3 months ago I reluctantly traded in my superb 07/07 1.9JTDm GT Blackline for a 59/09 1.9JTDm 159 Ti. In case anyone ever considers doing the same, below are my personal views, experiences and opinions on the differences in the 2 cars.
Both cars have 150hp units but to me the GT felt quicker and I could feel the torque more in all gears, especially around 2k rpm where the GT seemed to pull really well. The 159 is a bit heavier and I can tell, it doesnít seem to have the same eagerness and ďpush you back in your seatĒ torque that the GT had, this was one of the first things that struck me when I test drove a 159, however, itís a very smooth ride and I think a little more refined than the GT. At 60mph you don't get as much of a sensation of speed as in the GT, sometimes you are surprised when you look at the speedo.
From a standing start the GT was fairly quick off the line even if you werenít trying, the 159 needs a heavy right foot, a fair amount of concentration and lots of revs to prevent it bogging down. However in the GT you needed to shift to 2nd, 3rd, 4th sooner than in the 159. In fact, all the gear ratios seem longer in the 159, so much so that I only ever use 6th on the motorways whereas I would use 6th on dual carriageways and even around town very regularly on the GT. The downside of this is that I have to down shift a lot more in the 159, especially for overtaking and slow corners. Corners I could have taken in 4th in the GT and had enough torque to power out the other side of require a change down to third in the 159 else power disappears even with the pedal to the floor.
The GT was firm and the 159 is firm in Ti spec but even on the 19s with the lowered suspension the 159 irons out the smaller bumps much better than the GT which seemed to crash into everything which never really bothered me but the wife was never impressed, I donít get accused of aiming for holes and bumps as much now as I used to. Cornering in the GT was sublime, so much grip even without a physical LSD and the 159 is no different, it turns in and hangs on superbly on country roads, itís very rigid for a saloon. Iíve even had over-steer once but it was very wet. Both are very stiff cars which I like. Steering is great in both, you feel very attached to what is going on but the power steering still works well when parking.
Behind the wheel
The GT was as you would expect with a coupe, like a cockpit, great seats and cosy feel. The 159 does well to create the same feeling in a saloon car with the centre console directed towards you and the black roof lining, the seats are excellent in the Ti too although the moveable front squab of the seat is annoying as there is quite a bit of play and it tends to move back and forth, I donít like that personally. The white dials are cool, I liked them in the GT and glad they are in the 159. I also like the ďmood lightingĒ at night which shines a red glow over the gearstick area, very German but I like it. The chromatic mirror is very good too and works really well, so much so you wonder what you did without it.
The Start/Stop button Ė need I say more. It makes every journey an occasion.
The addition of the Turbo pressure gauge in the centre console is a good feature too which was not in the GT although watching it can get a bit addictive. Equipment, as you might expect, is more plentiful in the newer 159. The auto-lights are very good, the auto-wipers take some getting used to. Cruise control is still there and I think itís better in the 159 since moving the stalk up and down adjusts the speed, the ring-switch on the stalk in the GT was not the best although fine at the time. The onboard trip computer is better in the 159 as in the GT you had to scroll through each option by pressing the menu button on the stalk, on the 159 you press it a maximum of 3 times Trip A > Trip B > Off and the use the scroll function to get to what you want to see. Itís more intuitive than the GT system and you can see 2 things of your choice at the same time which is very useful.
Blue and Me in the 159 is good but I had a Parrot and the iPod connector in my GT and the B&M system doesnít give me anything more than I had except its OEM, it gives you the track information on the central display and voice control for the phone and the media player. The B&M foibles, documented on here are all true. When it works itís great but it has some problems sometimes.
Additional newer car features are Anti-hijack self-locking doors and an audible seatbelt warning rather than just a light in the GT. One thing I donít have in the 159 is a blind spot mirror and I canít work out why (other than it not being an EU requirement) but I sure miss it. Puddle lights on the front doors in the 159 are much more discretely mounted as they are on the underside of the door, I like them.
The GT got a lot of comments. The Ti gets a lot of comments. Both are beautiful cars.
Over the course of a week I do a mixture of country roads and motorway journeys, I averaged, over 1000 miles, 37mpg in the GT and I get 35mpg in the Ti. I am happy with that given that I drive it how I want and donít drive it to be economical.
The usable normal boot space (no seats down etcÖ) in the 159 seems bigger, it swallows suitcases and shopping and all manner of other everyday stuff with no problem and there is more floorspace than in the GT. The usable boot space in the GT, although a hatchback, seemed smaller due to the slope of the rear screen and the narrowness of the boot itself. The extended boot space (seats down) in the 159 is great but you have the problem of getting whatever you need to get in there through the saloon opening. This was also a problem in the GT since the opening into the boot was quite narrow but because it had a hatchback it was easier to get around. The 159, since it has the benefit of rear doors is so much easier to live with in terms of using the rear half of the car. The GTís front seats were heavy and trying to get in and out of the back seats to sort out children and fold down rear seats was a mither, there is no such hassle in the 159, this was the main reason for getting a 159 in my case.
We had 3 GTs in our family over 5 years, 2 Lussos and a Blackline and all were regularly serviced. The only problem I had with the Blackline was that at 40k miles the waterpump seized and shredded the belt, it seems to be quite common and it was fixed under warranty no problem. I have had my 159 for 2 months and so far she has given me a low oil warning, a ďhave engine checkedĒ warning and a flat battery. The dealer sorted out the oil by topping it up, cleared the ECU fault and changed the battery all under warranty. No problems since. B&M also refused to work which a reboot via the negative battery terminal resolved. I had the dealer align the wheels when I bought it to ensure the tyre wear issue doesnít occur, with 9500 miles on the clock both fronts and backs (Contisports) look brand new.
I loved my GT and I miss that delivery of power it had, its eagerness and the fantastic seats. But the 159Ti in Carbonio Black is the only car worthy of replacing it. I was tempted by a 318d for about a nanosecond but really it couldnít compare, sat there as cold as stone in a forecourt of other stones. So the 159 doesnít have a strange boomerang-shaped cupholder like the BM does, and thatís a shame but the moment I saw the 159 it didnít matter if it had boomerang shaped wheels, I absolutely love it and still do.