Status: just fine, thank you
Join Date: May 2007
159 1750 TBi
|You are currently unregistered, register for more features.|
||Thread Tools||Search this Thread|
Finally, on the 2nd January my Brera went back to the dealer after the 3 years leasing.
Apart from a rattle, which appeared only on longer journeys and therefore could never be demonstrated to the dealer and therefore could never be fixed, it was 100 % reliable. (Not even a light bulb had to be changed during the 3 years.)
But man, did its "coupe-ness" get on my nerves over time!
I lost nearly all fun in driving over the last 2 years.
And because a 159 is pretty similar to a Brera (and I have had one before) I wasn't sure, if that would be the right choice for my next car. So for the first time in my life I test drove more than 1 car before an order.
My requirements were:
1 - saloon (the cars, I had fun with were saloons (156/159) / coupes were a failure (Nissan 350Z/Brera)
2 - decent to look at - not the contemporary "water corpse" look
3 - no switch, with which I have to decide between EITHER ride comfort OR throttle response ("DNA" etc)
4 - petrol engine around 200hp with manual gearbox
5 - (partly) beige interior
The first contestant was (brace yourself) .... VW Passat (shock - horror)
A few years ago I would never have considered that, but today: It's certainly not very pretty, but at least it's not ugly like the majority and - I think - not as dull as an Audi A4. The look from the front is not great, but I quite like the colour options for the interior. I would have been interested in the 210 hp version and got for the test drive .... the 120 hp version! I didn't expect it to move at all, but surprisingly it was relatively swift and the whole drive was very agreeable - even a bit fun. So far I haven't been a fan of the big shift of petrol engines towards turbo, but now I began to see the point.
I also would have liked to try the VW Jetta
Yes, that name evokes agony, to me too, but if you look at the new model: It's simple, but actually quite elegant. Unfortunately the interior looks very Golf class like.
Anyway - no Jetta for a test drive (or even only to look at) could be sourced anywhere.
Next up was .... Opel Insignia
I've never been an Opel (Vauxhall) hater (also because my brother drives them), so I had no bad preconceptions, but boy was it awful. A sea of cheap black plastic inside, uncomfortable seats and squeaks and rattles with every turn, braking or acceleration. Speaking of "acceleration": As you might have expected - instead of the 220 hp turbo engine I got the 140 hp non-turbo .... and it felt A LOT slower than the 120 hp Passat. The steering (and everything else) felt also very rubbery. After I described my experience to the dealer he insisted that I try his own Insignia V6 260 hp automatic. It was better, but still bad.
When I stepped back into the Brera after that, I had an astonishing impression of quality and solidity.
In that moment I began to consider another Alfa (159).
Well that was pretty much everything that met my requirements (Japanese saloons have only black interiors, French ones only diesel engines).
Although it breaks my rules, I decided to try the Mazda MX-5. I always had a soft spot for it, but the big problem was the missing fixed roof. But if the drive was as good as most people/magazines said, I was now prepared to make do with a hardtop or the folding hard roof version.
Of course I got the 126 hp version instead of the 160 hp I had asked for, but I was still excited ... for a moment.
Well, it drives like any other car - not worse, but also not better and quite dull. The 126 hp felt more like 80 and because of that the fact that it's rear wheel drive is totally irrelevant. And now the most surprising part: It has (honestly) the worst steering I have ever encountered. Not only is it 100 % dead (on most other cars today it is too), they managed to make it worse than that! It's hard to describe, but it feels as if during development they found the steering was to light and to make it heavier they didn't reduce the servo-assistance, but instead squeezed a piece of rubber into the bearing of the steering wheel.
(Because I couldn't believe how bad it was, after a completely new folding hard-top version I also tried the salesman's run-in soft-top version - it didn't help.)
So in the end it was a decision between VW Passat or yet another 159.
I asked my Alfa dealer for a test drive. At least in this case they can't give me a smaller petrol engine, because there is only one! Ha, ha, gotcha!
But well, they had none available at all! They told me they would call back.
Then in July I read in this forum about the stop of orders and production and rang my dealer, who told me that they were told about it by Alfa 1 hour ago. The last day to order a new 159 would be ..... the next day.
After a test drive of a few miles with a new 159SW of another customer in the evening I had the night to make up my mind.
In the end I had to accept that this is the last chance to order a new truly beautiful car (if I look at the direction of today's car design combined with EU legislation - probably ... ) forever.
(With all good Italian designers now under VW rulership, there might be enough opportunities to buy a VW in the future, but less so with Alfa.)
|159 , 1750 , tbi|
|Thread Tools||Search this Thread|