The new 159, got invited to a pre launch test drive, at Perry's portsmouth.
Well aside from the too big wing mirrors, and tiny rear view (hence the big wing mirrors?), and stereo not as good as my std 156 clarion jobbie it's.....
Fan - bloody - tastic.
The quality improvement seems great, so solid, a few area that might tizz later on but solid as a rock. And tha handling was great. I cannot believe how well it grips, and how flat it corners, on std suspension (against my sports suspension), good ride, but still firm enough to know your in a sports saloon, and the 150hp oiler was quick enough - (once of the line, it was a bit obscene how easily I was crusing at 80-90, you just didn't notice til I looked. More room inside though still a cocooned drivers seat (which I like) loads of kit even on the base model.
Overall the driving experience was fantastic, despite wet roads and roundabouts and a oil burner no hint of understeer. I loved it! If I had 25K spare!!! Nad quality is very improved - not audi/vw level, but good enough to compete with the germans.
The Back I prefer the 156 lines, but the front is FAB!
I loved it, what a fab way to spend half an hour and about 30miles! Would of lasted longer if it wasn't so easy (and fun) to drive fast (the salesman thanked me for an 'interesting' drive - well, I had to push it a bit, didn't I?)
Apparently the 2.4 200hp is Front drive only to start, (until they use up the contracted supply of some bits??), and then will become 4x4 only
Oh and he said that the TI versions will get the usual upgrades, but this time also get more powerful engines of the same size. lush!
The jammy get also got to go out to AR test track for 'training' on the new range, and to thrash all the models (though not GTA) around the test track. As I am still at work 13 hours after I started and with no one but the cleaners here, then I am defo in the wrong job!
If the prices were 5-10% lower, they would be onto a 100% winner, but even so, get a discount and it has to be the 159 if your buying a sport saloon!!
Oh, by the way,
I thought it was ...OK
Hold the rear end slide....don't run wide!
156 2.0TS Veloce Lthr (02/02), silver, black Momo, BMC filter,V6 intake, DS2500 Front-DS Perf Rear pads, Conti sportcontacts, OMP strut Brace
Built in Italy, on the last Friday before (hic) Xmas........:-/