Ha! Just wandered on here for the first time in ages, and my old thread has been bumped!
It's now 11 months and 15,500 miles and I came close to cutting my losses a while back. The dashboard creak, groan, and sizzle got worse and worse. Had a terrible experience with local dealer (will NEVER set foot in there again - amateur idiots) and almost final straw came when I drove up to Leicester in pouring rain to see customers, had a boot full of product for one of them which, to my embarassment, was soaked through when I opened up to unload.
The paint chipping on the bonnet had reached horrendous proportions, and I gave friends written permission to shoot me if I ever went anywhere near another Alfa.
I took it to AMC in Chelmsford and tbh, initially it did not go well. Their manager tried to stand his ground with regard to the paintwork - we had a screaming row in the middle of the showroom, which produced a totally different attitude, and he ended up being hugely supportive. They had it for 3 days, removed and rebuilt the dashboard (2 day job), removed and re-sealed the rear screen (cause of boot leak) and sorted the wipers once and for all. Lent me a 1.4 Mito in black with lairy decals, which was great, though suffered the same wiper trouble. AMC man said it's the same across the Alfa range, as they seem incapable of making the RHD conversion.
2 weeks later, they had it again to respray bonnet and front wings (diesel Mito this time, which was horrible) on which they did a great job. He said they'd painted and baked it twice, and it should now be more resiliant.
The dash still cracks a bit but the sizzle has gone, and everything else seems OK at last (save chronic wind noise).
By rights I should keep it another 2 years, but I doubt that somehow. It's always going to be a trouble car, and whilst AMC did their utmost (and I'm grateful to their manager, who did a great job) it's put me off Alfa for good. I know what to expect from cars - this is my 26th consecutive vehicle, and I've had all types. I'm on my 3rd Focus TDCi in my business (driven by my manager) which have collectively covered 200,000 miles and I've never so much as replaced a bulb. They have been incredible.
I'll give the 159 another 12 months then it will be a 3 series coupe or possibly A5 coupe - though they are EVERYWHERE! Might even be a Jag XF.....
P.S. Never manage better than 31.5mpg in mixed driving.