Alfa Romeo 4C & Reliability - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums

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Old 11-23-2013, 06:50 PM
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Alfa Romeo 4C & Reliability

Ok, I am a brand new member and I have a question. I have come very close over the last 3-4 years to buying a Lotus but never could pull the trigger because of their reputation of poor reliability. My question is simply the following:

What is the reliability of Alfa Romeo cars? Specifically the 4C? Surely it has to be better than a Lotus.

Mike
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:49 PM
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Mike -
We simply do not know about the "reliability" of the 4C as none of us have owned one. Because they are a new release (in Europe only at this time), and then only to a select few, there is no established history.
That said, I'm relatively certain that the members of this forum have various opinions regarding the reliability of Alfas, in general...varies with models, level of maintenance, etc.
I know this probably does not help....
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Old 11-23-2013, 08:58 PM
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I own nothing else but Alfas. Not a 4C, but have used 164s as my daily drivers since 1993 with great success. Reliability wise, the modern era Alfas compete with the best, in my opinion. I wouldn't expect anything less from the 4C.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:06 AM
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It depends on what you call reliability. IMHO the Evora and the Elise are reliable cars and the 4C should be similar. If you expect the 4C to be similar to a Honda Civic, it won't be. It will be more comparable to a modern Ferrari or Maserati. If reliability is the first thought that comes to your mind regarding the 4C, this won't be the car for you.
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Old 11-24-2013, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by vml View Post
It depends on what you call reliability.
Indeed, and as we've established elsewhere in the 4C subforum, a car that needs regular maintenance could be said to be "unreliable".

In my little world, there are no unreliable cars on the market today, including Alfa Romeos, but I'm sure there are plenty of anecdotes "proving" me wrong.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:31 PM
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Don't believe what you hear on Top Gear. Alfas are as reliable as any other car and better than some. Alfa engines in particular have always been pretty much indestructible. Keeping them maintained by an experienced mechanic will ensure a long life. You couldn't go wrong with a 4C in my opinion. I think they would be more user friendly than a Lotus in terms of getting in and out of them, going by what I have read. As far as the fun factor goes, Alfas are well and truly at the top of the list.
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Old 11-24-2013, 03:48 PM
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Whoever takes car buying advice from Top Gear UK must be considered mentally unstable or already looking for an excuse - any excuse - not to own one.

The local Lotus crowd are among the funniest in that respect. Their forum project threads are invariably about fixing all the little things Lotus didn't get right, like engine cooling and electrics, all the while claiming Alfa's got a bad reliability record and that it must be a complete nightmare owning one.

They are worse than Alfisti. Quite a feat
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Old 11-26-2013, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wibler View Post
Ok, I am a brand new member and I have a question. I have come very close over the last 3-4 years to buying a Lotus but never could pull the trigger because of their reputation of poor reliability. My question is simply the following:

What is the reliability of Alfa Romeo cars? Specifically the 4C? Surely it has to be better than a Lotus.

Mike
As others have pointed out - this model is truly new - so the absence of a design/reliability flaw, though likely, remains to be proven. And since the 4C is built in the Maserati factory, and sold at our domestic Maserati boutiques..

..making the effort to speak to current Maserati owners in your area, particularly regarding their judgement of how well a dealer has addressed their problems (if any, ahem..) would probably give you a good indication of how happy you would be with a 4C.

Different sites can provide very different levels of service, usually dependent on the degree to which the service manager advocates for the customer, typically in opposition to the sales group, which never wants to p*ss off the factory. I worked at an Alfa dealer and saw this happen regularly. A willingness to recall the factory service rep. to address a customer's (legitimate..) complaint was paramount in establishing a reputation for good service and creating repeat customers.

Ask how Maserati owners feel they've been treated when factory warranty work arises and "intermittent" electrical (and other) gremlins resist diagnosis.
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Old 11-26-2013, 01:36 PM
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Well, my Fiat Abarth with over 190whp has been perfectly reliable. I see no reason the 4C shouldn't be as well.

