With starring roles in hit movies, television series and music videos, Alfa Romeos are stylish and irresistible. Rob Griffin picks his top five.
Why are Alfa Romeos so appealing?
Could it be the feeling you're buying a Ferrari on the cheap? Is it the fact that they look out-of-reach but can be picked up for a few thousand pounds? Maybe it's that romantic Italian magnetism.
Whatever it is that gets the motoring taste buds going, it's fair to say that Alfa Romeos have an irresistible charm.
It's a useful attribute to counterbalance problems that have dogged the marque for years – namely build quality and reliability.
For more than 100 years this intriguing manufacturer has built a reputation for producing stylish sporty machines that have captured the imagination. Here are the top five.
Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione
Just look at that picture above - mouthwatering. The remarkable looking 8C Competizione set the motoring world alight when it was unveiled in concept form at the 2003 Frankfurt Motor Show and released in production guise four years later. A limited run of just 500 two-door coupés were made – only around 40 of which made their way to the UK. The good news is that they do still come up for sale but the bad is that one will only be yours if you can part with at least £150,000.
Alfa Romeo Spider
When you hear the word Alpha this is the car that will spring to mind. It is simply stunning. First appearing in the late 1960s, this lovely iconic roadster was made for the best part of three decades and is still beautiful enough to turn heads today. The good news is there are still a decent number of Spiders available. However, finding a decent one can be something of a challenge so expect to pay in the region of £20,000 for a good older example.
Alfa Romeo Alfasud
Back to the 1970s for the next one on the list and the immensely fun Alfasud. While rust has been a long-term issue for owners of this model, they will have enjoyed the little car's great handling characteristics for which it won rave reviews. Unsurprisingly the Alfasud, which was named Car of the 1970s by Top Gear, is now pretty rare and any that come up for sale are usually snapped up pretty quickly. Expect to pay in excess of £6,000 for a decent version from the 1980s.
Alfa Romeo 4C
Right up to date with the awesome 4C. This is a truly beautiful creation and marks Alfa's return to the lightweight sports coupé world. It's light, well engineered and fast - it will take you from 0-62mph in a rapid 4.5 seconds. Understandably heralded as a worthy descendant of the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, you could quite happily stare at this mid-engined machine all day – as long as you have the necessary £45,000 to get one on the road and patience for the waiting list.
Alfa Romeo 159
An Alfa for the masses, the 159 was a compact executive car that arrived in 2005 as a replacement for the 156. It looked the part – effortlessly stylish with some neat design touches – and was chosen for a chase scene in the James Bond film Quantum of Solace. Spacious, comfortable and pretty well built, the 159 did, however, struggle with some reported reliability issues. If you can look past that and want something that stands out from the crowd there are plenty of decent secondhand models available for less than £5,000.