At first look, the mean and aggressive look is more appropriate for the open road than the city experience, especially if we're taking into account the aerodynamic body the car owns. The design surely sets it apart in the crowded everyday traffic, but the Alfa 159 isn't exactly the best choice for such an environment.
As we all know, today's automotive industry is keen to improve fuel efficiency as much as possible but Alfa Romeo was, is and will probably remain a performance-oriented brand. And this is one of the reasons why the 159 isn't exactly the best choice for city driving.
On paper, Alfa 159's estimated fuel consumption is more than acceptable, but reality goes way beyond this limit. The Italian carmaker says the 1.8-liter powerplant should burn around 11.8 l/100km (around 19.9 mpg), which is more than decent for such a powerful unit. Unfortunately, the on-board computer shocked us after a 15-kilometer trip at a rush hour: 16.7 l/100km (14 mpg) in the most possible economical way.
However, it proved extremely difficult for us to handle the car peacefully and relaxed, as the 200 horses hidden under the hood felt their presence every time we touched the accelerator pedal. A few seconds of full throttle will skyrocket your fuel consumption.
Now, the six-speed manual transmission can be controlled pretty easily but, as always, an automatic configuration is always more useful in urban traffic. Unfortunately, such a feature isn't available, not even on the options list.
We've heard a lot of people saying that visibility is one of the weak points of the 159 but, after a few days behind the wheel of the car, we can assure you that this is just a myth. Especially if you're into cars and driving doesn't give you high blood pressure. The windshield, the two large exterior mirrors, together with the interior electrochromic mirror provide a great view over the adjacent traffic.
Visibility and parking go hand in hand, so it's fairly easy to park the car. In addition, the 159 features parking sensors, allowing us to squeeze into empty spots without bumping into other vehicles.
The suspension setup we expected from such a sporty vehicle proved to be fairly comfortable, although the passengers might bounce a little bit when passing over speed limiters.
So, the car looks great but this so-appealing appearance has a major setback actually. In order for the car to be sportier, the Italian engineers lowered the body to the minimum, so every single pothole or speed limiter is actually a risk of serious damage to the front end. Plus, it's almost impossible to get over kerbs without scratching the bottom of the front bumper which, in some cities, is simply unavoidable.Continue reading
Hold on, Lou Cheeka would like to say something...
OK, so you know that I'm one of the guys who looove the German way to build cars, but there are a few other things that actually manage to catch my precious attention. And Alfa's 159 is one of them.
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