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Discussion Starter #1
Alfa vs BMW: which cars handle better.

My good friend Mario had a Giuletta ('79). I drove that car and was pretty good. He also had a Lancia Delta Integrale, and that car was insane.
I also have bimmers, and I don't know, I would say that bimmers are pretty good cars when it comes to handling (let's forget about looks).

The question is, which cars are more of a driver's car?
 

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It depends on the era, I'd say.

If it was 60's, 70's or earlier I think Alfa had the whip hand. More recently I'd have to be honest and say in , absolute terms, the equivalent BMW would normally handle better than the Alfa counterpart.

But who really wants to own a poverty spec repmobile 318/320 that account for most of their sales?

That doesn't mean all modern Alfas are terrible or inferior - before I get flamed for heresy! ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well, that the "good" thing of living in a country where pretty owning a bimmer or a merc is an experience.

I can't forget the day, I brought my just bought bimmer (323i) to work. People acted awestruck, and there were a few envious souls that wanted to talk to my boss about why was I "allowed" to spend on such an expensive car. (they are expensive here).
So, even your humble 318/320 is not a poverty spec here...

Imagine an Alfa...
 

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read my reply to your post on the x3 and youll get the picture...
beemers arent bad cars per se....but in this country the people that own them....:rolleyes:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
well, could you explain what's wrong with people that owns them in your country?
Are they really that bad, or just perception?

I just like bimmers because of their engineering...
 

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'this may be a cultural difference between the car scenes in nicaragua and blighty...
you see...if you knew the people that i know who drive bmws then you wouldnt want to drive one ...coz you'd be implicated in idiocy by association
everyone knows that they make relatively good, if somewhat clinical cars, but thats not the point of a car....one drives it becuase of a whole host of reasons and driveability(is that a word?) is only one of them.
thats part of the reason you're looking at the only Alfa spider in nicaragua, because if you're the only owner, then its cool, and you're cool by association (btw, it is a nice car from your photos).
people who drivve bmws here are either :
A. blind and know nothing about cars, so just buy a bmw coz they've heard its good
B. are total idiots
C. genuinely like them (poor sods)'
 

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Discussion Starter #7
wow!
A: i do know my bit about cars.
B: don't think i'm an idiot
C: guilty.

and I didn't buy them because I heard they were good. They are good.
Hey, I dont' want to be casted as a heretic... I like Alfas, yes,
but I can't betray my bimmers ok?

So, which is the Ultimate Driving Machine?
 
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wow!
A: i do know my bit about cars.
B: don't think i'm an idiot
C: guilty.

and I didn't buy them because I heard they were good. They are good.
Hey, I dont' want to be casted as a heretic... I like Alfas, yes,
but I can't betray my bimmers ok?

So, which is the Ultimate Driving Machine?
certainly not a bmw thats for sure.
still cannot get my head around the fact that bmw is seen as a status car. cause they are sooo bloody ugly...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
--> Hey in Mexico American cars rule. go figure!
Here in Central America, owning a Toyota, specially Land Cruisers, Prados and all that Junk, it's a status symbol.

It's a matter of the markets.
And Bimmers are Sooooo expensive here, that of course they are status symbols.
You won't find any Taxi Merc here.

---> what's ugly about a bimmer anyway?
 

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To answer the original question is quite difficult, you'd have to test comparable cars competing for the same customer.

Mondrage, for the record I have a 3.2 V6 Alfa 147 GTA but I also have a 2008 3 Series M-Sport Coupe.

Both cars are very different beasts and the handling dynamics are very different, in stock form the GTA was wallowy and fidgeted in fast corners so I could never get it on it's toes. The addition of an aluminium front upper strut brace has cured this to a certain degree although I'd say from experience and from talking to a few people in the trade Alfa tend to spend as little as possible on suspension components.

We've had the beemer for a few months now and I haven't had an lot of opportunity to really get to grips with its handling, although intially I found it to be as twitchy as the GTA and on fast sweeping corner the BMW wouldn't settle leaving me no choice but to take bites at each corner, not sure whether the electrically assisted power steering has anything to do with this, I'm sure it does.

