I'm a fairly new Alfa owner but have been a fan for a long time. I wanted a 156 for a long time and finally plucked up the courage to buy a 2004 face lift model a year ago.
Its not 'top of the range' and I couldn't warrant the v6 fuel costs. I bought a 2.0 JTS Veloce instead (love those telephone dial wheels) which, though it doesn't have the leather has everlything I want including the sports pack, side skirts etc.
Bully by the way is not a personal trait but short for my my sirname!
Happy naturally aspirated driving