Alfa Romeo 159 2.0

JTDM Elegante

FEW marques in the mass market attract the kind of love and loyalty that Alfa Romeo does.

It's a brand that enjoys the levels of reverence and devotion more commonly associated with supercars and their ilk.

The simple explanation is that Alfa's have always had that quintessential sense of Italian style, almost as if they were a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Maserati for the common man.

One might ask the question ‘why doesn't everyone have one in that case' and just like some of the world's greatest unexplained mysteries like the Bermuda Triangle or the Marie Celeste there isn't a definitive answer.

Alfas have perhaps been seen as having more style than substance and a period where the brand was dogged by poor reliability hasn't helped.

At one point Alfa looked like it was on the brink of breaking into the mainstream as a big player, its 147 and 156 won awards a plenty and sales soared.

Rather oddly the 159 has failed to capitalise on this and there's a certain irony given the fact many of those old reliability issues have largely been dispensed with.

Depreciation is another bugbear for potential Alfa buyers but from the outset one of the key aims with the 159 was to protect residual values, thus making it an attractive proposition for both private and fleet buyers.

While it doesn't have the open-mouthed awe factor of the Brera the 159 is a good looking saloon and like any Alfa it shouts sporting Italian style from pretty much every inch of its shell.

It also ticks plenty of boxes as a functional family saloon being open and spacious and well put together.

Compared to some of the Alfas of old it's a car that sits more comfortably alongside premium competitors.

Its interior features the swish Italian styling one would expect, with an emphasis on simplicity rather than over-complicating things.

Two new engines were recently introduced to the range a 1,750cc petrol unit and a 2.0-litre diesel.

This car had the 2.0 JTDM diesel and it performs well. It takes less than a second longer to complete the 0-62mph sprint the larger 2.4 JTDM model. It is similarly smooth and refined too, one of the great strengths of the 2.4-litre unit.

With combined fuel economy topping 50mpg it really starts to look like a very tempting option.

The 159 handles nicely and possesses enough of that magical sportiness that makes Alfas among the finest front-wheel drive sporting saloons around.

FAST FACTS

Alfa Romeo 159 2.0 JTDM Elegante

Price: £23,250

Mechanical: 170bhp 1,956cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox.

Max Speed: 136mph

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds

Combined MPG: 52.3

Insurance Group: 12

C02 emissions: 142g/km

Bik rating: 19%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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