A history lesson…
The unbelievably stunning Alfa Romeo 159 is one of the company’s finest hours. From 2006-2009, the production-run may have been short, but it was very, very sweet. Dubbed as the first properly ‘well-made’ Alfa in many a year, the 159 stole the show no matter where it was; Monaco, McDonald’s, Middlesbrough; it didn’t matter, the 159 just shined.
Yes, it was front-wheel-drive, and yes, on paper, BMWs and Audis destroyed it, but who cares? Just look at the thing; it’s as stylish and as cool as an Italian coffee being drunk by Hugh Lawrie. Being the replacement for the lovely but a bit boring 156, the pressure was one for the 159, and Alfa responded with a design that even God would have been proud of. If all you’re after is the epitome of cool, then the 159 has you covered… and then some.
Bang for your buck
Aside from the looks, the Alfa Romeo 159 comes fully-loaded with everything you’d expect from a modern day saloon. There’s plenty of space for kids and luggage, the ride quality is very good and don’t even get us started on the noise of the petrol engines. Audis soothe your brow; Alfa Romeo’s have a play downstairs; that’s the difference. Yes, technically the German’s are better cars, but if you want a saloon that will excite you every morning, there’s no better car than the 159.
So, the looks are impressive, to say the least, but the 159 continues to delight inside with the interior. The black on white design is not only beautiful, but well-made too. Couple that with the ultra-modern VVT petrol engines and super-frugal diesels, and you end up with a joyous drive.
What you’ll pay
Alfa Romeos, it has to be said, don’t have the best residuals and, as a result, a used 159 can be had for just £11,000 for an entry level 1.9 JTS Turismo on a 55 plate. While the fire-breathing 3.2-litre V6 will set you back about £16,000, but again, watch out for those insurance premiums.
What to check
159’s were very reliable cars, thanks to Alfa’s commitment to improve reliability, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check certain parts of the car. Press every electrical button; make sure they work. The clever on-board computer system should be in full working order, along with the air-conditioning and electric windows.
But without question, the most important part of a 159 to check for is the service history. This is essential!
Because the 159 has only just gone out of production, parts are easy to come by. Clutch assemblies are around £140, front and rear brake-pads are about £50 per set and replacement headlamps are around £145. Just remember that the dealer’s aren’t famed for their helpfulness, so always check for cheaper prices elsewhere first.
There are a lot of independent garages out there, so don’t always jump to the dealer.
How it drives
The 159 is a big saloon car, as a result, it does behave like a typical big saloon car. It’s quite heavy and is anything but a sports car through the bends; however, it does sounds absolutely superb, which just encourages you to plant the throttle. Because of its front-wheel-drive drivetrain, you’re not going to get the dynamic drive you get in a BMW, but that does mean you get a bit more space inside for passengers, which is always nice to have.
There are a range of engines to choose from; the 3.2 V6 is very thirsty but powerful, the 2.4-litre diesel is a fantastic option, as its powerful and frugal, while the 1.8 140bhp petrol can feel a little underpowered; but whichever engine you chose, you’ll be assured of a great driving car with bags and bags of style.