Alfa Romeo 147
Alfa Romeo 147 2004 facelift
Alfa 147 04 facelift model
Alfa 147 Car of the Year
The new Alfa Romeo 147 was released in 2000 at the Turin Motor Show and it immediately won the European Car of the Year award, beating cars like the Audi A2 and the Mercedes C class with 51 of the 56 judges placing it top of their list.
Based on a 156 chassis the 147 replaces both the Alfa 145 and 146 and initially came with a choice of 1.6 and 2.0 litre petrol engines and a 1.9 litre JTD common rail diesel engine. In the UK the transmission could be either 5 speed manual or the selespeed automatic gear box. For the first time all the models got an integrated computer network round the car, this links the ABS (anti lock brakes), EBD (electronic brake distribution), ASR (anti wheel spin), VDC (vehicle dynamic control), Climate control, body computer and dashboard amongst other things and interestingly a fault on the CAN line is indicated by making the odometer flash.
Suspension is double wishbones at the front with a high upper wishbone, the rear suspension comprises unequal length radius arms and this gives the car a degree of passive rear wheel steering. The body shares the same tensional rigidity as the Alfa 156, and all this adds up to a decidedly sporty ride. Styling is by Alfa Romeo's in house studio, the Centro Stile and it combines cues from the 156 and also maybe little touches from the 2500 Villa d’Este of 1949 and the deep channel down the side has to be from a 105 series spider.
In 2001 Alfa Romeo brought out the five door 147 version which shares exactly the same lines as the 3 door car and has the neat styling touch carried over from the Alfa Romeo 156 of hidden door handles in the C pillars.
In 2002 they released the mighty 3.2 litre V6 GTA. This 250 bhp front wheel drive animal really put some performance into the range; it is one of the fastest of the hot hatches available with a top speed in excess of 150 mph, and it is really not advisable to turn the ASR off as the engine's torque will just rip the front tyres to pieces
In 2004 the entire range was revamped, getting a new exterior reminiscent of the 159 and brera, at the same time Alfa Romeo also up rated the diesel engines. the diesel JTD was supplemented by the Mjet, lifting the power of the diesel to 150 bhp with 305 lb ft of torque.
I don't often get chance to extensively road test vehicles but I have managed to get my hands on a 147 GTA and I am in heaven, what a car, My GTV has now done 150,000 miles and I could not get my delivery's in it so I have taken the plunge an purchased a GTA. The first thing I like is the absolutely creamy power delivery at low revs and I have been trickling it around town with absolutely no fuss, there is instant response to the throttle and the ride although firm is more compliant than I remember from previous outings in them. Plant the throttle and nothing much will stay with you and as the engine hits 5000 rpm and from there to 7000 the thing goes mad, it is absolutely BRILLIANT. The only slight downside is the response of other people, I just don't understand the need to make rude gestures to other motorists just because they want to go faster than you, what is all that about? don't people know that its an Alfa and you just have to drive it fast occasionally, it is not personal. Anyway I am also quite surprised how well it handles when pushed to the limit there is not the massive understeer that you might expect, it does understeer but not like a GTV 3.0l it is altogether more controlled with just a hint of oversteer if you back off the throttle, so all in all you need to try one they are an Alfa worthy of the name. Now where is that Q2 differential............
Related Links: Alfa Romeo 147 Buyer's Guide |