Ads on test: Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Thoroughly refreshed and raring to go, this Alfa from the dark side is set to get you into trouble

Cost New £22,500 Price £15,995


he difference between a good and a shabby one is getting more distinct. Already a rare car, there are few 147 GTAs that have been truly doted on throughout their lives. This one’s even rarer – it’s a sunroof model.

We searched high and low for any blemishes, but couldn’t find any stonechips anywhere, and no common issues. The side panels on the doors are brand new, and all the window rubbers are in excellent condition.

The alloy wheels have been freshly refurbed in a dark matt finish, and look perfect. Each one wears a fresh Michelin Primacy 3 tyre. The brake calipers will also be refurbished before the car leaves the vendor. Inside, the good news continues – it’s truly immaculate. The door-button plastics, so often scratched or damaged, look brand new and unblemished, and the only indication this car’s done any mileage is some creasing on the plush leather seats.

The car also has a short-shift gearstick, one of several wise upgrades fitted. It’s got the all-important Q2 diff (fitted in 2009), a new radiator, fresh rear dampers, new water pump and a Scorpion exhaust.

The car rides on FSD suspension with Eibach anti-roll bars. It’s all part of a thick paperwork file that documents everything that’s gone into it. It will be sold with 12 months’ MoT, so it’ll be on the button for its new owner.

That lucky owner will have one of the most sorted GTAs out there – if you’ve never driven one, it’s one of the most characterful hot hatches you can buy. Thudding torque comes in from as little as 3000rpm, and the engine screams to 7000rpm. It’s probably the most exotic-sounding powerplant to ever sit in a hot hatch.

We didn’t experience any driving faults; the brakes were sharp yet predictable, and the upgrades have been perfectly judged. GTAs are hard-riding machines, but this example keeps the boneshaking to a minimum. The shortshift kit works well, removing the looseness of the standard set-up.

This is one of three similarly-specced cars the vendor has for sale, and each one has similarly excellent levels of fit and finish, with all the paperwork to match. This one wears useable miles, though it could be all set for concours outings. Though we’d rather spend a Sunday letting that engine sing.

Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Year:     2005
Mileage:    69,060
On sale at:    Alfa Aid

Engine:    3179cc, 6-cyl, DOHC
Transmission:    FWD, 6-speed manual
Power:     250bhp@6200rpm
Torque:     221lb-ft@4800rpm
Weight:     1360kg

0-60mph:    6.3sec
Top speed:    153mph
Economy:     21mpg

Choose your Alfa Romeo 147/156 GTA

2001: Alfa Romeo 156 GTA launched at the Frankfurt Motor Show. It uses the largest mainstream displacement of the V6 Busso engine. Interior, doors, bootlid and bonnet shared with the standard 156 – the rest is built bespoke by Fiat Research Centre and Maserati. Gearboxes are six-speed manual or semi-auto Selespeed (few of the latter reached the UK direct from Alfa).

2002: 147 GTA launched using the same engine and gearboxes.

2005: 147/156 GTA production ends, but registrations continue due to a fire on a ship bound for the Far East returning to Europe full of RHD GTAs. Undamaged cars were then sold in the UK.