Q Tronic gearbox review 159 2.4 JTDM
After the joys of my last few days I have been surprisingly informed that I am one of very few or possibly the only current member with a 159 q-tronic box.
So here is a review!
Firstly, lets not pretend it is a manual. Its an auto box. I have driven manual cars all my life and this is only the second auto I have owned (the other a SAAB 93). The reasons for buying an auto are very individual but for me driving mostly in west london I once counted over 200 gear changes on a 6 mile journey from home to work. Enough.
The Q-tronic is well explained on the Alfa website, but in normal D mode at low speed is very very smooth. it is hard to even notice gear shifts. Once moving a little faster 4, 5 and 6 you can feel them but still very refined. If you get a little heavy and the box kicks down for you it does so quickly and the power is right there. It will then hold this lower gear for perhaps 5 or 6 seconds after you have throttled off before changing up again. This is odd to start with but is very handy for keeping you "revved up" if you need the power again. It is much longer than any other auto I have driven and i like it.
Shifting into "manual mode" is easy - slide stick to right, push forward for bigger numbers and pull back for smaller numbers. It "bings" if you try and change up or down well outside the engine range. I use it a little more than i thought, mainly because it is simple and needs no thought to get right. Braking hard and the gears drop downwards and are noticeably slowing the car.
In sport mode the whole engine/gearbox appears to alter. the smooth shifts vanish and become sharper, revs stay in the power band all the time. I am sure it eats fuel but it is a heap of fun. You couldn't leave it in sport by mistake, the difference is very noticeable. Whilst the up and down shifts are faster it will still hold a lower gear a while if you throttle off and shifts down if you brake, much more so than in D
Winter mode is there, but it's summer so who knows.
The key will not release unless in PARK, which is fine by me although it makes starting the engine if you stop it in traffic or a long queue a dull exercise. Not a regular event i suspect.
The finish of the Q-tronic interior is very nice as well.
Hope this helps anyone considering the q-tronic option. Questions welcome.