Some people get underwhelmed by the 2.2. When looking at the current range, particularly the Brera, some people see a supercar and expect it to go like one, forgetting it's only a £23.5K car. It needs at least 10,000 miles to start performing well (seems to keep getting better toward 18,000) which means demo cars aren't a shadow of what they should be. The suspension and ride on the standard models (not "S") are comfy which takes the edge off perceived speed/acceleration.
It's not a slow car; it's faster than it's predecessor (the 2.0 TS) despite the weight increase, and actually has a lot better low end pick up. At the lights it flies away from most things. The fuel consumption is tolerable and it doesn't eat tyres (provided the toes are set to parallel)! The cars are so comfy you can do huge distances and feel refreshed at the end of it. Revving the engine north of 4000 revs is one of life's great joys (and it goes to 6,800 revs!).
More than this, the 2.2 has so much potential. It is the lightest of the range (except the 159 MPI unit), which means you've got great handling and you don't need to add that much power to make it perform like a full on sports car rather than a lovely comfy GTcruiser. The cars may be a little on the heavy side, but they are extremely solid and well built; I suspect they are going to last exceptionally well. This makes a great platform for the long term user.
There is plenty of potential in the engine. It is stiffled by the rubbish exhaust and air intake. The percentage gains from fairly simple changes like a decent air intake and exhaust are, I think, higher than they should be for an engine of this size. This seems to be due to the silly factory set up which is geared for total silence (now who wants a silent Alfa?).
My exhaust and remap have been done and the car is transformed. 17% torque gain, 95% torque at 2000 revs. The noise is fantastic. At idle the exhaust pulses like a V6
The induction hasn't been done yet, but even just with an Autodelta panel filter, it makes a nice high-pitched sucking noise at the front end. There's potential for weight reduction too, such as getting shot of the heavy standard exhaust.
In the next few years, many 2.2s will come out of lease, and I strongly encourage you second hand buyers to snap them up cheaply in the current economic climate and sort the internals - but please, no spoilers
I'm keeping mine for a long time