Alfa Romeo

Alfa Romeo 166 (1999-2005)

If you’re after an executive car but you also want to be an individual, nothing will mark you out like a 166 on your drive. More charismatic than any of its rivals, the Alfa is also good to drive and well-specced. But sometimes that equipment stops working and rigid adherence to the service schedule is essential if the car isn’t to fall apart altogether. So while the 166 is great value for money, you must tread very carefully before buying.

Key Dates

1/99: 166 replaces 164

4/00: There’s now a Lusso trim available

4/04: Car gets a facelift with new nose and tail plus more equipment; at the same time, the 3.2 V6 replaces the 3.0 edition

Alfa Romeo 166 (1999-2005) Checklist

  • Suspension bushes deteriorate, to the point where the tyres start to wear unevenly; check for odd tread wear patterns
  • The rear suspension may also be out, due to poor quality control on the production line. Look for evidence of them scrubbing
  • Xenon lights fail, and replacements are big money
  • The brightwork can pit badly so check it's all in good condition
  • The four-cylinder twin spark engines need a fresh cam belt and tensioners every 36,000 miles or three years; it's often left much longer
  • The 2.0 litre Twin Spark engine's oil pump fails, leading to the bottom end disintegrating; listen for knocking on start up
  • If you're buying a manual, make sure the clutch pedal is okay; they often develop significant play

We Like

  • Value
  • Driving experience
  • Design - inside and out
  • Equipment

We Don't Like

  • Patchy reliability
  • Fidgety Ride
  • Thirsty VS