Dec 6 2008 Malcolm Robertshaw
Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTDm Q4 Ti
INTRODUCED back in the spring of 2006 to replace the classy-looking Alfa Romeo 156, the 159 has gained quite a substantial following as the Turin car giant continues its aim to tempt owners away from German rivals.
The legendary designer, Giorgetto Giugiaro, has been responsible for the creation of some of Alfa's most gorgeous automotive products and, any way which way you look at it, the Alfa 159 looks stunning.
The inside boasts substance to match the style. Much roomier than the Alfa 156, the 159 delivers plenty of leg and headroom up front for driver and passenger and roominess in the rear is more than adequate to deliver comfortable seating for a pair of adults.
The 159's load bay comes some 27-litres larger, at 405 litres, than the boot of its 156 predecessor but it is perhaps not quite so practical as some of its German rivals.
A smart looking, sturdy interior houses good kit levels for all 159 models, the likes of electric windows all round, remote central locking, dual zone climate control, sound system with CD player, plus stability control being included, while comprehensive safety kit levels include front, side and curtain airbags plus driver's knee bag.
The 159 has also undertaken the Euro NCAP crash test and been awarded five stars while the car also features an impressive security set-up.
The push button ignition system momentarily took me back half a century, while this car also featured a blast from the past in the Alfa Romeo Ti badging. This translates as Turismo Internazionale, a sporty trim level which has found its way on to some of Alfa's famous sporting models of the past and, sporting lowered sports suspension, red Brembo brake callipers front and rear plus black leather sports seats is a cut above the range topping Lusso model.
Powered by the 2.4-litre 210bhp five cylinder JTD diesel engine paired with a slick switching six-speed manual gearbox, the 159 endorses its sporty looks, proving great to drive, whether over the long haul or linking together a series of bends.
Featuring some impressive grip and feeling nicely planted on the road with communicative, well weighted power steering which responds swiftly to deliver stable and footsure progress, the front wheel drive Alfa 159 proves impressive.
Progress is perhaps not quite as hushed as some of its German rivals, but road, wind and engine noise are generally nicely subdued and, while the ride is quite firm, it doesn't prove inhibiting.
Although the length of the bonnet may perhaps prove awkward for some drivers, the Alfa Romeo 159 is lovely to look at and delightful to hold via accurately direct steering when embarking over the long haul and is a fine example of an executive sport saloon.
Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTDm Q4 Ti 4dr
Price : £27,552
Mechanical : 210bhp, 2,387cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed : 141mph
0-62mph : 8.3 secs
Combined mpg : 39.2
Insurance group : 14
CO2 emissions : 192g/km
BiK rating : 25%
Warranty : 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint, 8yrs anti-rust