Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi – Yahoo Cars

26 Apr 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi – Yahoo Cars
Alfa Romeo 159

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Possibly because of the Alfa 156 that preceded it, which was beautiful and unreliable in equal measure, the 159 is regarded as the choice you make with the heart rather than the head. A BMW 3 Series is where the sensible money goes; a 159 is for those who can#39;t stand being part of the pack.

This version of the 159, the 1750 TBi, is on paper one of the most compelling Alfa saloons for some time, because it offers both pace and frugality from its direct injection, turbocharged petrol engine. But is it enough to tempt anyone away from the usual German suspects (and the Japanese one)?

What are its rivals?

The Alfa has the unusual accolade of sitting somewhere between the premium saloons (Audi A4, BMW 3 Series, Mercedes E-Class, Lexus IS) and the mainstream ones (Ford Mondeo, Vauxhall Insignia, Mazda6, Citroen C5. the list goes on). Usually it gets dragged into a fight with the former category because it#39;s not cheap and, well, it#39;s an Alfa.

There#39;s a huge range of engine and trim choices comprising the 159 range, which extends from £19,950 (just below where the Mondeo kicks off) to £27,800. Consider that the latter figure won#39;t quite buy you a BMW 320d in M Sport trim, whereas in the Alfa you get a top of the range 3.2-litre V6, and you can see the difference. Value is another thing altogether though, because Alfas are notoriously bad depreciators, whereas the opposite is usually true of a BMW, Merc or Audi.

How does it drive?

For any person to choose an Alfa Romeo, given its reputation for unreliability (often unjustified these days), it must be two things: it must look great and serve up a fantastic driving experience. Unfortunately, this particular Alfa, good as it is, falls just shy on both counts.

The 1750 TBi engine, which develops 200bhp and takes its name from Alfa#39;s back catalogue – namely the 1750 Berlina saloon – delivers its ample power smoothly across the entire rev range, and it has 236lb.ft of torque from just 1,400rpm, so it always feels powerful – a feeling backed up by a 7.7-second 0-62mph time. It returns 34.9mpg too (unless you#39;re doing constant 0-62mph sprints), so it#39;s hardly a gas guzzler.

However, what the TBi has gained over the old Twin Spark units of the 156 in terms of smoothness, power and fuel consumption, it has lost in character. Where has the Alfa rumble gone? Some will enjoy the mild-mannered calmness of the power delivery, but for us, that#39;s not what an Alfa#39;s supposed to do.

That said, it#39;s obvious that the engine is light, because the 1750 has sharp turn-in, and is all-in-all a well balanced and entertaining thing to drive – though still lagging behind the rear-wheel drive premium pack because of the fundamental handling disadvantage of sending that much power to the front wheels.

What#39;s impressive?

Alfa Romeo 159

The 159 rides surprisingly well for a sporty car, given the propensity for some makers to stiffen up the sporty versions of their saloons to uncomfortable levels. The ride is supple, while still letting you feel what#39;s going on underneath you, and that makes the car a pretty good one to live with around town if you do plenty of door-to-door miles.

And as we#39;ve already alluded to, there#39;s the cost issue: the Alfa looks good value compared to even some bona fide #39;mainstream#39; cars. For example, the test car we lived with for a week was a Lusso spec, which gets 18-inch alloys, cruise control, dual-zone climate, Bluetooth phone preparation, parking sensors and leather seats. So, it looks sporty, it#39;s comfortable, quick, and well specified – and all that for just under £24k.

And if you#39;re bothered about the image thing, most will see the 159 as an informed choice.

What#39;s not?

As a package, the 159 is two steps ahead of the 156 in terms of its comfort and quality, although in becoming better it has also, like the engine, lost a lot of its predecessor#39;s charisma. A cabin that was fundamentally racy, with one of the few driver layouts that could legitimately be described as a cockpit, in the 156 has been watered down into something that#39;s decent enough and ergonomically sound, but arguably quite uninspiring. It#39;s still all obviously pointed towards the driver though.

Should I buy one?

We have to lament the misplacing of much of the 156#39;s personality in the transition to 159. However, Alfa#39;s saloon is a good all-rounder that#39;s difficult to criticise too heavily. It might not be the sharpest drive, but the refinement and power delivery of the new 1750 TBi engine is especially impressive and improves the car markedly as a whole.

So if you like what you see in the pictures, fear not about heading to the Alfa dealer. And that#39;s a nice thing to be able to say.

Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
Alfa Romeo 159
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