A while back I decided to sell my 911 and get a saloon car, for practicality reasons. Having now owned a fully loaded 159 3.2l Q4 Lusso for 3 months I thought I'd share my feelings and observations on the car.
Firstly, the 159 is obviously not as sharp or fast as my old 911, in fact everything performance-wise is no match at all for a 911. Quelle surprise I hear you say. BUT...It is surprisingly rapid but never fast, the steering feel is very, very good and the car is completely neutral. It is hugely annoying that the car only comes in front-wheel drive (awful) or four-wheel drive (very good but saps the power somewhat) variants. Alfa Romeo need to be delivering rear-wheel drive cars if they hope to sell to the serious sports car market. People who buy performance cars do not want four-wheel drive, and that really is that. I tolerate my car being four-wheel drive because the only alternative, front wheel drive, is devil's spawn.
What this car lacks in performance it makes up for in aesthetics. It really is a most striking vehicle to look at. The front grille with those slanty evil eyes is one of the most imposing sights on the road! And the rear end is sublime. Squatting over fat haunches with the gorgeous line of the rear melding into the light cluster and the twin tailpipes displaying understated purpose. The beauty doesn't stop there, the inside is to die for. Quality leather, ergonomic driver focussed dash, all the dials you need and an ethos parsimonious design, but never boring.
Now, the sound of the engine. This sounded muted to me after my 911, but as I have got used to the car it is just right. A gorgeous burbling around town gives way to a building V6 roar on the open road, before climaxing in a howl at the redline. And then...
...Trouble. That awful fly-by-wire throttle. Nail the car into the red and change up, only to have the thing die as it tries to work out what you are doing with the loud pedal. Awful. Awful. Awful. Jesus Christ, I cannot stress how f**king annoying this is, just use a cable like everyone else you frigging retards! There are ways around this, post sale, but come on, this is supposed to be the top of the range 159 so sort the throttle response.
I can't comment on the hi-fi, on the basis that all factory hi-fi in cars is sh!te (including the Bose in my Porker) I ripped it out and put 600W of proper hi-fi and sat-nav in. Does the job but I like the engine sound a lot
Braking is smooth and is not too servo-assisted. The gear change is positive and not notchy. The fuel economy is far worse than a 911, even though the car delivers far less power. Alfa must try harder on engine efficiency methinks.
I've had one warranty repair and had the car vandalised once. Both matters were dealt with efficiently by the Alfa dealer.
All in all, I am far glad I chose this over the BMW 335D or 335i that I was looking at. I certainly would not buy a horrid Audi and I am not imaginitive enough to think of an alternative.
159, great car and its faults merely add to the charm!