Well, after 5 years of continual Alfa ownership, three in the Giulietta QV and two in the Giulia QF, my time with Alfa is finally at an end for the forseeable future.
I'm in two minds about it. Part of me will miss the Giulia. It's a very special car and I've enjoyed almost every minute of driving it when I could open it up. Though the last proviso is also part of why I'm going a very different route with the next car. It's such a fast car with such high grip levels that I don't think I've ever really been that close to the limits that journalists praise it so much for. Fear of ending up in court or a coffin were always in the back of my mind.
Overall, it's been a very reliable car with only niggling issues that have needed rectifying but, therein lies the less fun part of Alfa ownership, the dealers. It's not that they've done anything wrong or broken anything. It's just that they don't care. Farming out the Quadrifoglio contract to an Arnold Clark Motorpoint service centre that mainly deals in 500s, Corsas, Clios etc was never going to be a premium experience and the initial nonsense from Alfa about how well Giulia customers had to be treated fell rapidly by the wayside.
I won't bore too much, but to get a courtesy car always meant a 3-4 week wait. The car was always a dirty, and occasionally smelly, Panda and that was on the occasions they had actually booked the courtesy car I'd asked for. I don't know if it's due to Alfa holding things up or Arnold Clark, but every issue required 2-3 visits before it was sorted and you'd often not hear again from either, having to constantly chase up warranty claims, one of which took 9 months to eventually resolve. Most of the time felt like I was banging my head against the wall and, polite as the service desk people were, they never knew anything about the warranty claims and couldn't tell me anything about the progress of claims.
Now the car is over two years old, it's out of manufacturers warranty and into the murky world of dealer warranty and the niggles are slowly increasing so I'm bailing out. I wanted to get a two seater this time and I did consider a 4C but the same issues of dealing with Alfa would remain. I looked at the A110 too but the only dealer for Scotland is, again, Arnold Clark so I'll politely bow out of that, and I couldn't get my wife to fit in the Elise. Amazing cars but she suffers from knee problems and would only be able to get in by taking the roof off every time! Briefly considered the Supra as well...until they unveiled what it looked like and that put paid to that! And I don't do Boxsters or Z4s.
So, and many will laugh at this point, I'm trading down to an MX5 2.0 as a daily driver, of all things, though it will be treated to the BBR Sport 220 package just as soon as I can get a holiday and take it to Brackley. I took one on an extended test drive last weekend and I haven't grinned quite so much since I first started driving! It's quick, rather than fast, but it's so light and so much fun, and the new engine makes it feel like an old school VTEC now. If only Alfa had made a Spider out of that chassis! I highly recommend not overlooking them in favour of more expensive machinery. With the left over money, I'm buying a weekend toy. I have no idea what it will be yet, and it could still end up being an older Alfa, but I also have a major hankering for an FD RX7 before the prices go too high and beyond sensible levels. Even after owning Evos, STIs and the Giulia, the best handling car I ever had was my old Prodrive fettled RX8.
We're still Alfa owners because we still have a MiTo TwinAir runaround for the wife and my eldest son, but any thoughts she had of Stelvio ownership are also well and truly gone after dealing with good old Arnold.
BTW, if anyone in Scotland is after a part worn set of Michelin Alpin 4s for a QF, I have them cluttering up the garage. Drop me a line.
Thanks for all the debate, banter and arguments on here. I'll look in, occasionally, but I can't see me owning another Alfa while the only service option locally is the current one. It was Arnold Clark's customer service that made me give up Alfas 22 years ago and they've managed it again.
Current: Giulia Quadrifoglio
Previous:Giulietta QV TCT, Evo X FQ330, WRX STI 330S, RX8 PZ, RX8, Civic Type R, Civic SR VTEC, Civic ESi, Alfa 33 Permanent 4, Civic VTI, Metro 1.3GS