Well hello from a complete Alfa newbie and long term BMW owner. Yes the Beemers a good car but I'm so bored with it. I call myself a petrol head and have admired Alfas from afar for many years so it's about time I bought one. I also happen to think the 159 is the best looking saloon car on the road today but I need some advice on which one.
Needs to be petrol and reasonably quick so either a 1.7 TBi or a 3.2 V6. Overall running cost including depreciation and maintenance is more important than fuel economy as will be doing less than 10k pa.
Now, I like the V6 because it's V6 so should sound good and has Q4 as an option. However this all adds weight to an already heavy car and the economy is cataclysmic.
I like the 1.7 TBi because it's lighter and presumably more nimble but I've never owned a fwd car before and am concerned about all the usual stuff such as under steer, torque steer, loss of traction etc all of which may be a non problem in a properly sorted modern car with LSD.
Any advice appreciated as I'm going round in circles here and there's a Porsche 968 Sport on Piston Heads that's starting to look tempting.
out of the choices you've outlined I'd probably pick the 1750TBi.
The engine doesn't sound as charismatic as a thumping great V6, but if you want a proper Italian V6 you need to be looking for a 156 GTA (which BTW I would highly recommend!!) where the V6 in the 159 isn't so Italian - it still sounds like a V6 though, which a 4 cylinder turbo can't do.
Practicality wise the turbo lump is lighter by around 100kg so you will appreciate the difference.
Road tax is about half the price, you'll get better gas miles and probably longer tyre life (due to lower weight) on the fronts as well, so it will be an all round better vehicle - servicing is of course easier / cheaper and the TBi has less oil and less spark plugs to change.
You could go Q4 in the V6 where you can't on TBi, but to me other than that one day a year where its a bit icey / snowy or if you're driving like a complete helmet, you're very rarely going to use the additional grip that gives, so for the other 364 days a year you're just hauling additional weight. That's my opinion - if you like that idea of AWD by all means test one.
As others have said though, maybe consider the 2.4JTDM - its not a dieselly as you might expect. Its a 5 cylinder, so nice and smooth - actually sounds good as well - road tax is slightly less than both petrols your interested in, admittedly the nose weight is back up there with the V6 but will be better gas miles. The biggest bonus with the 2.4 is they're much easier to come across so you could have one for cheap.
The 2.4 has a very, very strong gearbox, it even won a fight against Chuck Norris once, so you can get the 2.4 remapped, have as much power as the V6 - or even more - get better MPG and half the road tax.
All I would say is test drive and see which one takes your fancy. I understand if you want to stick with petrol, that's personal preference and I wouldn't shoot you down for doing it by any means, but seriously just give a 2.4 a good test drive before you do