I IMMEDIATELY fell under the spell of this Italian diva, to be sure there's plenty to fall in love with - but it's not just the distinctive face and sweeping lines of the gorgeous exterior that deserve all the plaudits.
Step into the cabin and the immaculate interior is a pleasure offering the prospect of comfort no matter how long the journey. The driving position is fully adjustable so it's easy to find one to suit, while the chunky controls for the radio/CD system and dual zone climate control are easy to use.
The 159 is more spacious than the 156 it replaced thanks to enhanced external dimensions so there's plenty of leg and headroom up front as well as a decent amount of room in the rear which means four adults can easily be accommodated.
If I had to offer up a criticism it would be a minor one and it concerns the boot. Yes it can cope with 405 litres of shopping, but it is not as large or well shaped as some of its German rivals.
The Alfa is fitted with a key-slot and push-button ignition system which fires up the five-cylinder 2.4-litre diesel engine. There's plenty of punch offered by the 200bhp beast and it races from 0-62mph in a shade over eight seconds on its way to a top speed of 144mph. In addition to the oil burner, three petrol engines and a 1.9-litre diesel are available.
As a result of sharing the Brera's reactive chassis and mechanical underpinnings the 159 handles well and is a joy to drive. The steering is sharp and offers excellent feedback.
There's plenty of grip and the car comes into its own on tight and twisty country lanes.
Safety is well taken care of with the 159 offering stability control to help keep it on the road, while front, side and curtain airbags, plus a driver's knee bag are fitted in case there is a bump.
There are also front-seat head restraints that move to minimise whiplash injuries and the model earned a five-star rating when crash tested by safety specialist Euro NCAP.
Every model is well equipped with the TI trim benefitting from cruise control and parking sensors. There's a high-tech hands free mobile phone system with voice recognition that allows you to operate a BlueTooth mobile via voice control and buttons on the steering wheel.
It also allows you to listen to your favourite songs from a USB stick or media player via a USB port in the glove box.
Other goodies include a sports leather steering wheel with audio controls and sports seats upholstered in leather that are electrically adjustable.
There's also aluminium sports pedals, plus 19-inch alloys featuring distinctive red brake callipers that, like the 159, are guaranteed to make an impression.
Alfa Romeo 159 2.4 JTDm TI 4dr
Mechanical: 210bhp, 2,387cc, 5cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox
Max speed: 144mph
0-62mph: 8.1 secs
Combined mpg: 41.5
Insurance group: 14
CO2 emissions: 179g/km
BiK rating: 25%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles, 3yrs paint; 8yrs anti-rust