Stunning styling, charismatic interior, great to drive, sporty nature, excellent diesels
Tight rear passenger space, poor ride comfort
The replacement for the 156, the Alfa Romeo 159, follows a familiar recipe for the Italian manufacturer. Its stunning four-door body is awash with delightful details, from the triple-lens headlights to the sculpted door handles. The interior is similarly evocative with an emphasis on Italian style setting it apart from alternatives while it drives in a sporty manner with a range of powerful petrol and diesel engines. All this will sound familiar to anyone who has owned an Alfa before but the 159 has to shake off the reputation for shoddy build quality and apathetic dealers. Alfa Romeo claims to have addressed these issues, which if true means owners won't have to suffer for their passion. Going up against the likes of the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series, the Alfa Romeo 159 is some way back when it comes to build quality and prestige. The Alfa does, however, provide something more stylish that is likely to stand out from the sombre-looking German offerings.
The range of engines was constantly updated and changed during the car's five-year production as the manufacturer attempted to keep up with the competition. One of the earlier petrol highlights was the 3.2-litre V6, though high running costs re sure to put many people off. It’s the diesel engines that are the highlight or the range, however. In August 2009 an Eco 1.9-litre JTDM diesel engine was introduced with a claimed fuel economy of 54mpg and emissions of 138g/km. Even better is the 2.0-litre JTDM. Producing 170bhp, it will go from zero to 62mph in 8.5 seconds but with an economy of 52mpg and 142g/km CO2 emissions you won’t pay for that performance.
The trims they are a-changin'
Throughout the five-year production of the Alfa Romeo 159, there were a number of changes for specification. Early models were only available with a choice of two trim grades. In 2009 this was expanded to five trim choices, so it’s worth checking the registration date of the car in order to figure out what equipment it will come with. So, is this a case of style over substance for the Italian car maker, or has it finally overcome the long-standing problems associated with other cars from the brand? Read the full Alfa Romeo 159 review to find out.