Alfa Romeo 159 Review: 2007 Model | 159 | Car Buyers Guide

2007 Alfa Romeo 159 Review

A typical evening meal for an Italian is more like Christmas dinner for you and me. It usually comprises five courses of heart-stoppingly (literally) good food, washed down with a cheeky little Chianti and punctuated with a political debate that ends in insults, hand gestures and Tagliatelle flying across the room. The whole process takes about five or six hours because food, to Italians, is every bit as important as sex, football and, of course, cars. All must be enjoyed to the fullest and relished with a passion. It’s no surprise that the Alfa 159 is an Italian car. Only the Italians could have designed a car this beautiful, yet this macho. But more than a pretty face, the 159 is also the best-made Alfa… well, ever! I’ve driven many in my time and every one, without fail, has had some problem or other.

But none of the 159s I’ve tested so far have put a foot wrong. Not a squeak. Not a rattle. Not a single airborne lump of Bolognese. Another surprise is that the best 159 of them all should be a diesel with an automatic transmission. I mean, does it sound like something Italians would be good at? Sure, the ample torque characteristics of the 2.4 JTDM powerplant make it great for hauling ass up and down whimsically policed Autostradas, but come on! It’s so economical, so refined, so bloody sensible. It’s the culinary equivalent of steamed vegetables and lean white chicken. No vino. No creamy sauce. Not even a pinch of salt. OK, there’s some salt. 0-100km/h in 8.6 seconds and on to 222 km/h is pretty tasty, it has to be said, but then Alfa goes and ruins the experience with a fat-free 8.8 litres per 100km, even with my lead foot. And then there’s the automatic transmission. It’s on a par with the best slushbox BMW makes in terms of smoothness and intuitiveness, and it always seems to know which gear you want, meaning that you never, ever get caught flatfooted. You never have to use the ‘manual’ controls or even hit the ‘sport’ button – the software is that clever. Can this really be an Italian car? Unlike the cantankerous and overemotional 156, the 159 is all grown up and responsible. This is especially true in 2.4 JTD Q-Tronic guise.

But then you find a challenging stretch of road and the herbs and spices bubble to the surface. The body control, the steering feel and even the sound of the engine all urges you to misbehave. Unlike any previous Alfa, the 159 will get the work done efficiently and reliably but once the toil is over, it’s wants you to kick back and enjoy the full-fat driving experience that only an Alfa can offer. Underneath the façade of Teutonic good sense, there beats the heart of an Italian after all.



Alfa 159 2.4  JTDM Q-Tronic

Engine 2,387cc, 5 cyl, 200bhp, 400Nm

Boot Capacity 445 litres

Acceleration 0-100km/h 8.6 seconds

Top speed 222km/h Price €47,300

Transmission: 6 speed automatic

Economy 8.2 litres/100km)

Weight 1,700kg


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