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Alfa Romeo 147 1.9 JTD

Broadcast dates : 2nd October 2005
8th October 2005

What a car the 147 has been for Alfa Romeo! Following the success of the 156 in the late 1990s, the 147 went on to win the countless international Car-of-the-Year titles.

It looked right, it handled and performed like an Alfa should, and most importantly, it was well built. 

But halfway through its life cycle, it was time to freshen up. 

There’s an old adage in car design that form should follow function. 

In the case of the taillights, the new ones could be more visible, but as for that hatch-lid – what were they thinking indeed?

We’re finally wrapping our brains around the concept of a diesel-powered Alfa as a sports hatch. And the JTD test car reinforced the idea that Rudolph Diesel was a man ahead of his time.

The Alfa 147 has always imparted a fine sense of chassis balance and strong driver feedback. And the good news is that it just got better!

The revised suspension bushings and damping mean no cool-drink spillage from Hendrik’s favourite piece of equipment. And the whole car feels more solid. The new diesel motor merely adds icing to the cake comprising strength and refinement.

Being busy behind the wheel relates particularly to the gear changes dictated by the short diesel powerband.
In fact the second-generation JTD has a pleasing ability to rev to around 5000 rpm, even though you’re past the power peak. So there’s no irritating sharp drop off in power past the red line.

Low-down torque below 2000 is acceptable even at reef altitudes. And of course being Alfa Romeo, the engine – diesel or not – has to look good too.

The basic cockpit layout has changed little, apart from detailed changes to the instrumentation.

The front seats are snug – perhaps a bit too cosy for large people – but the cabin has a surprisingly airy feel, and passenger space for four or even five people is acceptable.

The boot size, at 232 litres, is a little on the tight side.

Re-visiting the Alfa 147 in face-lifted form reminded us of just how good the original award-winning car was.

We aren’t entirely convinced that the new extended nose improves the overall styling balance, but Hendrik was impressed with this diesel version of a car he knows so well in petrol guise.

Alfa Romeo 147 1.9 JTD
  • Engine: Four-cylinder turbodiesel, 1 910cc
  • Power: 110 kW @ 4 000 rpm
  • Torque: 305 Nm @ 2 000 rpm
  • Transmission: Six-speed manual, front-wheel-drive
  • 0-100 km/h: 9,3 seconds
  • Top speed: 200 km/h
  • Fuel consumption: 7,0 litres/100 km (estimated)
  • Price: R219 000
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