My 159 is in for its first service so Ive had the pleasure of taking a 1.9 JTDm GT for the weekend and would like to give an objective appraisal of the merits of both cars.
I love the 159, but having driven the GT, IMHO, the handling of the latter is in a different league to that of the 159. Ok, I accept that the 159 is much heavier, but the GT still feels sooooo much faster, albeit less refined than the 159. The handling of the GT is exquisite, the steering is so much more direct and handling a but more neutral than the 159. It makes me think that if AR could put the 159 on a diet, they really could have a world beater. Also, the suspension of the GT seems so much more assured than that of the 159. I've found my 159 to be really grippy but wallowly along backroads- it can cope with any amount of fast turns but really struggles with undulating roads, whereas the GT keeps shouting 'bring it on'.
However, the 1.9 engine in the GT seems to reach the limiter about 1K rpm too soon for me in each gear for me and consequently seems to yell " see what a great engine Ive got? - well you're not gonna get the full potential out of it" Perhaps its the 1.9 engine?
Other pluses to the GT are the seats, they really hug you tightly whereas the 159 appear to be for the fuller figure
However, IMO, the support for the upper leg is missing in the GT seats.
Downsides (which are very, very few IMO) for the GT are the cabin noise and the relatively poor finish of some plastic components in the cabin (eg, those covering the door mirrors towards the A pillar and those covering the finishing edge of the door towards the rear part of the cabin).
All in all, if i was single or childless, it would be the GT hands down, but ideally with a 2.4.
However, for me the 159SW just shades it for me in terms of practicality. Any 159 Ti owners care to comment if they feel the Ti has made the 159 more GT like?