Bella arrived today 159 2.4JTDM
After nearly 3 months of a wait, she was ready to pick up this morning, and wow, was it worth the wait!
After 150 thrilling miles today, worries about significant turbo lag are now dispelled and to be honest, i have to say, its one of the most enjoyable cars ive had.
I agree with previous threads that the ride of the car has been tamed somewhat from that of the 156 when driven gently. I had a 156 2.0TS 2 years ago which was awesome. OK, the 156 tramlined over roughish surfaces but it really went were you pointed it. The 2.4 159 is very smooth at cruising and pretty frugal overall (40 mpg after 150 miles!). However, it really is the cats cahunas when being thrashed in 3rd gear on country roads. I took it out tonight along a B road and 3rd gear was alll that was required! The note from that 5 cylinder engine at 4K is something else and the torgue appears endless.
A few previous posts have debated about the best way to run the engine in. The dealers advice was "to drive it on"! So I have, and must admit loved it! Small bit of advice - dont turn off the traction control. I'm sure you all remember the "moose avoidance procedure" that nearly spelled the end of the top heavy A class merc. Well, in the 159 even with the TC on, the quick right at speed is so well handled its unreal. Just touch the white lines at the right side of the road to feel the TC cutting in and the tyres straining. However, exiting from the fast right (and i do mean fast!) into a fast left, things get quite hairy - a big tankslapper occurs and you get bags of understeer followed by a big tail out - things that are'nt (can't be) coped with by the TC. But, hey, if your driving capabilities are relying on TC to keep you stable, I suppose you should keep off the revs a bit!
Anyway, the engine is so sweet (even for an oil burner) its unreal. With ~3.5K rpm in 3rd with the turbo boost at >1 bar I turned off the stereo, wound the windows down and beamed with pleasure.It really, really is that good.
So after the joy of goofing about all afternoon, I tested out the practicality of the 159 (collecting wife & daughter, town driving, doing the shopping etc etc). And that's the bizarre thing. When you don't "drive it" it appears to be very lame and (to be honest) a bit disappointing. Without the turbo on boost, its a very tame town car . However, all you have to do is to drop them off and then go for a stonker of a run.
So are there any downsides? Well yes. Im still a bit worried about build quality based on one simple experience - I unloaded the shopping, pulled down the bootlid handle and low and behold the single self tapping screw that holds the interior bootlid handle came away. Im no engineer, but, come on Alfa, if you can make such a sweet engined oil burner, surely your can work out the basic loads required to close a bootlid! Minor I know, but jesus, 24.5K sterling later- c'mon lads.
Am i leaving it back to get the inner boot handle fixed tomorrow? No chance! Unfortunately (;-), Ive a 200 mile round trip to attend a meeting tomorrow without wife or daughter and I'm going to enjoy every single mile of it!