I've recently bought a 159 SW and I'm very happy with it.
Needed something more practical than my 3 series coupe and the SW is a very nice compromise.
I've got a TBi TI and find the ride on the lowered suspension and 19" wheels firm but not too crashy (coming out of a BMW with 19" rims and run flat tyres, its limousine smooth by comparison); I've done about 1,700 miles and the engine is loosening up nicely - it's very torquey so easy to drive in a very relaxed style but when you give it the beans it responds fairly well - for a big car under 8 seconds to 60 is respectable if not great. I've done a few 50 mile journeys with 4 adults on board and everyone's been comfortable - the seats are great and while legroom in the back isn't fantastic behind the driver (I'm 6'4) it's still tolerable. I have to say it's the best looking estate on the road by a huge margin and better than a lot of saloons or sports cars.
I had a few small issues on delivery which the dealer is sorting out - no complaints about the service and the time it's taken to get sorted is partly my own fault.
The fuel economy isn't what it's claimed to be - if your brother is doing high mileages this may be a problem; I do about 1k a month so it's hardly worth worrying about.
Grabbing hold of my wooden desk, I haven't experienced the tyre wear or paint issues which are well publicised on the forum (too new).
This is my first foray into Alfa ownership - I was tempted by the 156 a few years back but the Alfa reputation put me off; this time around with the 159 I took a punt that they'd sorted out a lot of their issues and that I had a 3 year warranty to fall back on if it turns out to be a lemon.
I was out with a couple of friends last week; one knows a lot about cars and complemented me on the choice; the other knows nothing and was making jokes about reliability
Nothing's bulletproof these days - I ran an E Class Merc for 18 months that averaged one trip to the dealer a month for warranty issues and they've got huge issues at the moment with their 4 pot diesels.