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Old 11-26-2013, 02:23 PM
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We're talking about a car that hasn't been released yet, right? So how could anybody know about reliability at this point in time? Well, actually we do know - to date, the production version of the 4C is 100% reliable - there are zero reported failures by customers.

In all seriousness, the 164 comparison is probably a good one. The 4C will most likely be modern day reliable, it will start and run well every day, until it doesn't. At which point you will take it to a dealership and pray it's still under warranty, because it will probably command Maserati repair prices from the Maserati dealers it's sold through.

I'm curious about the Lotus unreliability issues mentioned. The Elise has a Toyota Celica motor, what breaks on these cars?

bs
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Old 11-26-2013, 03:16 PM
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I'm curious about the Lotus unreliability issues mentioned. The Elise has a Toyota Celica motor, what breaks on these cars?
Early Elises had the 1.8 Rover K-series engine which had a reputation for overheating and blowing its headgasket. Apart from that it's a pretty nice engine. The Elise isn't unreliable as such, but it has its own set of gremlins most owners eventually sort out.

Like some Alfas, owners love them not for their build quality but all the other things that makes up a car
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:26 PM
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I don't know about other countries, but in Australia you don't actually have to take your car to a dealer for warranty servicing, despite what they would have you believe. Most car dealers over charge and cut corners on servicing. If I bought a new Alfa, I would take it to my own Alfa mechanic for servicing because I trust him 100%.
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Old 11-26-2013, 04:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oz3litre View Post
I don't know about other countries, but in Australia you don't actually have to take your car to a dealer for warranty servicing, despite what they would have you believe. Most car dealers over charge and cut corners on servicing. If I bought a new Alfa, I would take it to my own Alfa mechanic for servicing because I trust him 100%.
Here in the US, you can take your car to the dealership or any 'factory authorized service center'. It's that 'factory authorized' thing thing that get's you, there aren't many independent shops that are willing to go through the trouble and expense to become factory authorized to perform warranty repairs.

bs
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:09 PM
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A neighbour of mine got screwed by the dealer when the timing belt broke on his 2006 Fiat Punto diesel, well within the warranty period. The cause was premature failure of the water pump and they refused to cover it on the grounds that the water pump was a consumable item. They then replaced the belt without checking the state of the valves and naturally discovered that they were bent and had to start again. They fixed the valves, but didn't put a new belt on. They magnanimously charged him "trade price" for the parts, leaving him out of pocket to the tune of somewhere around $2,000. Later on there was a coolant leak and he was told that they couldn't find the source and they would have to remove the engine to find it. The alternator also had a fault and they said that was an engine out job too and the alternator would have to come from Italy. That was the last straw and he took the car to my mechanic who took five minutes to find that the water leak was due to a cracked joint on a metal pipe, caused by the fact that the dealer had failed to reconnect a bracket that held it onto the cylinder head. It took him 20 minutes to weld it up and bolt the bracket on properly. My mechanic then got a new alternator from his auto electrician who had one on the shelf because it was the same as a Holden/Vauxhaul Vectra. He replaced that without removing the engine.

It is sad that the dealer operates like that and so unnecessary. Fortunately we have quite a few independent Alfa mechanics here and now that we have two dealers in town, the first might have to improve their act. That sort of bs is not confined to Alfa dealers from what I have heard over the years.
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Old 11-26-2013, 06:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bshorey View Post
[..] I'm curious about the Lotus unreliability issues mentioned. The Elise has a Toyota Celica motor, what breaks on these cars?
bs
About a year ago, I noticed that a neighbor (who has since moved) had an Elise. I made a mental note to talk to him about it when I saw him again. A few weeks later, as a flatbed tow-truck was spiriting away the Lotus one morning - I kid you not, I offered him in a ride in the 164 to the BART station which was on my way.

When I asked what happened, he said the gear shift knob came off in his hand, which the dealer claimed was a known issue(!), and that they would reattach it more securely for him. He said that (..otherwise..) there had been relatively few problems (but did acknowledge some electrical/ignition issues, IIRC) and pointed out that the Toyota sourced motor was probably a really good thing.
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Last edited by spokeless; 11-26-2013 at 06:25 PM.
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