Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTDm Lusso - ALFA ROMEO 159 Car Review

Review

Added: 22 Jun 2006
Last update:

IF ever a car deserves an Oscar - this is it. The new Alfa Romeo 159 looks like a brooding Hollywood hero in a high-octane drama.

It stimulates your senses and stirs your soul as only a top-notch Italian sports saloon can.

The car's styling - the responsibility of design guru Giorgetto Giugiaro - is unforgettable.

The front of the car has an intense look with its three-lamp headlight clusters holding you in an unflinching stare while the Villa d'Este-style Alfa shield oozes class.

Its profile then rises along the sides to a high boot lid and mini-spoiler, creating a dramatic presence Marlon Brando would have been proud of.

Longer, wider and lower than its 156 predecessor, a side view of the new model reveals taut and graceful contours.

Interior space is dramatically improved with the 159 one of the class leaders for comfort and luggage space.

Up front there is plenty of leg and head room and in the back, passengers are generously catered for.

The boot swallows luggage long after you think it must be full and at 405 litres is 27 litres bigger than the 156.

Sit behind the steering wheel and the first thing you notice is the pods, vents and sound system angled towards the driver. There's also a luxurious feel and finish to all the switches and dials.

Adding to its visual delights are design details like the aluminium door handles - the rear hidden handles of the 156 having been abandoned - and stunning alloy wheels.

This is a driver's car demanding to be hurled into corners. It zips around country lanes like a demented badger.

The car has more grip than a drowning sailor and the suspension smooths out most of the bumps that litter our roads.

The interior retains an impressive tranquillity as little noise finds its way into the cabin.

The new Alfa treats the safety of its occupants seriously with electronic stability control to keep you on the road and front, side, and curtain airbags all fitted as standard in case you come off it.

There's also a bag to protect the driver's knees plus front-seat head restraints that move to minimise whiplash injuries. Crash testing by Euro NCAP saw the car gain a five-star rating for safety.

The 159 is packed full of goodies with the basic Turismo specification including electric windows, remote central locking, dual-zone climate control, stability control and a CD player.

The more luxurious Lusso trim adds leather upholstery and parking sensors.

There are nine versions of the 159 now available, costing from a little under £20,000 through to £28,195. Among the most popular will be the tested JTD Multijet diesel.

Its 1.9-litre engine produces 150bhp but averages a stress-relieving fuel economy figure of about 47 miles per gallon.

This engine is meaty with a maximum pulling power in hailing distance of the new 3.2-litre JTS petrol unit.

Alfa's new 'Premium' platform underpins the 159, and will be used for the upcoming Brera coupé as well.

The Italians reckon the 159 has what it takes to beat the competition - personally I think this handsome beast is a winner.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTDm Lusso 4dr

Price: £21,895

Mechanical: 150bhp, 1,910cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 130mph

0-62mph: 9.4 secs

Combined mpg: 47.1

Insurance group: 12

CO2 emissions: 159g/km

BiK rating: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 3yrs paint; 8yrs anti-rust

Words: Peter Keenan

Keywords: ALFA ROMEO, 159