This thread is intended as a release valve for my immense frustration caused by owning a 159 LE, and as a warning to others comtemplating one! I have had so many problems with this car from day 1, back in December 2008. These include:
1. New gearbox diagnosed as required within 2 weeks of delivery.
2. iPod connection issue when swapping between iPod and SatNav USB stick requiring battery disconnect to resolve each time.
3. Rear offside door jammed shut
4. Engine warning light came on – radiator fan controller fault
5. Rear window rubber seal falling off
6. Engine hesitation/judder most noticeable on acceleration/gear change
7. Power socket not working
8. Fuse box cover in instrument panel jammed shut
9. Poor engine performance - lack of power
10. Dreadful handling - jittery, tramlining, etc.
All the 'easy to fix' problems were resolved relatively quickly, but the main issues have been the handling and the engine performance. I took the car back to the dealers on numerous occasions, and both the dealer and Alfa Romeo said there was nothing wrong with it.
Eventually, the EGR valve was cleaned. This gave a brief improvement, but the performance soon degenerated. Took it back again, and they replaced the valve. This also had a small effect, but still hesitating and juddering. At this point, Alfa were saying the car had been checked and nothing was wrong. I wrote letters of complaint to Alfa and to Dew's (the dealer), and finally got agreement to Dew's to take the car for a week.
They found three problems:
a) camber angle on one wheel was significantly out
b) an additional gasket needed fitting between the EGR valve and the inlet manifold (from an Alfa service bulletin, so clearly a known problem/resolution)
c) engine mounting overtightened, causing excessive vibration at certain engine revs (around 2000rpm).
These repairs have fixed the engine performance problems, and at least the car now drives much better.
However, the handling is still woeful on the West Yorkshire roads I drive on every day. I would NOT recommend a Ti or LE to anyone driving on these types of A and B roads, as at normal speeds the jittery steering and awful tramlining make it very unfulfilling and hard work to drive. My old BMW 330i convertible with 20" alloys was much better on these roads, as was my 1-series with run-flat tyres (a notoriously hard ride, but at least it went where you pointed it!).
Overall, despite the fantastic looks, I wouldn't have another one, particularly with the very poor after-sales service from Alfa Romeo. As an example, when the Alfa guy said that their engineer had found nothing wrong (even though there was something wrong!) and that 'No action was required', I asked him to confirm that they were therefore not going to do anything about the issues. He then dodged making the statement, and tried to argue that I was putting words into his mouth, and even began to suggest I was reading into the statement something that wasn't there! What's to misinterpret in 'No action required'? I ended up slamming the phone down in frustration - this is NOT the service and attitude I expect from a supermarket, let alone a company selling £23k cars!
I now have no confidence in the Alfa technicians or customer services, and so would never have another Alfa. I just pray nothing else goes wrong before I get rid of it. I hope other people's experiences have been better, but mine's been absolutely rubbish.