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Alfa Romeo 159 Review

Alfa Romeo 159 Tested November 2006

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Quick Summary

Average. Looks nice and it is pretty good to drive, but expensive to run and starting to look tired against German rivals.

Road Test

The 159 is another good looking piece of design from Alfa, sketched by Italian design house Giugiaro and sharing lots of visual cues with the equally handsome Brera coupe. Our only slight criticism is that from some angles it looks a bit too similar to the 156 that it replaced.

The interior is well-designed and well-finished too - far better built that Alfas of old. It can't quite match BMW or Audi in terms of perceived quality, but materials are good, the dashboard is well laid-out and it's comfortable over longer distances.

The 159 shares same chassis and mechanical underpinnings as the Brera coupe's and drives nicely in consequence. The well-weighted steering yields commendably keen responses, there's plenty of grip and the reactive chassis relishes the challenge of a twisty road. The downside is indifferent ride quality over rough British tarmac, with more road noise at cruising speeds than direct rivals.

Three petrol engines and two diesels are available. High prices at the top of the range mean that the entry level 1750 TBi petrol and 1.9 litre JTD diesel make the most compelling case for themselves, although it's hard to deny the attraction of the superb-sounding 3.2 litre JTS petrol V6, which also comes with Alfa's "Q4" four-wheel drive system (so long as someone else is paying the bills).

As with all Alfa Romeos, depreciation costs are very high when compared to premium-badged rivals, and buyers will also have to deal with the distinctly variable quality of Alfa dealers.

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