Having been given the green light by my company to order an Alfa 159Ti instead of the usual suspect rep-mobiles I was as happy as a pig in sh*t when Alfa UK said that I could borrow an 08 plate but 07 spec 1.9JTDM Lusso for a week.
2 days in, here are my thoughts so far;
1. Obvious one, but the looks. No other car in its class comes close to the Alfa, particularly in Ti spec or with 18" wheels. The 17's look a bit toosmall in my opinion.
2. Seats and ride quality - the ride isn't as smooth as I expected around town and although its not uncomfortable by any means it is a bit fidgety. Thankfully the seats are incredibly comfy and really seem to absorb a lot of the minor imperfections and once you get up to motorway speeds it is a great long distance cruiser. The seats could do with more lateral support but I think the 08 spec cars have been modified to rectify this.
3. Steering - light, accurate, and well weighted in the bends. 4. The dashboard and dials - very cool looking, especially at night.
4. The looks, again
Not so good points
1. Performance - Yes the car gets you to 80mph fairly quickly on the motorway but I'm yet to find a 'sweet spot' where you get a real sense of acceleration or torque as you'd expect to find in a diesel with 150bhp, no matter what gear or rev range you're in. To be fair the car's only got 200 miles on the clock but how many miles does it take before it really loosens up?
2. Economy - a recurring theme on these pages but so far I'm only getting 36mpg - not great when most of the mileage has been on the motorway and I've not been particularly heavy footed.
3 Cornering - front end feels a bit spongy when cornering at speed. I've read reports on this site that bigger wheels improve the handling significantly over the standard 17's so the Ti should be spot on.
4. Headroom - I'm 6'3 and there's only about an inch or two between my head and the roof lining. I was going to spec a sunroof but probably won't be able to fit in it as I'm led to believe that it reduces the headroom by about an inch.
5. Stereo - Standard unit's not great so will add Bose to the spec when I order mine.
I have to admit to being a little disappointed with the car when I first drove it but I think that some of that was because I have had to justify wanting an Alfa to so many people who have scoffed at their reputation, and* I suppose that I wanted the car to blow me away to vindicate my choice. Having said that, the disappointment soon passed as I grew to appreciate the cars qualities (the so called Alfa soul)
So, its not as economical or fast as a 320d and its probably not built to the same standard as the 3 series or the A4. And yes, I can only just fit in it, but am I put off ordering
Not a chance.