is easy...
good luck with your plans and welcome!
p.s autolusso do performance pads for the fronts at £100 fitted. HUGE difference over the pagids had on..(once warm anyway)
pps +1 on the egr delete, even without a re-map it makes sense.