I've spent the last week driving the BMW and have finally found the secret of fast cornering in the thing, pile the speed on and throw it in, haven;t looked at the tech specs but I swear there's an active element to the suspension because once you throw it into the corner it feels like the whole suspension stiffens up, almost like what I;d expect Koni's FSD system to feel like.

Consequently on a road I know over the Pennines like the back of my hand and I use for road testing I can now corner upto 10 mph quicker in the BMW than the Alfa, before finding the sweet spot on the suspension setup I'd say the BMW was slower than the Alfa over the same roads.

I suppose it all depends on how big your balls are, how far your willing to push it and how much you trust the 'engineering'.

If it all goes wrong, well it's an expensive mistake to make ;)
 

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By means of a direct comparison to a 320D M Sport my 159 is much better in the handling & ride departmenti the BMW had sharper but since they've sorted my geometry there's not a lot in that:cool:
 

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"I'd say from experience and from talking to a few people in the trade Alfa tend to spend as little as possible on suspension components."

:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
 

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I think people generally swallow what they read in magazines. In the U.K. all the magazines say the Focus is the best handling hatch and everbody goes along with that. If you tell a Brit the 147 out-handles a Focus they'll generally disagree.

In Italy the press say the 147 is the best handling hatch and everybody goes along with that. I saw the Focus come near last in a big handling test in Quattroruote, the main Italian monthly. They said it's lift off oversteer(what U.K journalists love) was dangerous in a family hatch. Hard to disagree. If you said to an Italian that the Focus handles better than a 147 they'd laugh.

In German magazines German cars always come first. If there's an Italian car in the test(even a Ferrari) it always comes last.

Probably the most unbiased view you'll get is a Europe-wide test like the Master-Test. Handling-wise the 159 beat all its rivals by quite a margin, coming first in every dynamic test. Those results came from over 50 motoring journalists from all over Europe and professional drivers using in-depth/measured/timed testing on road and track. Hard to argue with.

YouTube - Master Test Berlinas
 

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Which 159 was that? My German is less than perfect but I believe it didn't say. The other cars were 2.0 diesels or there abouts. A Q4 3.2 V6 would hardly be a fair comparison.
 

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"I'd say from experience and from talking to a few people in the trade Alfa tend to spend as little as possible on suspension components."

:confused: :confused: :confused: :confused:
How can you be confused?

If the handling was so good why do so many people uprate it? The GTA suspension was rubbish (until I upgraded it), my old 147's suspension was also rubbish (until I upgraded it), I've driven a couple of 156s and they've been fairly rubbish, the Brera I drove was awful, about the only car from Alfa I have driven hard that didn't feel crap (in standard form) was the GT, which felt nice, very sorted.

The only 159 I have experience of was being driven by Hunter and it felt a little hairy at speed.

I suppose having your suspension bushes wear out at 50K is also good quality gear? My dads R reg Rover 400 is still on it's original suspension and has never had anything replaced and still feels rock solid and he's had it from new.

If a company that went out of business for making crap cars can do it why can't Alfa?

:lol:
 

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I'd never buy a second hand car with 'uprated' suspension. In many cases it will have been done wrong and driven by a boy racer.
 

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I'd never buy a second hand car with 'uprated' suspension. In many cases it will have been done wrong and driven by a boy racer.
So you plan to be in the market for a Vauxhall Corsa soon then? :lol:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
When I first tested the Spider, I felt a bit odd in it.
Maybe is the fwd that was confusing me...
All my cars are rwd...
I was riding it hard, and I was impressed of the power, I was going quick and turned back on a roundel (a circle that you can do a return)... and it felt a bit weird.
Then on a straight I pushed it hard, but it didn't inspired me confidence... maybe I'm used to the power coming from the back and not pulling the car.

This car is new, so suspensions is fine... go figure.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I'm updating my suspension by the way (on the 323i), I put new control arms, drilled and slotted rotors, bushings, shocks, but I forgot to replace the springs...
So, I'm putting new lowering+stiffer springs (Eibach).
I went for big rims (18" M3s), and that added some weight, so I was having more body roll.
So, I placed a stress bar. Big difference.
I'm sure the handling will be greatly improved.
 
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