It's been a while since I posted, but thought I'd give a quick update as I've changed cars.
I could write a book on the last 6 weeks of decision making, but suffice to say after a ton of net research we decided on a 159TI Sportwagon. Could have been a Giulietta but too small for large dogs in the back with seats down.
2.0 jtdm or 1750 tbi remained the question until a trip to Veloces. (Actually I already knew the answer...). Enjoyed the diesel a lot more than I expected, but that Benzina Beauty is quite something.
It was very sad to say goodbye to the 156, and it knew something was up.
Before the frst trip to Veloces it used its boot catch to gash my head so we went via the local A&E for a bit of glueing up. Not once in 7 years had I ever hit my head on boot lid or catch. I think it was telling me it didn't want to go.
On the day of purchase, we part ex'd and after a superb drive down the A1, with a little final blast for the last half a mile, as I pulled up at Veloces the nearside front picked up a nail and it sat forlorn and dejectedly at the side of the road with a puncture!
Veloces got our money as they a) had the right car and b) were pleasant, knowledgable and enthusiastic about Alfas. They are busy guys, which was good to see. They probably get a few tyre kickers out for a Saturday fantasy, but they are attentive to everyone without being overbearing.
So now we have had the 159 for 3 days and am very impressed. I can really only compare it to other Alfas (we also still have a 916 3.0 spider and have had 146ti and 156 2.0 JTS SW) as we never test drove any other make. I wanted to, I really did...but they are all so dull/ugly/fussy it didn't seem worth it.
Compared to the Spider, well of course engine noise is gone but the pull is similar when you accelerate. It really does suprise you (pleasantly) with its eagerness coming off a roundabout or turning.
It cruises effortlessly and again like the Spider seems to always have bags of power ready in reserve for overtaking.
It feels as planted as the Spider - 'on rails' as they say.
The 156 had more body roll but was 'chuckable' and fun. That's probably more to do with time spent behind the wheel and knowing the car so well (did 130,000 miles in it!), and at the moment being conscious of a 'new' car I'm taking it a little easier in the 159 for now.
Early days of course, so please Busso fans don't shoot me down for the favourable comparisons. I'll always love the connection you feel with that V6 - but the thing about the 1750 is its stealth. From seemingly nowhere comes a rush of acceleration, as you let the turbo die back you can sense the car looking cheekily around and saying 'who, me?'.
Got to say thanks to all who have posted here about the engine and model, your musings and moans have really helped to reach what I think is the best decision.
Finally for now, I thought I'd share this, one of the articles I found on the net that helped sway me! I can only assume it was translated by a computer from another language before being posted:
Alfa Romeo undraped numerous outstanding developments heralding the re-launch of the firewood on the world travel. Agonist of the event was the new Alfa Romeo 159. The new 159 is premeditated to shipping a fair yet sexy personality and boasts agency holding and execution that set new standards for this grade of car. Two new engines in primary (a 200 HP, 1750 cc turbocharged petrol engine and a 170 HP 2.0 JTDM diesel).The new 1750 cc turbo petrol engine comes conjunct with a six motion manual case and boasts late kindling command solutions including straightforward supply shot.
Good Cars Specification: Alfa Romeo 159 1750 TBi User Manual