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Alfa Romeo 147 2005 Review

The 147 three-door Twin Spark manual, the model tested, is actually $2510 cheaper than the previous model.

But, with the new baby 147 hatch, there's a new element: price. Alfa has slashed the price of the car, compared to the previous model.

The 147 three-door Twin Spark manual, the model tested, is actually $2510 cheaper than the previous model, coming in at a more competitive $35,990. Similar savings are found across the rest of the range, which is topped by the five-door Selespeed (Alfa-speak for automatic gearbox) at $40,490.

Styling revisions for the new model give it a more aggressive look than before. It sits on 17-inch alloy wheels which give it more road presence. And it has scored revised headlights, bumper, spoiler and fog lights.

There is no doubting, with the distinct V-grille, the front of the car is its highlight.

The number plate has to sit to the left of the grille but, unlike some other cars where such a positioning looks silly, the plate is not obtrusive. Alfa points to revisions in the rear, to the lights, hatch trim and back bumpers, also adding to its aggressive new look, but that is a matter of opinion.

There is no doubting the styling, but the car just seems to end without making any grand design statement. However, opening the rear hatch does reveal one important revision, and that is a now sizeable boot space, up 15 per cent from the previous model.

Up front the inner revisions include a new instrument display. The impression of driving a European car is enhanced by the use of the Italian language terms benzina (fuel) and acqua (water) on the guages.

The red lighting on the dash further adds to the overall Euro feel.

However, there is still work to be done on the substance front for the driver.

Once you manouevre the driver's seat into the perfect position to suit, you are fine. Until then, the seating is uncomfortable, particularly with an extension at the front of both the driver and passenger seats that just feels like it is in the way.

The driving pedal area is rather cramped. There isn't a lot of room between the pedals and you sometimes touch two at once, particularly if you are wearing boots or wide shoes.

One other area of concern is that the centre console cover is simply in the way when you change gears or apply the handbrake. It has to be tilted out of the way to stand between the seats. Safety features are strong in the car, with six airbags, including curtain bags.

The ride of the car is fine, thanks to improvements to the suspension.

This is a car designed for handling smooth European roads at speed but Australia (and, in fact, Sydney) has roads that are rougher.

Alfa says more suspension travel has been dialled into the cars sold in Australia. There is also a variety of computer controlled electronic chassis controls.

Power comes from a four-cylinder engine. The two-litre Twin Spark pumps out a tidy 110kW with 181Nm of torque. That's good for 0-100km/h in 9.3 seconds and a top speed of 208km/h. The five-speed manual gearbox is light and smooth to operate.

Fuel economy is 12.1-litres/100km around town, which improves to a claimed 7-litres/100km on the highway, from the 60-litre tank.

Overall, the red-hot little Italian has the looks and the handling to be competitive in what is a tough market segment.

It's where stylish Europeans are battling lower priced Japanese and Korean ingenuity.

In this case, style wins.

Pricing guides

Based on 2 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
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Range and Specs

2.0 Twin Spark 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $2,600 – 4,510 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