1993-2004 Alfa Romeo GTV Buying Guide
The mid-’90s GTV may well combine the desirable traits of old with modern-day tech, but there are still things to watch out for. Here’s the lowdown
How much to pay
• Project £500-1500 • Good £2500-7000 • Concours £8000-10,000 •
• Most expensive at auction: £12,000 (3.0-litre GTV Cup)
Running costs ★★★
DIY friendly ★★★★
Introduced in 1993, the GTV Coupé was a belated replacement for the wedge-shaped Alfetta GTV that had been built back in the ’70s and ’80s. Both the GTV Coupé and its convertible Spider stablemate offered a wide range of rev-happy engines from a 2.0-litre inline-four up to a 3.0-litre V6, albeit the drop-top had slightly less well resolved handling capabilities.
Performance and handling were commendable despite the controversial front-wheel-drive layout, and the Phase 2 models introduced in 1998, and Phase 3 models from 2003-on, further refined the package.
By the time new-car sales came to an end, multivalve engines, traction control and upgraded suspension had all been added, keeping the GTV a competitive and desirable alternative to the comparatively mundane German offerings. Decent parts availability and a thriving Alfa community add to the ownership experience, making for Italian flare without the empty club scene.
Your AutoClassics Alfa Romeo GTV (1993-2004) inspection checklist
The four-cylinder twin-spark engines are mostly trouble free, although some head-gasket failures have been noted and a cambelt change every 36,000 miles or three years is essential.
Power delivery should be linear throughout the rev range, so if there are flat-spots when nearing the red line the mass-airflow sensor may need replacing. If there is a notable rattle at idle then the cam variator may also be due for replacement.
V6s also require cambelt changes but only every 72,000 miles, although most specialists recommend more frequent intervals than the three-year limit. These engines tend to use a fair amount of oil, too, and topping up a pint at every second fuel stop is relatively normal. If you are constantly filling up with oil and the exhaust is blowing out blue smoke, then the rings may be worn.
Oil-cooler pipes on V6s have a tendency to corrode over time, but a quick check underneath can reveal any potential issues.
Gearboxes are tough and stand up to abuse well, especially in the less torquey four-cylinder models. A reluctance to slot into fifth ratio may sometimes be as simple as a loose nut that requires tightening.
If there is too much resistance when changing gear, or notchiness between shifts, it may be worth getting the transmission inspected by a specialist.
Suspension and brakes
The suspension and brakes are generally trouble free and require only periodic checking for split rubber bushes or warped discs, especially on the V6 models. On early 2.0-litre cars the rear suspension bushes tended to wear out prematurely, so listen out for any knocking sounds when going over bumps. Specialists offer upgraded items, which resolves the issue.
The GTV has a plastic-composite front and rear bumper and is susceptible to stone chips, so a respray may have been carried out at some point on certain cars. Paint quality was not always to a high standard and some examples, especially red ones and darker colours, will have faded over time.
Lusso versions of the Spider were fitted with electric roof mechanisms, and these can sometimes malfunction due to broken microswitches or stretched cabling. Both are relatively easy fixes, but if the actual roof motor is damaged then you will be in for a big bill.
Perhaps the only real weak spot of the GTV/Spider range is the patchy electrical system. Some owners have complained of intermittent faults with wipers and interior lights, while others mention faulty window-winder switches.
The airbag, ABS and engine-management lights should go out once the car has been started – if not, they may be faulty. It's worth checking that everything is working as it should on your potential purchase, as tracing faults can mean expensive labour costs.
Leather front-seat bolsters tend to wear from years of use, but otherwise most plastics and seat coverings tend to be hard wearing.
● 1995: 916 Series GTV Coupé and Spider launched, and depending on the region are available with 148bhp 2.0-litre inline-four, 197bhp 2.0-litre V6 turbo and 189bhp 3.0-litre 12-valve V6 engines. All are front-wheel drive and fitted with a five-speed manual gearbox.
● 1996: Lusso (luxury) specification adds climate control, leather interior and a power soft-top on Spiders.
● 1997: 24v head introduced on 3.0-litre models, increasing power output to 217bhp.
● 1998: Phase 2 model introduced; updates include a new centre console and switchgear, plus colour-coded bumpers. The 2.0-litre Turbo V6 is now available on the Spider, and a new 140bhp 1.8-litre engine is introduced for certain markets. 3.0-litre models now come as standard with a six-speed manual gearbox.
● 2000: 2.0-litre V6 turbo and 1.8-litre engines discontinued, and all remaining unit are modified to comply with stricter emission standards.
● 2001: Limited-edition GTV Cup offered with unique body styling, and available with either 2.0-litre or 3.0-litre drivetrains. A total of 419 units are built, with 155 in RHD form and with the 3.0-litre V6 engine.
● 2003: Phase 3 model introduces range-wide updates such as softer suspension settings, uprated audio systems and the availability of traction control on all but the base model. A more powerful 161bhp 2.0-litre inline-four and new 237bhp 3.2-litre V6 are introduced.
● 2004: Production ends, but new vehicles are still available up until 2006.
The Alfa Romeo GTV may not have quite reached modern classic status just yet, but with its combination of performance and reliability allied with that head-turning Pininfarina-penned body, now may be the time to bag one at a bargain price.
For those hunting down a well balanced and entertaining car, a 2.0-litre coupé is ideal; the lighter front end compared with the V6s, and revvy nature, make it ideal for twisty A-roads.
The V6 models are tempting for their strong performance and great soundtracks, although fitting an aftermarket LSD can greatly enhance the driving experience. The limited-edition Cup versions had desirable bodykits and tend to command a premium over standard cars. A V6 Spider is an ideal summer toy, but not quite as sharp to drive as the coupé.
|1.8 TS inline-4|
|2.0 TS inline-4|
|2.0 JTS inline-4|
|2.0-Litre V6 Turbo|
|3.0-Litre 12v V6|
|3.0-Litre 24v V6|
|3.2-Litre 24v V6|
Picture courtesy of MagicCarPics
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