Had a new 147 1.9 M-Jet Lusso for the day when my 156 1.9 M-Jet was being fixed, as I've never driven the "old" 147 (cries of "shame) I can't make direct comparisons but observations are as follows:
Much smoother ride hides bumps really well, no problems over speed bumps, lacks the solid conviction of the veloce on bends tho. Not really suprising as she sat so high on the springs I almost needed a ladder to climb aboard (slight
Didn't like the instruments - speedo too crowded with intermediate speed markers or the central panel - seemed to almost lean forward and crowd the driver rather than back as on the 156. The rear wiper coming on when reversing was amusing and useful, but an intermittent wipe rather than continuous wouldn't have annoyed as much.
16v M-Jet revved better, felt much, much smoother but only had a 4500 red line which it reached very easily, rather than 5000 rpm on the 156.
Cabin noise (engine, tyres, wind) much much lower and no gruff note when accelerating like my 156.
Overall impressions is that Alfa have engineered a car for the masses rather than Alfisti - I could have been driving anything it's just too civilised (sanitised), even my 9 year old and her mate preferred the 156!
Doesn't bode well for the 159