old petrolhead thinking of buying first Alfa
Originally from UK, and currently live in Israel. I am married, no kids yet, and despite me being a cat person, we have a one year old dog that recently gave birth to three pups (definitely not a good idea).
I have always loved cars...well, fast coupes mostly, and latterly luxury cars. Had most of the common variants (including a Mazda rotary), except a large premium saloon, an SUV, and a large van. Used to be a big Porsche fan, but much less so these days.
These days, I am probably most strongly attracted to luxury sports coupes (clutchless), but have to consider that we regularly take my elderly mother out, and my much younger wife wants kids.
Never owned an Alfa, so I guess I am still not a true petrolhead! Almost bought one about a decade back, but it did not get a good pre-purchase inspection report. My brother owned one of the last RWD V6s, but, disappointingly, never offered to sell it to me.
I have to say that if money was not a major consideration, or we lived elsewhere, I would probably buy myself a Maserati, a Bentley, or maybe a sensible Mercedes CLS diesel. At the other end of the scale the little Peugeot RCZ appeals.
Anyway, I am currently living in Israel where cars are ridiculously expensive, generally abused, and where there are very few really nice cars on the roads. And most people drive their low power hatchbacks like they're on a race track, despite there being no actual race tracks here.
The positives are that many cars have full dealer service histories - although dealer servicing, and servicing in general, falls below what I would consider to be a good general international standard. And if you want to do something as simple as change your own oil, you'll have to order the filter from a main dealer, and good luck finding 5L of a good brand name oil, let alone a choice.
I have never seen anything like a mint older (let alone old) car, with lows miles, and one loving owner. Even a one year old car can be quite beaten up. Fuel is also very expensive, and despite it being a small country, travelling long distances everywhere is the norm, so the miles get racked up. Diesel cars are still relatively rare. Low mileage cars can be difficult to find. And a used car without any body issues at all is maybe impossible to find.
There's no RR or Bentley dealer, and while I know there are some old ones in the country, I have never seen one here. There's one Porsche dealer, and one Ferrari/Maserati importer that has sold a handful of Maserati Quattroportes and a few Gran Turismos. There are a few more Lexus, Cadillac, Buick, Jag-Volvo-Honda dealers, and several Fiat-Alfa dealers. VW-Audi dealers, and of course, Skoda dealers are relatively plentiful. Most people drive a Skoda, Hyundai, Kia, Toyota, GM (Opel, Chevy), Ford or Honda. There are of course a few others, but Skodas and the Koreans are probably the most popular. And the most popular 'luxury' car is the Skoda Superb, which was also my last car here.
So, here I am looking to buy something different. Something with a level of luxury and sportiness above the norm. Alfa is the only relatively affordable option where there's also a reasonable number for sale to choose from.
I am considering either a GT or a 159 saloon, preferably with full leather and a clutchless transmission.
I haven't seen a 159 Sportwagon here. The only GTs I have seen are the 2L JTS petrol (165hp) with Selespeed (and full leather). I have not seen any V6 or diesel GTs.
Most 159s have the 2.2 JTS with Selespeed (a manual 2.2 is very rare). 2.2s have asking prices generally in the 9-15K GBP range. There are also a few TBi manuals (asking prices for low mileage 2 owner 2010-11 cars circa 18K GBP), and 4WD V6s (mostly autos). And also a few 2.2 TI's (2011 2 owner cars with less than 30K miles for about 16.5K GBP). I have also seen a couple of 2.4 diesels (one auto, one manual), and two or three 1.9 diesel manuals. The diesels I've seen are older, lower spec ones with high mileages. There are a few 2.2's with full leather, all the TBi's seem to have full leather, and all the V6s too.
After reading many many threads here and elsewhere, but mostly here, it seems that the 159 2.2's and TBi's are lucky to deliver much more economy in the real world than the V6s. If I am only going to get mpg in the early 20's, I reckon I might as well get a V6, which delivers almost everything I'm looking for in a car right now, except for better economy and off the line performance.
There are a couple of 2008 cars with circa 95K kms for sale at the moment, but one is dark blue (2 owners) and the other black (3 owners). They are both about 12.5K GBP. There is also a 1 owner 2011 car I have already seen with 100K kms in white with beige leather (my preferred colourway) for about 18.5K GBP. I tentatively offered 16.5 but was turned down. It's pretty clean, but does have a few small dings and scratches here and there, and the interior also has a few issues like some trim needing to be glued down, and the gear shift knob coming off when you pull on it, and likely more too.
The other option is to get a GT 2L JTS Selespeed. These are obviously less practical, and to my eye, have a less beautiful front end. But it seems they do actually deliver circa 30mpg. And apart from less practical, but better economy, I find those beautiful big leather seats less comfortable, and the ride somewhat crashy. The performance is also less than I would like. However, they are still special in their own way, have some really nice features, are relatively practical for a coupe, and I may be able to get a reasonably good one for less than 10K GBP. However, the best low mileage ones are more likely to have asking prices in the 12.5-15K GBP range, and I am finding it hard to justify spending that much on what would be much more of a 'personal' car.
I should also state that it is generally very hard to successfully negotiate significant amounts off the asking prices, whether dealing with a private seller or a dealer. The Government-calculated book prices rule here, and the formula in no way seems to reflect a world market perspective. That's the way it is, and change does not seem to be in the air.
If I could find a good low-mileage LHD example in Europe, I might consider importing, but then again import taxes are 140%, and frighteningly you just can't be sure on what figure they will calculate the taxes on when the car arrives; purchase price, so-called "world price", whatever that is, the Government's book price, which would be really bad news, or some other figure they drag from the air.
Anyway, here I am on the verge of Alfa ownership for the first time!
Last edited by Alfisti64; 05-08-15 at 23:35.