Since the 166 arrived at Fleet Towers, it has left a good impression with just about everyone who has driven it, thanks to its sublime styling and sharp handling.
Alfas have occasionally had a reputation for being more trouble than they are worth and sometimes this has been deserved. We have been contacted over the past few months by fleets that run Alfa Romeos and have suffered problems with the cars and dealers.
However, all we can say is that apart from needing topping up with oil a couple of times, we had no problems in 12,000 miles. We took it to a dealer to correct a headlight alignment problem cause by a shunt before it was delivered to us – the damage was repaired before we received the car but the headlamp problem was spotted later – and it was fixed within 20 minutes. Another staff member has run an Alfa 147 as a company car using the 2.0-litre engine for 20,000 miles, and says that as long as you regularly check the oil level and use the oil recommended by the manufacturer, there should be no problems.
We have to correct a previous report which commented on the lack of an internal boot release. After it appeared, the vigilant people at Alfa Romeo called to tell us it was located in the glove compartment. However, it was something that had baffled everyone who had driven it up to that point.
The 166 is one of the rarer combatants in the executive car sector – there has been no diesel in the UK although Alfa plans to rectify that next year – and historically people have never really gone for big Italian saloons. Despite its rarity, its residual value is fairly low at 24% over three-years/60,000- miles, according to industry analyst CAP.
However, CAP also says that with a desirable colour (perhaps our Nuvola blue car) and with Momo leather trim fitted the RV goes up to 27%. So fleet decision-makers would do well to ensure the right options are fitted to their cars to improve their chances at de-fleeting time.
Company car tax bill 2002 (40% taxpayer): £211 per month