Alfa Romeo GTV Coupe 1996-2003

Alfa Romeo GTV Coupe 1996-2003

Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016

Pros:

  • It is stylish and offers great performance
  • It comes with wonderful engines

Cons:

  • It’s not very reliable
  • The rear seats are only usable for storing luggage or small children

Overview

The GTV is a stunning looking coupe that still looks good despite it now being quite an old car – it was launched in 1996. It is just as good inside with plenty of Italian flair although it is slightly cramped and it only seats two despite having a rear seats, which in all honesty, are better suited to storing luggage you can’t fit in the boot than for people. The engines available offer excellent performance and even the entry level engines offer frugal economical figures too.

Exterior and Interior

The GTV is a stylish looking car both inside and out. The interior maintains Alfa’s Italian flair, it’s just a pity that the space inside is so tight. It may have four seats inside, but it is really a two seater car. The boot isn’t very big either so you’ll end up putting most of your luggage on the back seat anyway. It underwent a facelift in 2003 that helped to improve both the exterior looks as well as the quality of the interior and the amount of equipment you received as standard. There are three trim levels to choose from, the Turismo, the Lusso and the Cup. The Turismo gives you most of the kit you’re likely to want such as a CD stereo, electric mirrors and windows, climate control and alloys with the Lusso adding leather trim and the Cup coming with sports seats.

Performance and Economy

The entry level 2.0-litre engines are the ones to go for as they both offer the same fuel efficiency of 30mpg and aren’t too slow either, both take around 8 seconds to get to 60mph from a standing start. They also don’t reveal the cars limitations which the larger engines do and they are easier to come by on the used market. The 3.0-litre V6 is just under two seconds quicker than the 2.0-litre units at 6.5 seconds to 60mph, but the fuel efficiency drops down to 24mpg. The 3.2-litre V6 that was replaced in 2003 is even less economical managing just 21mpg and is only fractionally faster going from a standing start to 60mph in 6.1 seconds. This is where the limitation of the GTV shows though as the chassis struggles to handle this much power. None of the engines will be cheap to insure though with the two 2.0-litre engines falling into group 16 and the 3.0-litre and 3.2-litre units into group 19.

Like to Drive

The GTV is enticing to drive as the engines provide a lovely rasping noise under hard acceleration. The steering is perfectly weighted and it corners excellently with plenty of grip, apart from under hard acceleration when the front tyres do lose some traction due to wheel spin. The ride is slightly on the firm side though making driving on rougher surfaces more unpleasant.

Faults and Repairs

Only go for a model that has a full service history and preferably a newer model as the older the car the more likely that it will be prone to rust, which will prove very costly to fix. Other issues to watch for are that the 2.0-litre engines have had regular oil changes, if they haven’t, the engines are likely to fail. The alloy wheels become porous over the years and so leak air so be sure to check those as well as the last time the cambelt was changed. Despite what the service book says about you only needing to replace it every 72,000 miles or six years, you actually need to do it every 36,000 miles or three years. The rear bushes are also prone to wear so when you hear clonking make sure to check it out as if they aren’t replaced it could lead to much worse damage. Servicing costs will prove expensive, but repairs shouldn’t cost any more than you would expect for this type of car and by using a good independent specialist you should be able to save a fair amount.