Edit : Sadly, I’ve sold this car as I’m leaving Kuwait. Happily, it now belongs to a friend of mine, who’ll be enjoy it’s awesome.
I had always had a thing for Alfa Romeos. I remember when the then-new Alfa 156 was a wallpaper on my then-new computer in the late 90s. Of course, the classic ones are gorgeous and gorgeous, but I always wished we could get the newer also-beautiful cars in the US. But it has been just too many times that we have been disappointed in the US about Alfa’s return. It almost happened so many times that I really just have lost interest and will only pick up interest again about anything Fiat or Alfa if there are actually cars in the States. And no, the 200,000+ dollar 2C does not count. I mean, it is quite possibly the most beautiful car to come out in a good 20 years, but it’s just not a “return to America” kind of event. It’s more like “well, if you have enough money you probably could have figured out a way to get it to the States anyway!” car. To make certain that I might be interested in case the company did make a return, though, we rented a 159 JTD when we went to France for a vacation. My GOD what a great car! Everything was right about it– the seats, the acceleration, the handling, the torque from the quiet diesel. It was such a great car, we decided we would buy one for sure if they ever brought it to the States. Alas, it doesn’t look like that will happen. This design, anyway, will not be making it over it seems. Pity, that, given how beautiful the car is. Luckily for me, though, I found myself in Kuwait a few years later, and here there is a small smattering of Alfas available! So after almost a full year of looking for the right one–because it seems Alfa had only a half-hearted attempt here– I finally found something we fell in love with. Virginia was instantly in love, and I knew I liked it so much I was trying really hard to be rational and calculating etc. So we decided we’d give it a go, and bring her home. So here she is: our very own Alfa Romeo 147 It’s a dark dark grey metallic that almost looks black–called Graphite Grey. The car has the Selespeed transmission, developed by Magnetti Marelli, which is a “robotic manual” similar what Ferrari calls F1 that debuted in their F355 cars. It has one clutch, and the transmission is the same as the manual cars, but the clutch is automatic by hydraulics, instead of being operated manually by the driver. It also lets you put it in a fully automatic mode called “city mode,” but I like that it defaults to manual operation. The thing is great to drive– shift times are not quite as quick as VW’s DSG because it still has only one clutch, but that also means it feels more like a “standard” manual to drive. This is also similar in style to BMW’s SMG cars, but I haven’t driven one of those (or a Ferrari F1) so I can’t comment on them! The handling is quick and a lot of fun, and the 2.0 16v TwinSpark engine–with two spark plugs per cylinder– sounds so delicious in just stock mode that I’m thinking about an exhaust system just so I can hear it better! The other day I spent an entire day driving around all over Kuwait for various things that I didn’t want to do, and the whole time I was enjoying myself just because of this car! Jeremy Clarkson was saying one day that “every petrolhead needs to own an Alfa Romeo…”– and I see what he was on about. It’s really just that good.
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