Just a few thoughts. I love my 156 and spent a long time staring at it last night after cleaning it and admiring the lines and stance . However, as people have said sales of the 156 are nearing a stand still. The general public still have a perception of Alfa (all Alfas) that they are rust buckets, suitable for long armed, short legged, 'driving enthusiasts' and not for driving to and from work, going shopping, taking the kids to school etc. etc.
With a German in charge, Alfa were always going to change. They need to sell more 'mainsteram' cars so they can then produce the niche models. So while we may well bemoan the loss of the 156 the 159 has to be given a chance.
Which one amongst you really gives a stuff abut what a journo says? Before I bought my first Alfa (a 147) I knew I wanted one. The reviews said they were okay but there were better cars out there, so I went and looked at these better cars - a Focus and a Golf - they left me cold. I fell in love with the Alfa, so was it heart over head? Probably, do I regret it? No. I am now driving a 156 and I love it even more. Now I am a convert and being on this forum just reaffirms my decision. Most people here have a passion for Alfas.
No-one really wants Alfa to go down the boring copy-cat style of an Audi or BMW. We drive Alfas because they are distinctive and different and somewhat quirky they have a soul, but.........Alfa needs to survive and therefore has to become a bit safer and try and engage the general public again. The 159 will be no doubt a fine car - no 156 in the styling stakes (but what is?) but will hopefuly give plenty of trouble free motoring - that is what people want nowadays - Alfa enthusiasts can cope with the fobiles but the joe public wants a car that can get from A to B, quickly, quietly, safely and doesn't cost a bomb to run.
The 159 is still more stylish than an A4 or 3 series but just not as stylish as a 156. The 156 was a one off - a classic design and we should be thankful, those of us that have owned or ever driven one that we did, but........(again) the times are a changin' and Alfa are going forward. No I don't think it looks as good but I like what I am seeing but really want to see it in the flesh and drive one, and in 2-3 years time what alternative do I have other than a 159, it is either that or I surrender to the Germans
Lets rightly praise the 156 but lets look forward to the 159, give it a chance, sod the journos and mke your own choice. It will still be the most distinctive car in its class and will hopefully be a success and allow Alfa to produce something even better next time.
Thats all, you may go in peace.