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Alfa Romeo 147 2005 review

EXPERT RATING
7
Three or five-door, the compact Italian has a style all its own and always an encouraging nature.

Three or five-door, the compact Italian has a style all its own and always an encouraging nature.

For this second generation of a car, with echoes of the old Alfa Sud but maybe not the heartaches, there is a sharper nose and a meaner set of slanted headlights, a bit like the bigger Alfa 156. And the grille is bigger.

It takes away, perhaps, the pertness of the original. There are changes too to the rear lights but the profile remains as pretty as a picture and that's now enhanced by 17-inch alloy wheels.

The Alfa carries that sports theme right through the cabin — sports-style seats, sporting instruments with cowling like the old days. There have been some subtle changes here with new materials and a rework of the boot for 15 per cent more space.

Inside there's dual zone air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, a trip computer and six airbags.

The radio-CD stereo controls are close to useless; grow a long thumbnail to operate the volume controls for starters, for these audio controls are about the size of a half-burnt matchstick.

And this pretty little car goes as well as it looks. It is helped this season by fresh pricing which sees the three-door manual start at $35,990, a reasonable ask for an Italian machine with some verve.

The Alfa Romeo 147 runs the 2-litre, 110kW Twin Spark engine, a willing accomplice in keeping the Alfa up (and past) the traffic.

This sounds good and works hard, spinning in maximum torque at 3800rpm and maximum power at 6300rpm.

OK, so it appreciates a little throttle to get the show under way and who's arguing with that?

The factory reckons this thing is good enough for 208km/h and a 0 to 100km/h time of 9.3 seconds.

It moves off the line with reasonable pace but the Alfa 147 is best appreciated once the hatch is rolling and the revs closing on the redline.

It is quick and smart with little front-wheel scrabble, helped by clever electronics from tip to toe.

The Alfa is packed with EAC — electronic control acronyms. There is ABS for Anti-lock Brake System and EBD for Electronic Brakeforce Distributor. There is VDC for Vehicle Dynamic Control, ASR for Anti Slip Regulation and MSR for Motor Speed Regulator.

So the Alfa Romeo 147 is a well-behaved front-wheel drive machine with just a touch of understeer and a tonne of grip, a well-sorted machine for throwing about with some impunity.

It can be chucked into mountain turns with confidence and a deal of grip.

It will hold the line under throttle and jump out the other side ready to attack the next turn. The five-speed gearbox on this one worked better under pressure of a fast shift; toddling around the town, manoeuvering around shopping centres the transmission could be a little baulky.

Longer travel shock absorbers, with revised rebound rates, allows for a better ride on this second-generation 147.

The first version's ride could be caught out on a back country Australian road, this one is firm but has more compliance on sharper edges.

So at this price the Alfa Romeo 147 offers a deal of style and substance.

It has a little more life, more verve than some of its counterparts while remaining a comfortable day-to-day proposition.

Pricing guides

$4,995
Based on 2 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$4,990
Highest Price
$6,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.0 Twin Spark 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,990 – 6,990 2005 Alfa Romeo 147 2005 2.0 Twin Spark Pricing and Specs
GTA 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $4,500 – 7,260 2005 Alfa Romeo 147 2005 GTA Pricing and Specs
GTA Monza 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $4,500 – 7,260 2005 Alfa Romeo 147 2005 GTA Monza Pricing and Specs
GTA Monza Selespeed 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP $5,000 – 7,700 2005 Alfa Romeo 147 2005 GTA Monza Selespeed Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7