Thanks to everyone for chipping in with advice - all has been taken on board!
A few other thoughts. I will only buy one with natural leather seats as I don't like dark/black interiors - which seemingly rules out red as an exterior colour. At present a 2.2 LE in black or white looks favourite as all the 3.2 Q4s I've seen for sale have dark leather seats. Several of you have suggested going for a post 2008 car to buy the improvements made in that year - does that mean don't buy an 08 or 58 plate, but start looking at 09s? Is there an easy way to check whether the car I'm looking at has the later spec? So far, nobody has expressed an opinion on 2.2 versus 1.75 engine - one Alfa dealer I spoke with says the 1.75 is as torquey but as thirsty as the 3.2! So many questions about this stunning looking car - as one of you said, half the fun is in the looking and choosing! Please keep your comments coming...
Mine's an '08 (white/natural leather) that has the improved spec and more - it's a 'limited edition' model, and looks simply stunning in this colour combination
LEs were only available in 2008 and all have the great spec of 19'' wheels and the newer design heated full electric seats. Only available as a 2.2 though.
The style of seats is an easy way to differentiate between the early and later spec cars.
The 1.75 is actually more economical than the 2.2 for petrol & tax, and has much better performance.
The 3.2 is very poor for petrol & tax, great for performance.
Like I said earlier, the 1.75 is a very rare beast and it'll be at least a few more years before they're within your £12k budget.
On paper at least, they look a very good buy, just a pity they're so expensive. There's 2 on AT at £17k+
IMO, the 2.2 is a very average engine. It was a real let down in terms of performance and sound compared to my previous 2 litre twin-spark, but guess it does the job.
A reminder of Alfa's dark days with GM I'm afraid.
I think I'm correct in saying that the 1.75 is an all-Alfa engine...