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Hi all, I own an Alfa 156 2.0ts, recently i had the chance to drive a 159 2.4 jtdm Auto whilst my car was in for some insurance repairs, i just thought i would share my comparison of these cars.

Styling/looks: When the 159 was dropped off my first thought was wow, what a stunning car. I have always thought they are great looking and this one looked great in black. However after 2 weeks with the car, although i still think they are a very pretty car i started to noticed its a little bloated and over-sized from certain angles. This view was reinforced when i picked my 156 up again, it looked great having just been cleaned and polished and with the combination of veloce pack, 16" teledials and recently polished afla grey paint work i have decided i prefer the looks of my car. Having said that a "base" spec 159 does, IMO, look better then a base spec 156.

Performance: The 2.4l, 200bhp diesel engince in the 159 has some serious shove from low down the rev range, and the first few times i put my foot down i was very surprised at how quick it felt, and how much quicker it felt comapred to 150bhp 156. Bad points were that when you put your foot down you have to wait for the autobox to have a think about things before you accelerate, and for spirited driving any petrol engine (especially the revvy TS) is more fun. So on balance for driving enjoyment, the 156 beats the 159, but for overtaking ability and wafting the 159 was great. Although i will add as a side note the economy was, for a diesel, rubbish in the 159, i think i averaged about 31mpg, about the same or slightly worse then my 156.

Handling and ride: This is where the 156 really beats the 159 in my opinion. Althought the 159 never felt unbalanced or wobbly the 156 feels a millions times better, with nicely weighted steering with plenty of feel, compared to the 159 which felt over assisted and sluggish. Ride quality is pretty much the opposite though, whilst the 159 soaks up bumps pretty well, the 156 (with veloce pack) really lets you know when you have driven over a pothole or drain cover. However personally i would take hard ride/good handling over comfortable ride/numb handling anyday!

Interior: This is really a game of two halfs, whilst the 159 interior seemed better built and with clearer dash layout and more toys, the 156 just feels like a nicer, more special place to be. The seats in the 156 were more comfortable too (and look much better in tan leather :) )

So in conclusion, despite me thinking i was going to much prefer the 159 and think the 156 felt old and slow after driving it, my feelings are in fact almost the opposite! The 156 feels much more special and enjoyable to drive and having a responsive, revvy petrol engine is far more enjoyable then the diesel in the 159. The one thing i would swap is the out right turn of speed from the 159, looks like i need the V6 then...
 

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Good comparison.

I have a soft spot for the 156 (I have had 4 now) and when it came out the styling was groundbreaking.

I know the 159 is better in quite a few areas but I always thought it a step backwards styling wise. It is nice enough, but it doesn't have the same wow factor.

The 156 also got great petrol engines, where as the petrol units in the 159 left a bit to be desired (At least until the 1750TBi arrived)
 

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I owned a 156 for a few years and I think it is far purer are more "together" than the 159. I also found it, with standard spec wheels and tyres, to be a great compromise between ride/handling.

I would say in a few years the 159 will be a classic and the 159 will be looking dated.
 
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Can't agree with you on the seats but I think my old 156 was a match for my 159 in every area except build quality.
Off at a tangent here but your cars things says Sprint (a Dolly rather than sud if memory serves) and Amigo. Is this Amigo as in Costin Amigo?
 

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The 159 is a better car. Anyone who thinks a 156 TS is better is dreaming.

The 2.2 petrol engine in the 159 and Brera is excellent and far superior in performance and refinement than any 1.6, 1.8 or 2.0 TS so I am not sure what the above poster who said the petrols were rubbish, is smoking.

I have come from a last generation Alfa in the shape of a 147 and it is as clear as the day is bright that the newer generation are a far superior product in many ways.
 
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Ive only driven a 159 (1.9 JTDm LE 59 plate 8.5k) for about 5 miles but I thought it was a mahoosive improvement over my 156.
It was better in every department.
 

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Different strokes for different folks. 156 & 159 are vastly different any many of the characteristics of either will be equally liked and disliked by different people.
 
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Next year i will be getting a 159 2.4 jtdm, but after driving one i did realise its not so pointy and chuckable as my 156.But i need a bit more room so needs must...
 

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I thought it was quite a good comparison, although the 159 is bigger and more 'mature', I miss my 156 V6 for performance and noise (and engine) but i think it was Alfa's intention to make the 159 grown up, in safety, in ride (the veloce was quite bad for this!) and build quality and they made it quieter/refined inside, these came at a cost, but for me, it was something i was looking for in a car/Alfa, hence why I purchased one, although I find the seats in the 159 more comfortable than the ones i had in the 156, but the 156 had a better manual gearbox.
 

