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(Post Link) post #1 of 25 Old 11-10-11 Thread Starter
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4WD 159 sportwagon

I bought my Alfa 156 after my Subaru Legacy got stolen and wrecked. It was a cheap car to get me to work and back while I waited on the insurance being sorted out.
Now, I really like the Alfa. It's the comfiest car I've ever driven, but I loved having 4WD in Scotland last winter. It is incredibly safe and surefooted, and I always planned to go back to 4WD.
Now I find out that Alfa make a (or made a?) 4WD car in the 159. Saw this one Veloces of London : ALFA ROMEO 159 2.4 JTDM Q4 TI 5DR..4 WHEEL DRIVE..

It looks lovely, and would tick all the boxes for me. I'm assuming someone on here has one, so I'm just enquiring how you rate it? Also, this car has been upped in the power stakes. Wise move or not in terms of reliability?

Cheers.
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I test drove a 159 sportwagon last year, and it does feel very different from the 156. Much heavier car, feels more solid and "grown up". Not so chuckable.

From all I have read on here in the last few years, these engines are pretty strong, and a mild bit of tweaking does no harm. The most common modification at the moment is to remove the DPF and EGR/remap to release more power, make it drive better, improve MPG and remove the clogging/limp home issues that can occur with these diesals.

In my opinion, based on absolutely zero practical experience of actually owning one, buy it, before I do.

Silver 156 GTA SW, Q2, Koni FSD's, Eibach springs and anti-roll bars, CDA induction, re-map, Wizard/Pud exhaust - fantastic!
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I (my wife mostly drives) have a 3.2JTS (ie: petrol) 159SW Q4 Ti QTronic (auto). My wife insisted on an AWD vehicle, though not necessarily an Alfa. To me, the Alfa was the natural choice! She drove a Subaru Impreza 2.5 before.

OK, we don't 'need' AWD in my part of Australia like you might, but we do value the extra sure-footedness in wet weather.

Overall, a great car. Not 'huge' inside, but enough for us, with one infant and all the gear that goes with that. Very solid and refined. Ti-spec is lovely, though tyres are expensive.

From what I've read, the 2.4JTDm isn't hugely economical as a city car. Start-stop driving - especially if you like to accelerate 'enthusiastically' - consumes a fair amount, so do some research. But on the highway, as a cruiser, it will sip fuel. If it's mostly a city car, the petrol is probably not far behind in economy/petrol costs, though I believe you might have different taxes on diesel vs petrol, still swaying it in favour of diesel.


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what kind of winter tyres are you using on the 156 in the scotland winters?
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I've had my 2.4 JDTm Q4 for about 6,000 miles now, and I'm very very happy with it. Some points to note:

You'll need to make a decision quick. It won't sit on the forecourt for long at all. You'll probably need to put down a deposit over the phone.

There are 17 in the country in TI spec according to HowManyLeft, (if you believe it), however I'm not panicking about parts availability, as they will share most of the components with the V6 Q4, and there are many 2.4 Q4s on the continent (used as police cars IIRC)

It'll feel like an absolute tank compared to the 156. Very solid, very 'planted'. Arguably less 'sporty and chuckable'. Whether you like that or not is up to you.

It weighs about 1700 kgs dry, so the fuel consumption is pretty high (even on the motorway). You won't get the 42mpg it says in the add, even with the Mangos box. Mine is at about 35 mpg without remap. I'm not sure if the Mangos upgrade includes DPF removal and EGR blanking as per the Alfatune upgrade.

The Q4 system is extra weight in the dry, but is great in the wet. No fuss or drama. Have yet to experience my first winter, so don't know what it'll be like in snow. I suspect the biggest issue will be lack of ground clearanee in the snow.

