Got my new 166 - yippee!
Well, I got my hands on my new 166 this weekend - yippee!
The car is a 2001/Y 3.0 Sportronic in grey with CD changer, sat nav, and sunroof. It's a high miler (108k) but seems to have been looked after - only two owners, the first took it to 104k by end 2006; the second barely drove it in the year he had it.
My car before last was a '99 Super in silver which I sold 3 years ago - here's what it feels like to be back in the saddle...
- The soundtrack (obviously)
- The handling: it's easy to forget the 166 is a pretty big car
- The Sportronic gearbox: I am genuinely impressed at how smooth this auto box is, even when shifting gears in Sport mode at highish revs. My wife has a W210 E-class estate (yes, I know...) and the Alfa box is MUCH smoother than the Merc - amazing.
- The looks: I'd forgotten what a gorgeous car the 166 is. And in grey, it looks super discreet, too.
- I'm sure the cabin in my old car was bigger...
- Why is the edge of the driver's door lower bin (where you rest your right leg) not padded? I'm bruising!
- Non-Xenon lights: on unlit roads - yikes, where did the road go??? Solution: use foglights.
- Ride: a bit crashy; somewhat at odds with the super-smooth Sportronic. However, the car is floating and bouncing a bit over bumps so I guess the dampers are probably past their best.
- 108k service: booked in for Friday - fingers crossed they don't find anything hideously wrong with it. The car is going to Palmer & Philips in Cowley, Oxford - Fiat/Alfa specialists and pretty decent in my experience.
- Wheels: the car has the standard 16" wheels. My Super had the horseshoe 17s, but I'm not sure they look right with the grey paintwork. In any case, on the slightly rubbish roads I drive on, I'm grateful for the extra half inch of sidewall betwen me and the road... Anyway, the wheels were sandblasted by the previous owner and lacquered - ie not repainted the normal silver colour. In a funny way the look quite cool (matt grey) but I'm tempted to get them restored to their original state.
- DSP: my old 166 had DSP and I loved it. This one doesn't but I picked up a DSP amp on eBay a few weeks ago and so have my fingers crossed that the DSP loom is present in the car along with the CD changer and sat nav. I'm not hopeful as the extra speaker cables in the parcel shelf (and the speakers themselves) are not there - but you never know, eh?
- Interior: the car has grey velour seats. So will be seeing Marco at the weekend to switch to black leather. Can't wait!
Amazingly, my spend on the car so far has been a mere 10 quid (headlamp bulb, number plate bulb, tax disc holder, reset tyre pressures - how do people not get that right???). Oh, apart from the SIXTY QUID it took to fill the tank...
Finally - went over for lunch with friends on Sunday. Parked up behind their new grey 3-series coupe (quite pretty) and grey VW Touran. When we left, my 4.5 year old son - completely unprompted - threw his arms over the bonnet of the 166 and started kissing it!!! What a star!!! Which meant I could shrug and say to our hosts, "Well, you know, that's the effect these cars just have on people..." Marvellous.
Anyway - that's enough rambling from me... it's just good to be back in a 166...