Jim: i before e, except after c, and except in "weird".
I'm currently driving a 2000 156 Selespeed. I'm looking to buy a 159 within the next few months. I have a few concerns in terms of performance.
First, I've gathered that the 2.2jts Selespeed isn't exactly an 'upgrade' from what I'm driving. Figures show it's actually slower than my car. Any further input is appreciated.
I have similar concerns, as I'd also like to buy a 159, but after four years I still can't decide which engine.
The 2.2JTS (GM-based engine) has more power than the 156's 2.0TS (FIAT-based), but it's in a larger and heavier car, so you end up with much the same performance and slightly worse fuel economy (9L/100km). However, this is the only engine that comes with a Selespeed transmission - and being a newer Selespeed, it's improved in selection efficiency in a similar way to FIAT's Dualogic.
Second, if I go towards the 3.2, it's gonna have to be on an auto box. I have a lot of city driving, so manual is too much of a hassle. I'm wondering, is the 3.2 auto a leap in terms of performance? Is it an actual upgrade from the 2.0 Selespeed?
Looking forward to listening to your comments.
Certainly the 3.2V6 is a huge power upgrade from a 2.0TS - more than 100bhp more. Most are four-wheel-drive too, so you're getting a solid car. Fuel consumption will be heavy (14L/100km), and you can't have a Selespeed - it has to be the Japanese-made auto, which gives the usual smooth, slipping feeling of a torque converter.
The most common 159 model here in NZ is the 2.4 diesel with auto, which at least regains some of the fuel economy you'll be used to (about 8L/100km) but again, has that Japanese auto, which isn't what I want. I drove a 2.2 manual and had particular problems with the gearchange (baulky and sticky, kept crunching the synchro) and the clutch (several cm of free play).
The biggest reason to get a 159 to replace your 156 isn't the engine performance or the transmission, but instead the significant improvements in body rigidity that have allowed a softer-riding suspension and a more refined feeling in the steering particularly noticeable at higher speeds.
You have to be a bit careful about the equipment levels though; my 156 had gas HID lights (bought as genuine parts) and an iPod/Bluetooth interface - turns out that many 159s have only halogen lights and no provision for iPhone connectivity, and not the LCD touchscreen which you might have expected on a car of this age and price (my Stilo has one now). Only Ti models seem to have electric memory seats (all the 166s in NZ, and the four I owned, had superb chairs which I really miss.)
See my thread from a few months ago http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/alfa-...-4-diesel.html
- in which a couple of diesel owners agreed that petrol might be best for short-trip use of the 159.
So, I'm still hanging out for a 2.2 Selespeed 159 - there is one on our market, a 2007 Ti model for $30,000 (£15,678) - I tried offering $20,000 but the vendor wasn't impressed. There are a couple of 2.4 diesel autos also from 2007 on offer for $15,000, but they're not 'Ti'.
I also have to decide whether I should be trying to get a Sportwagon - for those times when I need to move bulky things. When the other car is a Spider, it can be a problem. Sometimes I wonder whether what I really need is an old Toyota van
This is the sort of conundrum that led me to the last-minute purchase of a FIAT 500 last year instead of a 159 I travelled 1500km to see... but that didn't end well for anyone (I stuck it out with the 500 for nearly nine months) - except perhaps for the guy that bought my 156.
I might have to wait another five years (and teach the 'other half' to drive a manual) - and then perhaps I can get a 1.75TBi 159, which seems by far the best version (just not available as a used car yet; I think there's still a few new ones on offer for about two years' earnings!)