When I was looking into buying the 159 I must have read hundreds of reviews.
Magazines like "What Car", "Autocar" etc. were quite negative about it leaning towards BMWs or Ford.
But looking further than the obvious, "Which?" gave it a very good review as did "Parkers" and "Honest John".
There was even a review by Clarkson in The Times that rated it higher than it's German rivals (I'm not sure if he even remembers the ratings he's given cars a couple of months later).
To be honest I was very much undecided until I saw a shiny black Ti driving around a roundabout. It really took my breath away. And even after the test drive for the 2.0 which I didn't get chance to put the car through it's paces properly, I was already sold. As far as I was concerned, if it moved when I pushed down on the accelerator that would be enough... I would be sitting in that beautifully designed cabin after having walked up to the car admiring it's lines with a smile on my face.
And luckily on receiving the car, the first time driving I pushed it a bit harder than I had on the test-drive, and I loved the results. Yes it feels a little more like an American muscle-car in the weight of it when your first pull away, but it has been fine-tuned and balanced very well, The handling only shows the weight of the car very occasionally and it is a very comfortable ride. The performance is very good considering it's weight once you get used to the way the gear ratios are set, so in that I would agree you need a little more time to appreciate what a good car it is.
Yes the economy could be better, but considering the way I drive it, the results are pretty reasonable. A colleague has a new BMW diesel and he gets very similar mpg to me because he also likes have a bit of fun on the drive into work.
Also, I don't know if it's because mine is a later built car, but there are no rattles or creaks, the car appears to have been built very well.
I think after having read the reviews of my car and been driven about enjoying the drab plastic interior of a friend's new Mondeo that felt thoroughly unspectacular for similar money. If that car can get 4-5 stars, I think we know who's buying the reviewer's lunches.