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Pretty much disagree with everything the OP said i'm affraid. I had a 156 2.0T/S veloce and can't tell you how much better the 159 is in every department. Put a 159 next to a 156 in a car park and the 156 looks slightly weedy imo.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my 156 and this is after all just my opinion but the 159 is way ahead of a 156. I don't think you will get many 156 to 159 owners who would rather go back to a 156. There will be some but not many.
 

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interesting comparison, jimmy.

i had a 156 for 4 years (2.0 JTS, late model so good for the full 165bhp) and loved it to bits. i changed it for a 159 1.9jtdm 12 months ago

i would say the 159 pretty much trounces the 156 in most departments. mine's modded to 194bhp and huuuuge torque so would eat my old 156 for breakfast. the 156 was probably slightly quicker than the 159 when it was standard, but only when going balls out at 7000rpm

for the 159:

it has comprehensively better brakes, in a totally different league to the 156

the 159 has much more grip, much less likely to understeer despite the weight and feels more sure-footed in the corners

the build quality is much better on the 159 - no squeaks or rattles, no loose bits of trim. the quality of interior materials is also in a different league to the 156

the suspension is much better judged. it's still fairly firm which i like, but has a bit of suppleness that was missing in the 156 which rode as hard as nails but was always hitting the bump stops and grounding out over yumps in the road. a pretty poor set up really

for the 156:

looks. the 159 obviosuly looks a lot newer and fresher, and has a lot more road presence due to its size and aggressive styling. but time will do the 156 more favours - it really is a stunnign design of car and will be remembered as quite possibly the best looking mass market saloon of all time

dash design - nowhere near as well put together as the 159 but a more individual design and a very 'alfa' place to sit

steering - slightly quicker rack in the 156, and a bit more steering feel


as for economy, it's no contest. my 156 used to average 28-30mpg in mixed driving, my 159 is averaging 42.

i do love the 156 and always will, but realistically it's completely outclassed by the 159
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Seems like most people disagree with me then, :lol: , remember i'm not saying the 156 is a better car then the 159, its probably not, i'm saying personally i prefer it as a place to sit and to drive.

Twissler, The 159 does look great and is far more agressive then the 156. I just feel it suffers a bit (not half as much as other cars mind you) from the slightly bloated look of modern cars when compared with the 156.

ACAPULCO AL, totally agree with you regarding the brakes, i had forgotten to write about that in my original post, They are not great on the 156 and far improved on the 159.

I pretty much agree with what you have written, its just on balance i prefer the 156 (i might be biased though). Regarding build quality, Whilst i agree that its better in the 159 i cant agree with the no squeeks or rattles bit. The one i had use of (admittedly its a hire car so has had a hard life) was a 57 plate with 23k on the clock and there were at least 3 different rattles, with a particulalry annoying one coming from somewhere in the back of the car. However i have lost count of the number of squeeks and rattles in my 156 :lol:
 

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Lighter, more direct & feelsome steering and a better gearchange are the only things a 156 has over a 159 (and I've owned both):)

I'd not be disappointed with a very later model 156 though:)
 

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Unsurprisingly, those with 159s seem to be the ones who disagree!

I've never driven a 159, so can't really comment, but on paper it just doesn't appeal to me. They probably should have given it a different name as it's not really an update of the 156, it's something different.
 

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Unsurprisingly, those with 159s seem to be the ones who disagree!

I've never driven a 159, so can't really comment, but on paper it just doesn't appeal to me. They probably should have given it a different name as it's not really an update of the 156, it's something different.
Yes but you will find that the ones who start these threads in the first place are 156 owners.:lol:

I don't think an "update" of the 156 was viable. The 156 fell down in too many areas especially safety. The 159 had to be completely new, not a newer feeling 156.

Having said that, the 156 was my first Alfa and I'm totally passionate about Alfa's now so it must have made a big impression.

The one thing I do miss about the 156 though, the engine. The 2.0 T/S is an amazing engine, and as good as the 1.9 diesel is in the 159 it will never even get close to the T/S.:cry:
 

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I don't think an "update" of the 156 was viable. The 156 fell down in too many areas especially safety. The 159 had to be completely new, not a newer feeling 156.
Well, I don't necessarily disagree, but I think they should have given it a different name to mark it as a distinctly different car, which it is.
 

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The one thing I do miss about the 156 though, the engine. The 2.0 T/S is an amazing engine, and as good as the 1.9 diesel is in the 159 it will never even get close to the T/S.:cry:
You need to try a V6. If you think the TS is amazing, you'll think a V6 is out of this world, especially the GTA engine. Its a shame they never made a 159 to match the 156 GTA in performance, I guess it would need to be supercharged or turbo'd or maybe a V8.
 

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It is also a shame that they didn't make the 3.2 159 just rear wheel drive instead of 4WD.

It would have saved weight, helped fuel economy and make the car better to drive in most instances.
 
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