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Just why is it blasphemous to shoehorn a diesel into an Alfa? Are we still stuck with the notion of diesel being dirty, unrefined and taxi-like in character? Will most shy away from the unbefitting aural nature of this beautiful, sexy Italian sedan?

20 Oct 2008

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Interestingly, it's named after the famous Alfetta 159, a Formula 1 car conceived in the post-war era, styled by Giugiaro of Ital Design. Taking after the 156, much of its blueprint heritage has been preserved. Aside from losing those hidden door handles and enlarging its proportions, that is, with height being an exception. The sharply creased front wing leads the eye of the bystander towards a higher shoulder line that dramatically drops onto the front air dam, giving it a menacing stance.

More than anything else in its price range, the 159 has an overtaking presence that no Mondeo, 3-series or C-class rocket can provide. Those beady-eyed headlights and that shark-like front grille will be very daunting to anyone but the richest, most aggressive supercar owner.


Onto a more subjective topic. Many have come to think of this car's cabin as being dated and counter-evolutionary for an Alfa. But to a large extent, it still is a refreshing alternative to the austere, executively set interiors of Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Saab or Volvo. Build quality has vastly improved, and now, anyone over 160 cm tall receives very decent amounts of rear head and legroom.

It isn't much better than, say, a Volkswagen Jetta or the equivalent Volvo. However, in addition to folding rear seats, boot space is almost on par. It's much bigger than anyone would have expected, and it endows the 159 with large amounts of carrying capacity.

Dual-zone climate control is of course, standard, and so are electric seats for both driver (with memory) and passenger. There's a sensor for air-quality, amongst other accessories like Bluetooth capability, parking sensors, and lovely colour-coded leather interiors that only the Italians can perfect.

Our only gripe, really, was the optional aftermarket sound system that would probably send any die-hard Alfisti to his grave. The double-din Kenwood console ruins the flow and consistency of Alfa's beautiful dashboard design, while an unglamorous Lanzar subwoofer was an eye-sore. It robbed us of boot space, and was not a worthy sacrifice of better audio quality. In fact, the entire setup was so badly tuned, none of us could have heard anything apart from boomy, untamed bass.

Not that it was a huge problem though - after fussing with the highly adjustable electronics for a full half an hour, we had managed to get decent levels of sound. But still, it was in no way, justifiable to this Italian beauty's pedigree.

(ed. at this point of time, it's worth mentioning that the writer of this article is considered to be a fussy "audiophile" and a qualified judge of certain car audio competitions. He has Italian-crafted speakers and amplifiers riding in his ironically cranky and non-Italian budget-hatch!)
Car Information
This model is no longer being sold by local distributors


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Engine Type


4-cylinders in-line DOHC

Engine Cap





112kW (150 bhp) / 4000 rpm



320 Nm / 2000 rpm



6-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)



Top Speed



Fuel consumption



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