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Alfa Romeo 159 2008 Review

This car sounds great on paper but what about in reality.

Here's something to whet the appetites of driving enthusiasts who like the cachet of an Italian marque but need versatility in luggage space.

On paper this car measures up. A V6 petrol engine with variable valve timing and twin overhead camshafts on each cylinder bank. A strong 191kW of power. A broad, low stance pushing its wide-tread, low-profile tyres on to the road where they are propelled by all-wheel drive.

Leather-trimmed seats, sports instruments and, at the top of the range, a six-speed automatic with sport mode and steering wheel paddle shifts.

Luggage volume is great and even more can be carried when the rear seats are folded flat.

It's the Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon - the 3.2 JTS Q4 variant, the most expensive of the 159 Sportwagon range.

At $80,990 it's quite a swallow; $12,000 more expensive than its fellow-European Volvo V70 V6, which also has all-wheel drive, six-speed automatic and is more powerful and more spacious.

It's a shame the Q-Tronic auto lets the wagon down. Even in regular Drive setting, it hangs on to gears far too long, the driver willing it to change up a gear or two to lower the revs, the noise and the fuel bill.

In the manual-shift mode, the test car wouldn't accept a command to go into top (sixth) gear at a steady 90km/h on a flat road. It used fuel at a rate of 13.6 litres/100km on a drive that included a Fleurieu cruise. Do mainly city and suburban driving, and petrol consumption will increase.

The driver can find an ideal position helped by seat and steering wheel adjustments.

The AWD is configured to give a slightly rear-axle bias.

This is a wagon that corners with good balance, even at speed.

The rear luggage area, accessed by a lift-up tailgate, has a floor about 24cm below the loading lip (more like a hatchback than a station wagon). It's harder to lift items in and out, but probably helps the wonderful chassis integrity.

Tie-down hooks, luggage nets and bonus compartments make it appealing. The 445 litres of space (below the luggage blind) expands to 1235 litres with the rear seat down. Then there's the joy of driving an Alfa; the deep-set gauges are there for olio, acqua and benzina and when asked to perform, it generates a raw, racy sound.

The $77,990 six-speed manual version might be worth trying along with any of three other engine choices back to the 2.2 four-cylinder petrol (136kW power) from $52,990 where you still get leather trim, dual-zone climate control, 10-stack CD, cruise control, stability control, rear park sensors and alloy wheels.



Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon 3.2

Price: $80,990

Engine: V6 petrol, dohc, 3195cc.

Power: 191kW at 6200rpm.

Torque: 322Nm at 4500rpm.

Transmission: Six-speed Q-Tronic sequential with paddleshift.

All-wheel drive.

Brakes: 330 x 28mm ventilated front discs, four-piston calipers; 292 x 22mm ventilated rear discs; ABS.

Economy: 12.3 litres/100km. Tank capacity 69 litres.

Emissions: 291g/km.

Wheels: 18in x 8in alloys; 235/45 tyres.

Dimensions: 4660mm long, 1828mm wide, 1422mm tall.

Performance: 0-100km/h 7.4 seconds. Top speed 237km/h.

In its class: Audi A3 Sportback 3.2 quattro, $65,500

Saab 9-3 Sportcombi: $75,600

Volvo V70: $67,950

BMW 335i Touring: $108,600


Pricing guides

Based on third party pricing data
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Range and Specs

1.9 JTD 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $5,000 – 7,700 2008 Alfa Romeo 159 2008 1.9 JTD Pricing and Specs
2.2 JTS 2.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $5,100 – 7,920 2008 Alfa Romeo 159 2008 2.2 JTS Pricing and Specs
2.2 JTS Ti 2.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $4,500 – 7,260 2008 Alfa Romeo 159 2008 2.2 JTS Ti Pricing and Specs
2.4 JTD 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,100 – 9,460 2008 Alfa Romeo 159 2008 2.4 JTD Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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