Alfa Romeo 156 GTA

Alfa's 156GTA is a flawed genius, but get a good one and you won't be disappointed

If a true test of petrolhead status is Alfa ownership, then surely there’s no better way of proving yourself than in a 156 GTA. It strongly represents the full set of brand values – its shape is gorgeous, its V6 sonorous, and its dynamics are fun but lack polish.

As you’d expect with a used Italian performance car, buying a GTA can be a bit of a gamble, but if you fancy good odds a car like this particular example is what you’re after. Registered in 2003, it’s covered just over 17,000 history-backed miles thanks to three years in storage after repossession in 2006. Fear not, though, as Auto Lusso will thoroughly service it (including new belts, gaskets, etc) as part of the deal.

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Even before they’ve given it their attention it’s a sweet thing to drive. The 3.2-litre V6 feels as close to new as the miles suggest, so the GTA picks up speed with laughable ease. It sounds utterly fantastic, too. Putting 247bhp through the front wheels predictably stirs up some trouble, especially with there being no modern-day RevoKnuckle-type solution present. However, that comprehensive service includes the option of fitting Alfa’s Q2 limited-slip differential, and trying another car with it fitted shows measurably improved traction.

Visually, this GTA is in good shape, with slightly faded paint on some panels the only bugbear. Inside, things are in near showroom condition.

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It’s a flawed genius, the 156 GTA, a car you’d very much buy with your heart. But this example’s nearly new condition, plus a price tag a third of what it would have cost the original owner, means your head can probably nod along in approval too.   

With thanks to Vendor: Auto Lusso, Edlesborough, Beds (0870 6090147, www.autolusso.co.uk)

Extra Info

• ExteriorFantastic bar a few scrapes on the alloys and slightly patchy paintwork• ExteriorClean leather; dials and switchgear as new. Much more characterful than its rivals• MechanicalsAs good as they get, with Alfa’s Q2 diff and new belts included in the price• Should I buy it?It’s a real enthusiast’s choice, but Auto Lusso’s TLC makes this one a pretty good bet• FOR: A beautiful, fast and individual sports saloon with a very low mileage• AGAINST: It’s never been the last word in quality or dynamics

Specifications

Price£9250
Year2003
Mileage17,162
Engine  V6, 3179cc
Max power247bhp @ 6200rpm
Max torque221lb ft @ 4800rpm
0-60mph  6.3sec
Top speed155mph
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