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Discussion Starter #1
Two years ago I was looking to change my elderly and thirsty Saab 9-5 Aero automatic and to cut a long story short, ended up with a 2011 diesel G with 13k on the clock. I always said I'd never have a diesel or go back to a manual gearbox, but there we are. Minds are made for changing :). I liked the car, the diesel was very torquey and economical, always in the upper 40s mpg. It was coming up for a cambelt and a major service but prior to that had cost me two tyres in the 17k I covered, but nothing else. The "what on earth made you choose an Alfa?" reputation was truly dead and buried as far as I was concerned!

I never really liked the gearchange though, it was notchy and occasionally baulked, and I had always been interested in the TCT from a technical point of view, and my friendly local dealer Piccadilly Motors in Knaresborough had a MA170 TCT QVLine available so I thought I'd take a test drive to see what it was like. Talk about chalk and cheese :). We did a deal and I got a 2015 car with just 110 miles on the clock, effectively a new car, at a very substantial saving. I would definitely recommend Piccadilly, in all my dealings with them their staff have without exception been efficient and courteous.

I've waited to tell you my thoughts until the new car had more miles on the clock, I didn't want to thrash it from day one even though "running in" periods are more or less a thing of the past. It's now on 1400 and is loosening up nicely.

The TCT is amazingly good :). Silky smooth and reasonably responsive, although it doesn't kick down quite as eagerly as the Saab did. That is not actually a bad thing as when that dropped into 1st gear it was seriously scary if you weren't expecting it, especially to passengers! It does tend to hold lower gears longer than I might do with a manual box, especially in D mode, but I like the way it changes down when you come to a downhill stretch. I'm fundamentally lazy so it changes gear more often than I would, but very rarely do I need to override it with the steering wheel paddles. Typically when pulling away from a junction it will decide to change from 3 to 4 just as I press the throttle but I'm getting wise to that now.

I thought I'd miss the torque of the diesel but the TCT simply changes down a cog or two so you really hardly notice the difference. The petrol is much quieter in lower gears but oddly not as restful at motorway speeds as the gearing is shorter, and there's also a slightly annoying vibration corresponding to around 70mph. I'm hoping this might smooth out as the mileage increases. Obviously it's a much more free-revving unit than the diesel.

There are no rattles! My old car had all the usual ones but this one feels really well screwed together. The uConnect system is a huge improvement on the Blue&Me in all respects except, oddly, the sound quality. I suspect they've put cheaper speakers in. It's the 6.5" version so not the basic one, so I'd have expected better. The interior is generally nicer, the dash looks more upmarket as do the minor controls, and all the things I missed from the Saab (auto dipping rear-view mirror, parking sensors, etc) have returned. I was sorry to see though that the nice piano-black bits of trim around the centre console and door handles have been replaced by a rather cheap looking matt grey plastic.

The ride is slightly firmer as might be expected from the 18" vs 17" wheels, but road noise is improved a little. How much of the difference is due to Dunlops vs the old Pirellis I don't know.

Overall I'm very happy with the change, the 2014 facelift was a surprisingly big improvement. The reduction in tax from £110 to £30 is also welcome :). I hope this car will prove as reliable as the old one as well, but only time will tell!
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