Re: More 159 details
It does seem that sometimes Alfa is damned if they do and damned if they don't.
159 is what was needed as a 'safety shot' to help improve the company reputation in the reliability/build quality areas, whilst they sorted out the customer service/dealer/backup issues. Its shape is clearly derivative of the 156, but that is no loss, its a great shape and one with which no BMW or Merc in the same price bracket can compare.
My ONLY issue with 159 is that it should have been a direct 156 sized replacement. This is Alfas natural territory, its one with a much bigger market than the next size up. 156 was not beefy enough..159 is proving a tad over beefy, and to beat BMW its not good enough to be as good as or nearly as good as BMW, it either has to be measurably better than, or different enough to be unique.
I reluctantly agree about the RWD, though its what gives BMW some of its less endearing on limit handling, it is a successful marketing tool, and RWD does increase the 'Clarkson Quotient' which appeals to quite a few buyers.
159 is progress without a doubt, but not entirely in the right direction..and yes i'd love a Ti if I had the dosh. I'm not really attracted to BMWs, though I accept they produce many excellent cars.