Hope this helps

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(Post Link) post #6 of 25 Old 12-10-11 Thread Starter
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thanks guys.
A-Team, I've not ran through a winter with it yet and tbh I don't do winter tyres. 10 years as a courier in all conditions in a Peugeot 305 van doing 150K miles a year taught me all I know not to need them. The winters were even worse back then too. I'm not saying they're a bad thing, as I know they offer much better grip, but I don't feel I need them. I used my MR2 all winter for years when I had one and never got stuck. Maybe I'm a bit perverted, but I love the challange lol.
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(Post Link) post #7 of 25 Old 12-10-11 Thread Starter
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Just posted on at the same time as you there Red.
I know what you mean about the less chuckable feel. All AWD cars I've driven felt like that apart from the Celica GT4. I guess it's purely to do with the weight? 4WD is always a lees exciting ride then F or RWD and the mpg is usually always worse, but it's all a compromise isn't it?
I'm not looking to buy right this minute, really just deciding which car to go for. I swear if I won £50K I probably woudn't be able to decide on what car to buy.
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thanks guys.
A-Team, I've not ran through a winter with it yet and tbh I don't do winter tyres. 10 years as a courier in all conditions in a Peugeot 305 van doing 150K miles a year taught me all I know not to need them. The winters were even worse back then too. I'm not saying they're a bad thing, as I know they offer much better grip, but I don't feel I need them. I used my MR2 all winter for years when I had one and never got stuck. Maybe I'm a bit perverted, but I love the challange lol.
So if you don't see the need for traction to accelerate nor steering and braking, why do you want a 4wd car? 4wd gives you less performance and economy and the only thing you get in return is traction on more wheels.
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How do you get less performance from 4WD? In terms of economy yes, but you've listed economy. 4WD is safer on todays roads. No question about it. That's why I like it. I don't drive my 156 like I did my Legacy.
Winter tyres are a big cost because you need extra wheels too unless you enjoy swapping tyres for fun.
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How do you get less performance from 4WD? In terms of economy yes, but you've listed economy. 4WD is safer on todays roads. No question about it. That's why I like it. I don't drive my 156 like I did my Legacy.
Winter tyres are a big cost because you need extra wheels too unless you enjoy swapping tyres for fun.
You get less performance because of powerloss with the 4WD. If on top of that you use the wrong tyres, you can't steer or brake properly or safely.

A set of 156 alloys are less than 100 punds on ebay. Winter tyres don't cost more than summer tyres. I know that cars are cheap in the UK, but an Alfa 159 AWD must be more expensive than 100 pounds. Plus it will use more fuel.
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You're talking about efficiency, not performance.
You can brake and steer on normal road tyres in the winter.
Thanks for your input, but if you'll excuse me, I'm done talking about winter tyres if you don't mind.
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I've heard the q4's aren't very robust off road. Think it was something to do with the diff . Won't be a rugged as the legacy
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Quote:
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You're talking about efficiency, not performance.
You can brake and steer on normal road tyres in the winter.
Thanks for your input, but if you'll excuse me, I'm done talking about winter tyres if you don't mind.
I think he's right about the performance, the 4wd system in the 159/Brera increases the drivetrain losses by approx 12% over the FWD equivalent - so that is equivalent to 25-30bhp less going to the wheels
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I've heard the q4's aren't very robust off road. Think it was something to do with the diff . Won't be a rugged as the legacy
Well, my TI has so little ground clearance, that it can barely struggle over sleeping policeman, let alone go off road . You would NOT want to take it anywhere you wouldn't want to push it out of

So far, my 'off roading' experience has been parking in a field at Santa Pod, and even then I was wincing

As for performance, a FWD 159 will be faster, for all the reasons given above. The only area in which it will be 'faster' is wet weather cornering, and TBH I ain't about to explore those limits. For me it was about safety, and the ability to get about (carefully) when it snows.

Oh, and the looks
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I didn't post about winter tyres to upset anyone, I'm just mentioning since using the correct tyres is the cheapest and safest way to deal with snow.

4wd with winter tyres would be the best in snow, but in many conditions 2wd with the right tyres is fine - and safer than 4wd with the wrong tyres.

I just thought I would mention it as a cheaper alternative to getting a new car. If you don't care about tyre grip that's none of my business. As far as I know it's legal to use summer tyres in the snow in the UK (in some other countries it's illegal since it's considered dangerous).

I think a 159 Q4 would be fun in the snow and the snow would be the only reason I would choose a Q4 over FWD. The 159 Ti also looks great.
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I have driven a 159Ti 3.2 FWD manual saloon, on an extended test drive (no salesperson in the car). Compared with our QTronic AWD 3.2, the manual FWD is 'a little quicker', but not astoundingly-so. Not enough to make me want the FWD, put it that way. It is not quick/urgent like a 147/156GTA or 3.2 GT.

If outright acceleration and economy are not your top priorities, then Q4 makes sense to me. Especially if you want the extra grip.

Also realise that the Q4 is RWD-biased. It is something like 41:59 F:R from memory. Accelerating out of a tight corner, you can feel the rear hunker down. The FWD will be relatively 'understeery' I expect.

