That is why our opinions differ so much then. To me what makes a good engine is how characterfull they are. It gives the whole car personality. That is why I love the Tspark and V6's.
I had a loan of a ford puma with the famous 1.7 zetec and hated it. No low end grunt, linear power delivery and it sounded like a sewing machine.
Every japanese and korean engine I have had the "Pleasure" of using was.... just awefull....
The ts and V6 are hardy engines but you have to look after them and service them properly. unfortunately you have to be "in the know" already to half the published service intervals. Long service intervals have never been a selling point for me.
To me, describing an engine as "Grown up" is a guarantee'd turn off.
I have had plenty of enjoyment from my TS, but there are many frustrating instances. It bothers me that it just can't deal with even small inclines without just becoming flat and unresponsive.
The 1.6 VVT Suzuki engine of the same year as mine is just completely different and better in every way. The way the torque is delivered was masterful and it would even go up
hills. The exhaust system was set up really well and the engine was (like the TS) free revving and had a lovely noise to it.
It was very strange when I went up a very steep gradient in my 1.25 Zetec-SE Fiesta and it complained, but it was aright. Same hill in the Alfa and we were seriously wondering if I could even change up to second.
I think what I more object to is the remarkable laziness of Alfa not to bother at least updating the 16v TS during the facelift. Simply putting more cats in the system is not an update. I think I am used to companies making at least some
effort to improve their engines to be more appropriate. Every time (at least in my experience) a manufacturer like Ford, BMW, Vauxhall or such decide to facelift their cars, they actually bother to at least tweak the engine spec.
Flogging the same engine when they knew that the torque delivery was reportedly quite poor compared to others for over 6-7 years after the knowledge is available is simply lazy to me. Even FIAT decided that the Punto engines should be updated. It'd be like Fiat having no other engine than their original FIRE engine all the way through until 2010. Even the TBi has already been updated twice since launch. 16v TS? Nothing, not a sausage over ten years to improve the spec it seemed
I can imaging the conversations at FIAT HQ...
"Your MA units keep exploding and the TBi has a weak turbo setup" - Okay, we'll update those.
"Your TS units have no low down torque and the maintenance intervals are crap" - Okay, have fun with that. We can't be bothered making the JTS engine available.