One last bow for a short era

2011-10-14 11:52

Alfa Romeo has launched a face-lifted version of the 159 as a final farewell to the model. It will now be replaced by the Giulia model next year. It’s rather sad that this car – launched in 2006 – never received the attention it deserved in South Africa.

It has always been one of the better-looking sedans but couldn’t compete with popular brands such as the Audi A4 or Honda Accord. This relaunched version looks almost unchanged compared to the previous generation.

The outside lines are slightly straighter while better quality materials and new shades have been used for the inside. However, sitting comfortably in any Alfa Romeo is still a problem. My legs are either too short or the Italians only cater for taller motorists.

The 159 is available in five models and two engine options – the existing 3.2 V6 and the 1750 TBi which is new to the range. I’m easy to please when it comes to good-looking cars, so naturally my eyes fell on the V6 model with its black 18-inch wheels.

And they do look rather pleasant in a matching black body-colour or that typical Alfa red. The grunt of the engine also crept under my skin. However, the 1750 TBi proved to be the starlet at the launch thanks to its daily drive performance.

Alfa Romeo has managed to shed some weight on the redesigned cars making them 45kg lighter. That makes a huge difference when it comes to driveability and handling.

The 1.75-litre turbocharged engine is a de-tuned version of the Giulietta engine, but it hardly makes a difference when driving. The 3.2-litre V6 is not new to the range, but it can now be mated with a six-speed auto gearbox as an option.

The TBi model features standard items such as cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, stability control, dual air conditioner, seven air bags and leather trim.

The V6 model boasts the sporty Turismo Internazionale (Ti) trim and comes with sport pedals, red brake calipers, heated sports seats, 18-inch alloys and dual chromed exhausts.

If you love this Italian beauty and have some money to spare, the TBi model can also be kitted with the Ti trim as an option.

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