Well if you must give up having the best fun you can have with your clothes on then I suppose you will have to sacrifice your 156 for a 159!
My first word of advice was going to be ...Dont !
Anyway, I can vouch for the fact that the 200hp 2.4JTDM 07 model was a complete dog for me. It was simply the worst thing on four wheels that I've owned since having a Vanden Plas 1500 in 1978. (Posh Allegro to those who remember them, and yes, I am that old!)
In ten thousand miles with the 159 I never got more than 32 to the gallon out of it. The turbo lag was so bad I had to ask it nicely at least seven days in advance when I needed to overtake a caravan, and due to the dealer only setting the 18" alloys to 30psi I went through a set of front tyres in 9500 miles. Once the correct pressures were put in the steering developed a mind of its own and would violently propel me into oncoming traffic on any bumpy surface. I suspect that was due to the worn tyres more than a steering fault though.
Sadly of my seven Alfa's it was also the worst for reliability with engine problems and various teething issues taking a good six months to settle down. It finally behaved itself once the dealer had seen it on an almost weekly basis. (And here I have to plug my local dealer ‘Platts of Longton’ for being absolutely great in both sales and service)
On the plus side it looked gorgeous (Red with the horseshoe wheels) and had full leather with heated seats, Bose system and a folding dog guard that had to come from Italy as no one knew they were available in the UK at that time. It was a shame that all in all the experience of owning it was a sad one due to the handling and consumption issues.
I remember driving both the 2.2 petrol and the 1.9 JTDM before settling for the 2.4 and although I thought the 2.2 was a tad light at the front and the 1.9 just didn’t have quite enough puff to pull me away from my 175hp 156 they were both nice cars.
Don’t forget that the rear seats don’t fold fully flat on the Sportwagon, but having said that I never found it a problem. I manage to get two Labradors into the back of mine with no problems.
If you can wait to find a 210hp Sportwagon then I would recommend it. The engine is just on a another planet from the old one. I am not sure if the consumption will be that much better as I have only just started driving my Ti this week. Certainly it looks like it might be just as thirsty, but then with the difference in handling, engine noise and acceleration….Who Cares!!