You haven't considered the fact that the 2.0 TS was originally fitted with solid bushes from the factory (all Phase 1 1995-98 TS models had them). The rose-jointed bushes were only rolled out on the last of the TS modesl and then the JTS. All V6 models had them fitted though. I suspect this is because the rose-jointed bushes are simply more durable, especially for the springpan arms.
I've had powerflex bushes fitted since 2002 and I've had no problems with the passive steering effect or handling. Neither have many other forum members.
There are quite a few threads on this. Do a search.
You're right that I wasn't aware that the Phase 1 2 litre cars did not use spherical joints on the rear. It intrigues me that they decided to change them later though.
As I mentioned, my 1999 manufactured Phase 2 GTV has bonded (Phase 1?) rubber bushes at the inner end of the spring pan but otherwise sphericals were fitted throughout.
I guess I'm not communicating very well on where I'm coming from in this discussion, let me try again from a different direction.
The final factory GTV rear suspension specification is spherical joints throughout except on the inner end of the top fixed link and this spec. was introduced, as you mentioned, on the launch of the higher performance 3 litre model and later incorporated on the 2 litre. It is an exceptionally fine way of controlling the wheel geometry but may increase noise/vibration/harshness and uses expensive* joints to achieve precision. (*probably a minimum factor of +300% at OEM prices?)
I recognise that individually we embrace differing expectations of our cars.
Mine is that it will behave as the manufacturers project engineer intended, particularly in unexpected extremes. Thankfully we all enjoy what is basically a very safe, predictable and gorgeous looking performance car.........
I'm glad y'all are content with your powerflexed suspensions and my intent is not to take that away.
I guess I'd just feel irresponsible not to express my concerns over what experience leads me to believe is a degredation of the vehicles specification and I still suspect a power struggle taking place in the linkages with the revised bushes.
Prove me wrong! Plot the rear geometry movement, produce load/deflection graphs of the bush material, calculate the revised link and mounting stresses and wheel camber changes under load and demonstrate that the designed factor of safety is not compromised. This is what the Alfa design team had to do and I respect their facilities and skills!
I'm off for a blast around Gloucestershire now, in the hissing rain and hurricane force wind but I know I'm going to enjoy it - 'cos I'm driving a GTV.