Fun and style from

Alfa 159

WAY back when the first 156 was launched, the Alfa driving experience was second to none but some of those cars were rather unreliable to say the least.

With the 159 however, the company seems to have got its quality act together a lot better, but they are still not as reliable as the best.

However, the driving experience is second to none. I have just sent back a saloon with great regret and would love to own one.

The cabin is a marvellous place to be, the performance and road feel are wonderful and the overall ambiance is right up there with BMW, but in a totally different, stylish Italian way.

I drove the 2.0-litre JTD diesel, which is smooth, quiet and powerful, giving very good acceleration from almost any speed above 1,750 revs and excellent economy.

The six-speed gearchange is perfect, the clutch light and the steering superb. The handling and road holding are brilliant in every way and it even rides reasonably well at slow speeds in town. It's a cracker.

Brilliant leather seats hold in all the right places, the driving position can be perfect for all sizes and the cabin ambiance is wonderful.

Equipment is excellent, including climate, cruise, beautiful alloys, stereo controls and voice activation controls on the wheel and rear parking sensors. Go on, spoilt yourself.

: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles

: 10/10

: BMW 3-Series

FAST FACTS

Price: £22,275.

Mechanical: 168bhp, 1,956cc, 4 cylinder diesel engine driving the front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 136mph

0-62mph: 8.8 seconds.

Combined MPG: 52

Insurance Group: 10

C02 emissions: 142g/km

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