You may have noticed my sudden affection towards the Alfa Romeo brand. I didnt know used Alfa's were affordable till a few weeks ago.
In 1998 there was a teacher in school who drove an Alfa Romeo Spyder. She was beautiful. (I'm referring to the car!....although the teacher wasnt bad looking herself)
I decided to have a looksee as well as test drive the new AR 159.
Now readers from Singapore may have noticed some of these driving about but thats because the car was lauched there 2 years ago. But north of Temasik, the new Alfa Romeo models have finally arrived thanks to Sime Darby Auto Connexion.
The first thing that you may notice is its proportions. Long sweeping bonnet and low shoulder line creates the illusion that this is a sports car. Well you wont be wrong in thinking so.
This model replaces the highly popular 156 (1999-2006) and immediately drops the hairy chested machismo image of the 156 for a more classy grown up Peirce Brosnan in James Bond look.
The dimensions and pricing of the car look to compete with the Honda Civics, BMW 3 series, Toyota Corolla and Mercedes C class. But should you put the car next to its Japanese and German rivals, the car looks much much smaller.
Peer to the front of the car and you'll notice the front lights have 3 lamps on each side. The Alfa "heart" sits more "upright" now emphasizing the car is now for the more serious of users. The back end of the car retains the solid look of a sporty sedan.
Now onto more interesting bits. The model I tried is the 2.2 JTS Selespeed. The only model available in Malaysia but Sime Darby may decide to bring in the more powerful 3.2 L petrol model if sales go well. It is unlikely they will bring in the 1.9 L diesel as the model requires Euro 4 grade diesel, not available in Malaysia.
Opening the car door activates the selespeed gearbox, you can hear a faint whir and hum, my heart skips a beat but not for the obvious reasons. You see the Selespeed system is notorious for....breaking down. But I certainly the hope changes have been made to improve the overal system.
I sit inside and instantly I know I'm in an Italian car. More later....