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Thanks Guys again. I didn't do any offroading in my Legacy either, it was lowered so wouldn't have gone anywhere off road.
A-Team, please don't think I was upset, you know how it is with forums and typing.
The rear bias sounds like good fun.
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4wd with winter tyres would be the best in snow, but in many conditions 2wd with the right tyres is fine - and safer than 4wd with the wrong tyres.
+1

The OP's attitude to winter tyres is a bit cavalier.

I once boiled off my Ducati's brake fluid at Cadwell Park and had to ride home to London at the end of the track day with the use of the rear brake only. I managed it through anticipation and controlling my speed but I would never dare to say I am such a good rider I no longer need brakes. Sure I may as well take them off and save some weight.

In snow, winter tyres are the rubber to be on. End of.
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There's a cracking thread on PH about winter tyres. Someone makes the point that the costs are reduced or negated as you just get extra wear out of your usual tyres that are tucked up in the garage over winter. The tyre compounds are supposedly different, someone mentioned Silica amounts.
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There's a cracking thread on PH about winter tyres. Someone makes the point that the costs are reduced or negated as you just get extra wear out of your usual tyres that are tucked up in the garage over winter. The tyre compounds are supposedly different, someone mentioned Silica amounts.
You Brits are excused because you have been used to warm winters but it is kind of funny reading some of the things people say about winter tyres.

Where I'm from, winter tyres are not just discussed on obscure motor enthusiast boards, it's common knowledge by pretty much every car owner that they are better in snow.

I'm frankly amazed by the attitude to and (lack of) knowledge about winter tyres in the UK. As far as I know in northern continental europe and scandinavia pretty much everyone uses winter tyres.

There is no reason not to except the time spent changing them twice a year. It could even save you money if your summer tyres are expensive low profile tyres on bigger alloys. Saving money is cheaper than buying a 4x4 car for thousands of pounds

I've seen people on UK forums say that BMWs are bad in the winter. No they aren't it's because the drivers are trying to use run flat summer tyres on snow. FFS.

On one hand it's an entertaining perspective. On the other I feel bad about all the accidents that are caused by people driving around with summer tyres in the snow. And if you try to skate around on summer tyres on roads in continental europe on a skiing vacation it could land you a fine depending on which country you are in.
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I wonder if they'll still be offering the Q4 159 when I change my car in just over 2 years.
It would be a good call.
But in the meantime +1 for winter tyres.
I'll be swapping tyres on november 1st. Yes it's a pain because I don't have a 2nd set of wheels, but over the time I keep the car, (5 Years) the cost of swapping tyres is less than a set of 18" alloys, (plus it still looks good on its alloys)
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.../...the cost of swapping tyres is less than a set of 18" alloys, (plus it still looks good on its alloys)
I have a set of very cheap plain steel skinny wheels for the winter tyres - that has the added benefit of allowing snow chains when I go to the Alps.

Since I moved from a 156 to a GT two years ago, the wheels have paid for themselves as this is already the 6th year I have been able to use the same set of wheels (not tyres thoufh ).
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I wonder if they'll still be offering the Q4 159 when I change my car in just over 2 years.
It would be a good call.
It appears they ceased making the Q4 with the end of V6 JTS production, and they made very few LHD Q4 Oilers. Currently you can only get TBi and 2.0 JDTm 159s new, and it appears they've ceased production of LHD 159s completely

No reason why you won't be able to pick up a second hand one though
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+1

The OP's attitude to winter tyres is a bit cavalier.
I don't agree with your comment. I just don't feel I need them, as I don't live up a steep hill, or down a long side street that is untreated in the winter. The roads are gritted so I don't drive on snow. If we had to drive on snow, just like they do in Finland, then studded tyres would be the norm.
Of course winter tyres are better in Winter, but I'm never in the situation that I think "damn, I wish I had winter tyres on." My mother lives up a steep hill that never gets treated in the winter. Here Merc couldn't get up the hill on normal rubber, but the winter tyres she fitted did the trick. A genuine need for them was there, so they were fitted.
Driving in Europe in the middle of winter is not the same as driving in the UK.

So, how about a Q4 on winter tyres then???
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So, how about a Q4 on winter tyres then???
That would indeed be the dog's small spherical objects.

I think you are labouring under a misunderstanding of what winter tyres are. They are NOT studded. They are simply a different rubber compound with tread blocks designed to move more and create heat. They offer significantly improved performance on all road conditions (snow, rain, and even dry) below 10° C.

I've taken great pleasure in overtaking in my battered old Pug 205 (2WD, snow tyres) uphill past VW Touregs with all four wheels spinning uselessly on the slippery surface.
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