Alfa Romeo 159 car review by Jason Dawe

29 May 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Alfa Romeo 159 car review by Jason Dawe
Alfa Romeo 159

Jeremy Clarkson reckons nobody can claim to be a real petrol head until they have owned an Alfa Romeo. However, followers of his wisdom should look no further than buying a second-hand 159. Not only is this the best-looking Alfa for years, but it also has some virtues not always encountered in the brand, such as practicality, reliability and good value.

Introduced to the UK in early 2006 as a successor to the 156, the 159 was built on a brand new platform. With a wheelbase 105mm longer than that of the 156, it boasts a larger cabin, satisfying those who want style but aren’t prepared to be cramped and uncomfortable for it.

With any Alfa, the heart of the matter is the engine, and in this respect the 159 certainly delivers the goods with its choice of 1.9, 2.2 and 3.2 litre petrol units, producing 160, 185 and 260bhp respectively. Even the humble 1.9 gives lively performance, while the gutsy 3.2 sounds terrific. Used 3.2 litre models are pretty rare, but if you can live with the average 20mpg fuel consumption, their paltry cost premium over the 2.2 makes them look like exceptional value.

That said, a 159 diesel is probably the better buy. Avoid the costlier five-cylinder 2.4 JTDM and go instead for the four-cylinder 1.9 JTDM. With 150bhp and 236 lb ft of low-down torque, it feels quicker than its 0-60mph time of 9.2sec suggests, and the lesser weight of this engine helps sharpen handling.

The only two trim levels in the 159 are Turismo and Lusso; the former providing dual-zone climate control, 16in alloy wheels, single-disc CD, cruise control and an alarm system. A premium of about Ј900 for Lusso spec adds leather upholstery, 17in alloys and rear parking sensors — vital if it has been driven in the Italian manner. Euro NCAP scores of five stars for adult occupant safety and four for child occupant safety place the 159 among the best in class.

Alfa Romeo 159

Poor residual values, reliability and dealer service have all damaged Alfa sales in the past, so what is the truth today? First, residual values; if you buy the right 159 it does little worse than many prestige competitors and better than alternatives from volume brands.

As for reliability, all 159s are within the manufacturer’s original three-year warranty, provided they have been correctly serviced, so independent data are scant. But owner testimony suggests the 159 is the best built Alfa of recent years. Finally, Alfa has acted to resolve concerns about poor dealers with new appointments, better training and more customer interaction.

Whether Alfa Romeo ever becomes, in terms of reliability, the bulletproof purchase that some drivers demand is a moot point, but in the 159 we have a second-hand car that both Jeremy and I can thoroughly recommend.

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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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