Published on August 8th, 2012 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Used Car Review ALFA 164_Buying Passion and Heritage
Designed in the late ‘80s to challenge BMW, Volvo and various other sporting prestige cars, the 164 took Alfa Romeo to new levels of comfort, refinement and build quality. And despite now being 25 years old, the 164 still manages to impress many Malaysian motorist today.
Interestingly, the Alfa 164’s ‘Type 4’ chassis was jointly designed by Saab, Lancia, Fiat and, of course, Alfa Romeo. Built to appeal to the high end executive market, the 164 interior is fully leather-lined. Standard features include power windows and mirrors, central locking, electric seats, electric steel sunroof (on some units) and 16 inch alloys. The gauge cluster also goes the extra mile with a volt meter and oil pressure gauge. The cabin provides good accommodation for four and a half adults in total comfort and 5 full sized adults in a pinch and the boot is large enough to take two golf bags. The best way to describe the driving experience is simply passionate and exhilarating.
Apply pressure to the accelerator when you’re cruising and there’s a solid surge of torque but, if you want all-out performance, you really need to dump the accelerator pedal to the floor to achieve kick-down. The engine is very smooth and there’s a raunchy and sexy exhaust note to evoke your senses.
The 164 has an all-alloy 3.0 litre transverse V6 with a single cam per bank and Bosch Motronic management under the hood. Rated power is 132kW at 5600 rpm and 245Nm at 4000 rpm. From the lights the 164 auto takes just under 10 seconds to reach 100 km/. Top speed is around 210 km/h thanks to a relatively low co-efficient of drag.
Alfa’s power-assisted steering is light and lacks feel and the turning circle is disappointing. Four wheel disc brakes (ventilated at the front) come as standard. Love it or hate it, the Alfa 164 has distinctive looks. Designed by Pininfarina, the 164 is sharp-edged and its rear taillights are a unique ‘strip’ design. The front end, however, is universally admired thanks to a prominent Alfa logo and well integrated fog lights.
The 164 was sold in Malaysia via Milan Auto from 1989 through until 1993. A well-kept example with 350,000 kilometers, service history and all electrics in order will sell for just under RM10K however an immaculate facelifted 168 with full documentation in order fetch between RM14K to RM18K. An interesting option to look at.
You can barely buy a basic used Japanese or Korean sedan for that price. Specialists Alfa workshops off Old Klang Road in Selangor suggests the 164 is so so reliable but the head gaskets can deteriorate. Depending on what else needs to be done during repair, this typically costs around RM2,800 to RM5,000 to fix properly. Other items that might need attention are the air-conditioning vent motors, lower suspension bushes and the hydraulic engine mount. As usual, the cam belt should also be replaced at the specified interval.
At the time of the 164’s release, Alfa Romeo made a big deal of their use of galvanized panels and various other corrosion-resistance measures. This was to quash all previous problems associated with rust bucket Alfa’s therefore the 164s don’t rust unless they’ve been poorly repaired after an accident. Despite 20 plus years of use, the 164’s doors also shut reassuringly and panel trim on the inside stay well preserved unless abused by previous owners.
Leather rejuvenation, the odd plastic trim creak and warped ceiling-mounted grab handles are common. If you want luxury, practicality, unique styling and decent performance they are well worth checking out especially at their current prices. After purchase all you need is a reliable workshop and that you get from me or any Alfa car club member.