2006 AlfaRomeo 147 1.9 JTD-MJET PROGRESSION Full Review,Start Up, Engine, and In Depth Tour
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Filmed by: Tomaž Kožar Jesenice
The Alfa Romeo 147 has been on sale in the UK for seven years and over that
period has helped the Italian company redefine its public image.
Before the 147 an Alfa Romeo was considered by many to be a risky and
slightly eccentric purchase, particularly on the used-car market once the
vehicle's warranty had expired. The cars may have looked good but they were
notoriously unreliable and not very durable.
But in the space of a single model's lifetime the Alfa Romeo family has
undergone a transformation; the marque now offers not only beautiful, but
also well engineered saloons, coupés, convertibles and hatchbacks that are
as good as any of their mainstream competitors.
Voted European Car of the Year in 2001, the 147 underwent some significant
revision in its 2005 update. The task of making an already pretty car even
more attractive is never easy to pull off, but the Alfa Romeo designers
managed to do just that.At the front are triple-cluster lights and a new
style of bumper, while around the back there's an attractive chrome strip
along the lip of the reprofiled tailgate. A new bumper and larger boot-lid
badge complete the exterior changes.
Slip inside the cabin and you'll no doubt find that the latest 147 is
equally impressive. The fit and finish of the dashboard and switchgear were
improved as part of the 2005 revisions, such that now the 147's interior
even feels as if it's a grade above that of most European competitors, and
certainly significantly ahead of many Far Eastern competitors.The 147 is
nothing if not a drivers' car. On the road its taut chassis inspires
confidence, while the standard-fit Vehicle Dynamic Control system -- Alfa's
home-grown answer to ESP (electronic stability program) -- keeps you going
in the direction you'd always intended.
Some models of the facelifted Alfa provide the option of a Comfort pack,
which produces a softer ride thanks to revised suspension-damper settings.
The standard manual gearbox is a delight to use, but the optional
automatic, which was only available on the 2 litre petrol version, failed
to sell in large numbers and so was phased out towards the end of 2005.
The revamped 147 also featured a lineup of more powerful diesel engines.
The 115bhp 1.9 litre unit was upgraded to 120bhp and joined by a potent
All that power and a useful 225 lb ft of torque at just 2000rpm ensure that
the diesel pulls strongly. The 0-60mph sprint takes just 8.8sec, quick
enough to scare many petrol-powered hot hatches, but it's the car's
refinement when it's cruising in sixth gear that really makes this model
the Alfa 147 to buy.Power from the petrol-engine models remained unchanged,
but it is worth noting that the 1.6 litre unit in the 147 Twin Spark
produces just 105bhp, while the 1.6 of the Tourismo and Lusso produce
Equipment levels are pretty generous, with all cars featuring climate
control, an alarm system and six airbags. All but entry-level TS models
also have alloy wheels.
The optional leather upholstery proved popular among buyers thanks to a
reasonable price of less than £1,000, so it's worth looking around to find
a used example fitted with it, as it adds greatly to the feel and
desirability of the car.
The optional -- and rather expensive -- factory-ordered sat nav system is
rarely found on used cars, so owners tend to have to make do with a
portable unit instead.In 2009 the 147 is destined to be succeeded by the
new 149. But what owners of a used 147 will already know is that theirs is
the car that saw the transformation of Alfa Romeo from a maker of desirable
but unreliable cars that were all too often a liability, into a producer of
truly world-class ones.
Servicing Due every 12 months or 12,000 miles. Check for dealer stamps and
copies of original repair invoices
Upholstery Leather seats a desirable option on all models
Alloy wheels An Alfa on steel wheels just looks wrong; fortunately all but
the base model gets alloys as standard
Colours The 147 is one of the few modern cars that looks great in bright
red and other solid finishes
Audio Standard system works well, while optional Bose system is superb
Onboard computer Operated from the stalk, it provides information about
average speed, fuel economy and tank range
Bonnet Prone to stone chips; check for damage to lower lip of front bumper
and cracked foglamp lenses
Safety Six airbags as standard but the 147 only achieved three stars in the
Euro NCAP test for adult occupant safety
Tyres Check inside edge of front tyres for wear, a sign the steering is
Boot Boot is smaller than in some rivals
Puddle lights Underdoor illumination and headlamp delay system are useful
when parking at night
BMW M3 vs. Alfa Romeo 4C
CAR's technical editor Nicol Louw and journalist Wilhelm Lutjeharms
compares the new F80 BMW M3 with Alfa Romeo's 4C. Although they are two
totally different cars, they both cost around the R1 million mark. How do
they perform back-to-back? Watch the video above to find out.