Owner drive: 1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 in the UAE

Owner drive: 1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 in the UAE

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6
When I was looking out for a manual transmission car, Alfa Romeo was never on my list. Though I knew very little about the brand, I always admired late-model Alfas like the 159 and the Brera. When I went to check out this red car, it was the very first Alfa 155 I was about to see. It was like ‘love at first sight’. A car that looks, sounds and drives like a race car. And for a used price tag of Dhs 10,000, I couldn’t resist the deal. Was the car reliable? Is it hard to find parts? Neither of those questions bothered me at that moment.

The car is serving me reliably without any hiccups. Even in the hottest noon weather, the car drove perfectly normal. And so far, it has not burned a hole in my pocket, though I had to change some parts, which of course, is what you expect of a 20-year-old car.

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 6

Even though it’s two decades old, it has creature comforts like climate control a/c which works pretty well even during the hottest summer, unless stuck in traffic for long. Seats are pretty supportive, though it doesn’t hold your body well in a fast corner. Sold as a 5-seater, it can comfortably accommodate 4 people and can add one more person with compromise. The interior all around has quality hard plastics with barely any soft touches, which was typical of Italian cars back then.

At the heart of the 155 lies a potent 163 hp 2.5-litre V6. Alfa enthusiasts — the so-called ‘Alfistis’ — love this engine for its sound and also for being reliable. Taking a peek at the engine with exposed intakes pipes is never boring for an Alfisti. The Italian company was so proud and obsessed with details that it went ahead and chromed the intake pipes. With the words ‘Alfa Romeo’ inscribed in italics along with the chrome detailing, this engine is by far the best-looking V6 engine in a mass-production vehicle. Power delivery and induction noise is great after 4,000 rpm. This engine has been returning me with an average fuel economy of 12.2 litres/100 km in the city, without driving like a maniac.

So far the only major repair I had to do was a water-pump replacement. Then I had to replace a power-steering hose, a couple of fuel injector o-rings and the brake pads. Apart from that, my car goes in for regular oil change at a reputed service station.

Can I call my Alfa reliable? It’s Italian after all. From day one, there is one oil-level warning light staying on which went off on the first oil change and came back two days later. But what is an Alfa Romeo without at least one warning light staying on? They are like humans, never perfect, falling sick sometimes, but whenever they are in good health, they become a mini-Maserati.

1996 Alfa Romeo 155 V6 4

It also attracts enthusiasts on the road. I got words of appreciation from many people, with some even interested in buying it. But as long as my Alfa stays out of major trouble, I am planning to keep it. And overall, the drive is fun but the clutch pedal is stiffer than other cars and makes it harder to play with in traffic for long.

The classy look or the brand itself is never a letdown to me. Till date, the car has rolled 173,000 km out of which 13,000 km is from my side. It drives and sounds nothing like sedans you get to buy these days, and without throwing any tantrums, the ownership experience is still great. I don’t mind getting another Alfa Romeo in the future, maybe a 159, which according to Alfisti, is one of the last authentic soul-melting Alfa Romeos out there, if not the best that stands out amongst the usual German premium executive sedans. Oh, if you are into drinking and driving, Alfa Romeo is not for you, since it doesn’t come with cup holders!

Photos by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury.

What do you think?



  1. Excellent article Rahul! Excellent car! Mabrook!

  2. very well kept clean, beast of a car!

  3. Nice little review Rahul, she is quite a keeper, ain’t she 🙂

  4. Nice one – old classic

  5. no reliability issues?

  6. Nice car & excellent article
    Best of luck …….

  7. reliability issues ? It mostly depends on how well one look after his car …u love ur car its love u back …. well done Rahul,hoping to see more inspiring articles like this .

  8. Thanks guys….. 🙂

    @Prado So far no. But after going through the forums I find people having issues mainly because of hard driving or getting fixed by unskilled mechanic. But Alfa Romeo’s selespeed transmission is known for problems.

  9. I admire you for having bought this car. Well done for DA asking you to join with this owner diary. This is a very unusual choice for someone here Dubai and only a car enthusiast would buy it. I wonder how this car got here in the first place.
    You can find any parts you want, everything is still available as it was a popular model in Italy, many still can be seen on the roads.
    However, your car with this engine was not that common as most 155’s sold were with the 1.8 and 2.0 twin spark engines.

    • Thanks. It came from Japan on January 2011. And was owned by an Alfa enthusiast also a person who had owned 16 Alfas and it was sold to me after 6 months as he already owns a BMW M5 (E39). I am the second owner after it reached UAE.

    • Thats good news. Its very good to know where the car has come from. Also, the japan imports are generally very well looked after. They just sell them because its too expensive to own an old car over there.

  10. Great car, I used to drive 2.0 turbo, one of the best cars I ever owned.

  11. Nice review Rahul.

    Keep it up

  12. any car can be maintained in dubai if you know where to get parts from and have a skilled mechanic.The used parts market in Sharjah is huge, its like a gold mine out there.

  13. Hi Rahul, no car is without problems. Getting the right fix is what matters and for Alfas u need to go to the right people. Have been a proud owner of 2 bellas in my home country for 10 years. Have had my share of visits to the workshops, but enjoyed every visit as there’s something new u learn about these ‘beauties’ each time. They may not have the best numbers in spec but the drive is something you can’t experience in others. The design has improved over the years but then again, for alfas it’s about the engine and the growl. They were build In the race track so to say. My 146 1.7 boxer was the best sounding and the 156 2005 MY selespeed never gave any problems.

    I’m yet to find something close, though I know there will never be another with the same package..

  14. Nice car n I have Zender body kits 4 sale

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