(first meandering post, apologies)
I'm in Japan, and a soon-to-be Alfa owner, and I'd just like some general feedback from people who know these cars inside and out.
Up to this point I've owned Toyotas exclusively - 3 MR2s and 2 Celica GT-FOURs. My last MR2 was a '92 with a 420hp 2.2L stroker and a zillion mods. My ST185 Celica GT-FOUR (which is still in the family
) has a ST205 engine, GT28rs turbo upgrade and MBC. It's healthy at a manageable 275 awhp.
Anyway, this this isn't about my previous cars, I just wanted to post some background. I think I'm done modding cars, actually. However, I really loved
the turbo + all-wheel combo of the GT-FOURs and I'm seriously interested in the Alfa 155 Q4. Actually, I'm interested in all kinds of Alfas, but that's another thread.
I've lived in Tokyo for 2 years now, and while there are plenty of Alfas to be seen, there are not many 155 Q4s here. There are, however, a decent amount of Lancia Delta Integrales on the road here - so there must be someone with expertise enough to keep those things running. My research up to this point has revealed to me that these are similar cars, mechanically.
What I'd really like to know is, in stock form, is the Q4 reliable? The general consensus among the Japanese community here is that the Q4 and Integrale are great fun to drive but maintenance is (or can be) something of a nightmare. It's pretty overwhelming in that regard. Most Japanese reviews state that their Q4 spent more time broken, than on the road.
On the BerlinaSportivo forums (where I've also done tons of reading) I keep seeing members referring to their cars as "money pit" and other names, but then turn around and say they are generally really tough and reliable. I'm having a hard time reading between the lines here.
I'm in a position to buy a fun car, mainly as a personal toy (I don't need it to commute), and I don't mind spending money to maintain a car. However, I spent way too much money on my last MR2, and also my first ST185 GT-FOUR...so I'm not looking to modify this Q4. I'm not looking to tempt fate and get stuck in another money pit. My last modified turbo MR2 was a certified
money-pit, and I'm done with all that.
I really want something I can get in and drive, and I'd like to have enough confidence to drive it into the mountains on a camping trip, etc.
More background on me: I do not have a garage, I have a covered rental space. I don't have many tools, and I'm not really into wrenching on my own cars. I've changed air filters, changed the oil, changed tires, headlights, batteries - that sort of thing, but I don't have the space, or the inclination to fabricate my own intercooler or anything like that.
I've found a Q4 that looks great. If it's been maintained properly, should I get several years of mainly maintenance-free enjoyment?
For reference, this is the car I'm considering:
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Many thanks for anyone who read everything! I appreciate any and all feedback.