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Alfa Romeo 159 2009 review


And have done for a very long time. But there are always buyers looking for something that avoids the clichés associated with the popular players. And for them, the Alfa Romeo stable has the attraction of being the ‘other’ desirable badge.

Leading the charge for Alfa in the mid-sized sector is the 159 - the successor to the 156 that is credited with turning around perceptions about the Italian carmaker. Rather than being a marque for the brave - or at least those brave enough to defy the earlier reputation for poor quality - people started to buy the badge with more confidence. That continued as the 156 turned into the 159, and Alfa’s presence continued to grow, both overseas and here.

The 2.4 litre JTD diesel tested here has consistently been the most popular version of the 159. Now, with a revised engine, more power and improvements to refinement and comfort, there’s a good chance it will remain at the top of the heap.


The upgraded 2.4 litre, five cylinder, JTDm turbo diesel DOHC engine puts out 154kW at 4000rpm and 400Nm at 2000rpm. A six speed-speed manual - or the six-speed Q-Tronic transmission in our test car - gets power to the wheels. Both the manual and the Q-Tronic do the 0-100km sprint in 8.4 seconds but the manual pips the Q with a top speed of 228km/h, over 224km/h.

Around town the Q-Tronic – at 11.9l/100km - is quite a bit thirstier than the manual at 9.4l/100km. But on the open road the figures drop significantly for both vehicles; Q-Tronic 6.0l/100km, and manual 5.6l/100km. The Q-Tronic emits 215g/km of CO2 while the manual releases 179g/km.


All changes to the new 159 are under the skin, such is the confidence Alfa Romeo has in the current Giorgio Giugiaro design - and it’s well-founded.

There’s no mistaking an Alfa from the outside and the 159, which spawned the beautiful Brera, is probably the most obvious of the lot. Its strong smooth lines and gently angled creases give it a timeless shape that needs little modification.

New 19-in alloys with big red Brembos showing through the spokes, and low profile tyres, speak the visual language of performance and agility.


The Ti, or Tourism International package brings with it a host of features for the 159, steered towards a sporty feel.

Black leather with red stitching flows through the cabin, on the seats, steering wheel and gear stick. In normal Alfa fashion the dash is mostly brushed aluminium with round holes for the sunken dials. Alfa Romeo badges on the electric seats, red instrument highlights and drilled sport pedals are standard, as is Bluetooth capability and a USB connection point.


On top of a comprehensive airbag package, the 159 2.4 JTDm comes with anti-lock brakes, rear park braking sensors, electronic brakeforce distribution, variable dynamic control and child safety locks.


The manual version of the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti JTDm 2.4 is available from $59,990 and the Q-Tronic from $62,990, plus dealer and statutory charges.


The 159 is a classic Alfa Romeo. It’s a beautiful car with a handsome, timeless shape. The Giorgio Giugiaro design hasn’t been touched and really doesn’t need to be. The interior again, is classic Alfa with gorgeous hand stitched dark leather and brushed alloy.

The diesel engine has a nice quick jerk free pick up with enough stones to heave you back into your seat, and without even using the paddle shifters, changes - on sharp winding roads - are swift and appropriate.

Fabulous weight distribution means negligible body roll and the big wheels and Brembos together with the double wishbone front and multi link rear suspension, help the 159 to stick nicely to the tar.

Unfortunately it took everything we had to get past the fact that it sounded like a John Deere 6030 Series utility tractor with Pig Flu. Sure, it’s light on the juice but come on … seriously.

Gorgeous car, but what a racket.

Verdict: 7.9/10

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

2.4 JTD 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,500 – 10,120 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 2009 2.4 JTD Pricing and Specs
2.2 JTS 2.2L, PULP, 6 SP $5,700 – 8,800 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 2009 2.2 JTS Pricing and Specs
Sportwagon 2.2 JTS 2.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $5,900 – 9,130 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 2009 Sportwagon 2.2 JTS Pricing and Specs
Sportwagon 1.9 JTD 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,100 – 9,460 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 2009 Sportwagon 1.9 JTD Pricing and Specs
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