Alfa Romeo Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I've never been a very busy poster, but over the last 2 years I nearly didn't post at all.
That long post - about the decision process for my second 159 - might make up for it, but if you want to save you a lot of moaning or if you're a Brera driver it might be better if you scroll down to the pictures.



Finally, on the 2nd January my Brera went back to the dealer after the 3 years leasing.
Apart from a rattle, which appeared only on longer journeys and therefore could never be demonstrated to the dealer and therefore could never be fixed, it was 100 % reliable. (Not even a light bulb had to be changed during the 3 years.)
But man, did its "coupe-ness" get on my nerves over time!
I lost nearly all fun in driving over the last 2 years.

And because a 159 is pretty similar to a Brera (and I have had one before) I wasn't sure, if that would be the right choice for my next car. So for the first time in my life I test drove more than 1 car before an order.

My requirements were:
1 - saloon (the cars, I had fun with were saloons (156/159) / coupes were a failure (Nissan 350Z/Brera)
2 - decent to look at - not the contemporary "water corpse" look
3 - no switch, with which I have to decide between EITHER ride comfort OR throttle response ("DNA" etc)
4 - petrol engine around 200hp with manual gearbox
5 - (partly) beige interior

The first contestant was (brace yourself) .... VW Passat (shock - horror)
A few years ago I would never have considered that, but today: It's certainly not very pretty, but at least it's not ugly like the majority and - I think - not as dull as an Audi A4. The look from the front is not great, but I quite like the colour options for the interior. I would have been interested in the 210 hp version and got for the test drive .... the 120 hp version! I didn't expect it to move at all, but surprisingly it was relatively swift and the whole drive was very agreeable - even a bit fun. So far I haven't been a fan of the big shift of petrol engines towards turbo, but now I began to see the point.

I also would have liked to try the VW Jetta
Yes, that name evokes agony, to me too, but if you look at the new model: It's simple, but actually quite elegant. Unfortunately the interior looks very Golf class like.
Anyway - no Jetta for a test drive (or even only to look at) could be sourced anywhere.

Next up was .... Opel Insignia
I've never been an Opel (Vauxhall) hater (also because my brother drives them), so I had no bad preconceptions, but boy was it awful. A sea of cheap black plastic inside, uncomfortable seats and squeaks and rattles with every turn, braking or acceleration. Speaking of "acceleration": As you might have expected - instead of the 220 hp turbo engine I got the 140 hp non-turbo .... and it felt A LOT slower than the 120 hp Passat. The steering (and everything else) felt also very rubbery. After I described my experience to the dealer he insisted that I try his own Insignia V6 260 hp automatic. It was better, but still bad.
When I stepped back into the Brera after that, I had an astonishing impression of quality and solidity.
In that moment I began to consider another Alfa (159).

Well that was pretty much everything that met my requirements (Japanese saloons have only black interiors, French ones only diesel engines).

Although it breaks my rules, I decided to try the Mazda MX-5. I always had a soft spot for it, but the big problem was the missing fixed roof. But if the drive was as good as most people/magazines said, I was now prepared to make do with a hardtop or the folding hard roof version.
Of course I got the 126 hp version instead of the 160 hp I had asked for, but I was still excited ... for a moment.
Well, it drives like any other car - not worse, but also not better and quite dull. The 126 hp felt more like 80 and because of that the fact that it's rear wheel drive is totally irrelevant. And now the most surprising part: It has (honestly) the worst steering I have ever encountered. Not only is it 100 % dead (on most other cars today it is too), they managed to make it worse than that! It's hard to describe, but it feels as if during development they found the steering was to light and to make it heavier they didn't reduce the servo-assistance, but instead squeezed a piece of rubber into the bearing of the steering wheel.
(Because I couldn't believe how bad it was, after a completely new folding hard-top version I also tried the salesman's run-in soft-top version - it didn't help.)

So in the end it was a decision between VW Passat or yet another 159.

I asked my Alfa dealer for a test drive. At least in this case they can't give me a smaller petrol engine, because there is only one! Ha, ha, gotcha!
But well, they had none available at all! They told me they would call back.

Then in July I read in this forum about the stop of orders and production and rang my dealer, who told me that they were told about it by Alfa 1 hour ago. The last day to order a new 159 would be ..... the next day.
After a test drive of a few miles with a new 159SW of another customer in the evening I had the night to make up my mind.
In the end I had to accept that this is the last chance to order a new truly beautiful car (if I look at the direction of today's car design combined with EU legislation - probably ... ) forever.
(With all good Italian designers now under VW rulership, there might be enough opportunities to buy a VW in the future, but less so with Alfa.)



Well here it is: Alfa 159 1750 TBi (sorry for the dull light, the car had no polish so far and it's even not very clean, but it's the best I could managed so far.)
It's hard to tell, but the colour is actually rosso competizione.

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=27392&original=1&c=member&imageuser=22576

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=27393&original=1&c=member&imageuser=22576

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=27394&original=1&c=member&imageuser=22576

http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/gallery/displayimage.php?imageid=27395&original=1&c=member&imageuser=22576

My first impressions:

To get it out of the way - the one bad thing are the seats: I'm also now in the club of the people, who have trouble getting comfortable in the standard seats. After 3 weeks I might have found a setting that seems to be ok for my daily 20 mile drives. What happens an longer journeys remains to be seen.

Apart from that all is well. As far as I can see the build quality is a lot better than on my first 159 from 2007 - even better than the Pininfarina-build Brera.
And unbelievably NO RATTLES at all ! Knock on wood (till fingers are bleeding)!
No lowering and 17" wheels -> decent ride quality and zero tramlining.
Although sceptical at first, I like the 1750 TBi engine more and more. I even like the sound characteristic: Very silent when cruising along and very individual and distinctive when challenged.

I have now hope find fun in driving again, but will wait till my next tour to the Alps in spring/summer for a final verdict.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
269 Posts
Nice post - thanks

You will enjoy TBi - it is very nice engine apart from fuel consumption if not driven carefully.

No major probs in two years on mine either (touch wood!)

PS

Nice alloys - what are these?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
...
PS
Nice alloys - what are these?
They're just a set of RONDELLs for the winter tyres, which I carried over from the Brera. I haven't paid much attention to them so far, but they suit the 159 quite well.


... Keep us updated on consumption.
I will ... and I will also post a "teaser" on the "Definitive mpg thread" shortly. :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
....Love the number plate! :cool:
Oh yes, I'm pretty proud of it. :D
(The first letters represent the district where the car is registered and are given.)
The rest can be reserved via internet out of a certain pool of combinations for 2 months.
I found that one by accident about 2 years ago, at a time when I assumed that I wouldn't have a 159 as my next car. But as a "precaution" I reserved it anyway and managed to renew the reservation every 2 months after that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
307 Posts
I sat in my mates brand new Merc c250 AMG sport last night. One hell of a car which would have probably fitted your description of 200bhp petrol saloon.

Whats the mpg like on a 1750tbi in a 159?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
498 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
Thanks, but as long as my children (which I haven't got yet) are not in an old people's home, I can't imagine driving a Mercedes. ;)

I'm at 29 mpg at the moment, but it's hardly run in yet.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top