Lots of pros and no cons yet,only 14 months so far though on a '99 v6. Not fantastically economical around town but I didn't expect it to be. Reliability has been great so far, a few times it has gone into limp home mode (3rd/4th gear only,'city' or 'sport' not displayed on startup but switch off and restarted normally). This turned out to be a loose connection under the intake pipe which I found while changing radiator and thermostat.
City mode as you'd expect is fairly sporty and suitable for almost any purpose just like an ordinary large engined automatic with better handling.
Sports mode gives lots of grunt for quick A & B road driving as does just knocking the gear lever across and using it as a clutchless manual.
Ice mode only uses the top three gears to make it easy to drive in icy conditions.
The biggest problem is it is only 4 speed so the gears are fairly widely spaced but otherwise a good car to drive especially if you get it chipped. It is nothing like a Selespeed to drive or for reliability - it is a typical automatic but the software for the automatic control is good and is setup very sporty.
I have a Squadra chip and bigger intake runners which makes a big difference.
like pascs, i too have the squadra remap with GTA runners and its highly recommended.
as for the q-system gearbox, its aisin (japanese-made) and arguably the toughest autobox ever put into an alfa. certainly lightyears better than the ZF slushboxes in the other cars.
ive had mine for 174k kms and in that time i have:
1. popped one solenoid valve - probably from me using the wrong grade ATF (Type-F instead of Dex II/III)
2. blown two gearbox oil seals at 173k kms. dirt cheap to fix. actual gearbox and torque converter remain undamaged.
i also drive like a hooligan, redline the car often and track it 5-6 times a year redlining all day. and im putting 25% more power to it from the 3L conversion with no problems so far. only maintenance i do is synthetic ATF every 20k kms. so yah, it's definitely more reliable than the selespeed.
so the only drawback would be the 4 cogs which detracts a bit from acceleration. with 5 gears, it'd be near perfect.
paul c, there's no breather for the q system. one of the main places for ATF leak is the dipstick oil seal. its prolly dead. also, check ur ATF cooler hoses.
the proper way to check ATF level is with the engine running and gearbox in neutral. Cold level should only be checked when the engine is completely cold, ie after starting the car in the morning.
more important is the Hot level. ATF expands a fair bit and you dont want to overfill. so run the car until the water temp is at least 80 degC, 90 if possible, and then check the Hot level. dont be tempted to overfill, it's bad for the seals.
also, use a good full-synthetic ATF. the standard Tutela DexII overheats quite quickly. i have better results with Motul ATF-1A.