Hey hey hey.......I'm a very happy man tonight.
I've finally collected my 159 2.2 JTS Sportwagon from the dealer and it's a different car!!!!!!!!
(It's taken a while...actually 3 weeks; but I've had the 159 1.9JTD Lusso courtesy car for all that period)
After the dealer removed the gearbox, the assessor from Alfacare (Car Care Plan) determined that the gearbox should be replaced under warranty. The clutch and release bearing were seen to be 60% worn, so I elected to pay for a new clutch (parts only) as the clutch was not covered by the 3rd year warranty.
The drive home was a pleasure. The gearbox is now as smooth as silk. The clutch is as light as feather. As a bonus the hesitation from rest appears to have gone (but I need to double-check that tomorrow).
They've also fixed the noisy AirCon simply by regassing.
I now have the car that I thought I was buying back in May. It's great!
Boy am I glad that I pushed the dealer's service centre (4 days before the expiry of the 3rd Year warranty, when it is was in in for its first MOT). The outcome is fantastic...I couldn't be more pleased. Actually in the end I couldn't ask for much more from the Dealer's Service Manager.
It's a pity that the separate Sales Department that sold me the car back in May wasn't as sympathetic is him. My car was actually an ex demo of the dealer that had been run by one of their Sales Managers. I actually took the car back after a few days, reporting the gearbox problem. the Head of Sales said he couldn't do anything; "that's how these cars are Sir!!!!!" They did have the car back for 1 day to check it out but concluded that there was nothing wrong. I found out later that it was not checked out by the Main Service Department, but by a "pre-delivery" workshop attached to Sales.
There'll be a letter on it's way to the company tomorrow complaining about the appauling attitude of the Sales Manager in May (basically causing me 3 months of misery); but the excellent service from the Service Department.