I've said this before but it's worth reiterating. After my 156 got totalled, due to our excellent insurance, we were entitled to another premium brand car. We could have had an Alfa but all the 2.4 159 / Brera / Spider's they had were off the road because of engine warning lights (DPF's probably)
We got given a new BMW 320D M Sport. It broke down the first night with a TPS sensor problem. They replaced it like for like and we had it for the best part of six weeks, inc. several trips to Wales. The car was inoffensive. Could be described as tepid. Seats were too thin, plastic & carpets (especially the boot carpet) felt cheap and nasty. Car felt built to a price.
Drove OK but nothing to rave about. Fuel consumption was truly excellent. Despite driving everywhere in sport mode with our foot to the floor style it was giving 40+mpg
Loved the cup holders and the ease of use of the stereo / bluetooth and the car in general (no need to read the manual).
Then we saw the 159. It truly knocks the spots of the BM. The ride, even on the Ti is miles better. Handling is on a par (different sensation due to Fr / Rr drive - BM had sharper steering though).
Quality and choice of materials is so much better on the Alfa, as are the brakes. A tad more interior stowage space and a simpler to use B & M system (although functionally miles better than the BM, especially the voice functions) would be welcome though.
Overall, and as a private buyer with c£25k to spend, I'm so glad I got the 159, and in petrol form too