Alfa Romeo 147 (2001 – 2010) Review

Alfa Romeo 147 (2001 – 2010) At A Glance


+Stunning looks and well equipped. Lively Twin-Spark petrol and strong JTD diesel engines.

-Mechanical, electrical and build quality problems are all too common. Poor crash test rating.

Launched as a replacement for the 145, the Alfa 147 was a stylish small car that perfectly summed up where Alfa wanted to be at the start of the 21st Century. Not only did it look great, it was fun to drive, well-built and proved a decent platform for the high-performance versions that followed later.

Designed by Walter de’Silva, the 147 was unveiled at the 2000 Turin motor show. Power came from 1.6- or 2.0-litre versions of the Twin Spark petrol engine with 105-150PS on tap, as well as 8v and 16v versions of the new diesel JTD (99-168PS) – a crucial part of the line-up if the car was to win over fleet drivers.

Sure, the 147 wasn’t perfect. Compared to rivals, it had light power steering which left keen drivers cold but made sense for city driving. Interiors were much improved, but let down by stupid flaws like not being able to eject a CD if you had a drink in the cupholder.

Two years after the car was launched, the GTA arrived. Because obviously every small car needs a 3.2-litre 250PS V6 under the bonnet. To be fair, it was a time when the world was going wild for the Focus RS (despite the narcoleptic steering). We loved the GTA, but that was mainly because it handled like a Metro Turbo… which is to say not very well.

As the years have passed, the Alfa 147 has aged well (the interior and build quality less so) but currently sits firmly in banger territory - Q2 and GTA excluded.