Alfa Romeo 159 2.0 JTDm 170 BHP Lusso road test report

2.0 JTDm 170 BHP Lusso

The Alfa Romeo 159 we drove was very definitely a driver orientated machine and the all new diesel sits very comfortably indeed. The question here is can you have the best of both worlds? Can you have the legendary feel and driving experience of an Alfa with the reliability which gives you peace of mind?

Road Test Reports Says4 star rating
A front-facing image of the Alfa Romeo 159
Thanks to Chris Variava Alfa Romeo who provided the Alfa Romeo 159 for the Road Test Report.
Contact Paul Jones at Chris Variava Alfa Romeo on 0115 855 3040 or email

Image number 2 of the Alfa Romeo 159Image number 3 of the Alfa Romeo 159Image number 4 of the Alfa Romeo 159

Performance Performance - 4 stars

This is the all new diesel offering from Alfa Romeo and it sits very comfortably indeed in the 159! The engine has been increased ever so slightly in size to 1956 cc but the major difference is the efficiency with which it creates the 170 BHP at 4,000 rpm and 360 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm. C02 emissions are actually lower in this new more powerful diesel than the previous 150 bhp unit at just 142 g/km and the sprint to 0-62 mph is covered in 8.8 seconds although the car actually comes into its own when accelerating through the higher gears. A satisfying shove in the back is evident when the accelerator pedal is pushed with just a little pressure and from that point onwards the car just seems to want to keep on going, the usual ‘run out of puff’ evident with many diesel units does not seem to exist here. It was inevitable that Alfa Romeo were going to have to offer a higher performance diesel to keep a balance with their stable of increasingly potent and innovative petrol models and It was always going to be a talking point in the car industry as to how well this would go.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

This is key Alfa Romeo territory and the 159 we drove was very definitely a driver orientated machine. Steering is weighted well and it is refreshing to drive a car which has steering you can actually feel and rewards the driver as much through corners as it does on the motorway. Many cars at the moment seem to be designed to make life as easy as possible for the driver but in doing this some of the actual driving experience is lost and the 159 counterbalances this with positive weighted steering and good communication with the road. The car feels compact and rigid on the interior , the ride is firm but not too hard and the leather interior we had in our Lusso was a welcome addition indeed.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 4 stars

The question here is can you have the best of both worlds? Can you have the legendary feel and driving experience of an Alfa with the reliability which gives you peace of mind? There is no doubt that vast improvements have been made with Alfa Romeo over the last few years and the addition of the diesel units has only added to this improvement. All Alfa dealers now offer fixed service costs which is a great addition to a dealer network which has improved along with the manufacturer it represents. A 3 year ALFACARE dealer warranty is standard on all cars and is actually for unlimited mileage!

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 4 stars

There are plenty of airbags for both the driver and passenger in the 159 including knee airbags for the driver and full size window airbags front and rear. Immobiliser and volumetric alarm comes as standard as do sensors to measure brake pad wear and braking system failures.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 4 stars

The 159 feels undoubtedly compact when you are sat in the car itself. There would not be any problems fitting 4 adults in comfort and the boot is a reasonable size for compact saloon car. We would be surprised if the diesel derivative did not out sell it’s petrol sibling and this new low emission high performance engine may in fact help Alfa make a bigger impact in the fleet market. There is no doubt that when compared to the range of cars the 159 competes against it is astonishingly good looking and the owner will get the impression of driving something a bit special.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

This new diesel should give Alfa a definite boost when it looks at the residual values of it’s cars. The depreciation sometimes seen in large petrol units should be lacking here and Competitive contract hire rates should help in the fleet sector. This new improved diesel unit will allows Alfa to compete in a vital sector against other premium executive models such as the Lexus IS220D, Audi A4 2.0 Tdi 170, BMW 320D and Merc C-Class 220 cdi. At £23,850 we drove the Lusso model which had most things you could reasonably wish for on a sub £25,000 saloon. Leather interior, dual zone climate control and steering wheel mounted stereo and computer controls are all standard as are electric front seats and electric folding wing mirrors. Those car owners who have always considered themselves as driven by their head and not their heart should seriously consider this new Alfa 159 when the time comes to change as this new model can justifiably claim to appeal to both.

Performance Performance - 3 stars

The modern day diesel car is a very different beast to the notoriously noisy, heavy, oily diesels of old. No longer is it a bonus when you put your foot down and the car doesn’t take 3 to 4 seconds to notice. As drivers, we have come to expect this from modern diesels. As a result, Alfa Romeo’s new 159 Diesel Saloon’s had to do a lot more to not only stay ahead of the competition in terms of performance, but to keep that notorious Alfa flare. Having now driven the 159 for myself, I’m pleased to confirm that they have done exactly that. Even though there is still a slight diesel lag (slightly more than it’s Audi equivalent), the performance when it does kick in is breath-taking. The 159 Diesel comes in 2.0 and 2.4 editions. The 2.0 version that I drove manages 0-62 in an impressive 8.8 seconds, though the 2.4 manages it in under 8 seconds, which is really quite staggering. The most satisfying thing about driving this car is the torque. The official figure is 360 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm, though what you will notice about driving this car is that no matter what speed you are doing, in whatever gear you happen to be in, if you put your foot down then you’re going to sink back in your seat like you’ve just taken off. And my word it feels good.

Ride & Handling Ride & Handling - 4 stars

Many of the cars I have road-tested recently are so light that you barely even feel like your driving it. The Alfa 150 has definitely bucked the trend here, and remembered that some people still like to feel like they’re actually driving a car. It corners beautifully for a car of its’ size, and yet still feels smooth, solid and comfortable at all times.

Build Quality & Reliability Build Quality & Reliability - 5 stars

Alfa Romeo have taken great strides forward in improving the notorious unreliability of their cars, and now offer a 3-year, unlimited mileage warranty, so they must be feeling confident. Diesels are also known for lasting longer than their petrol equivalents, and so you could reasonably expect this car to last a good long time, and to spend most of that time on the road, rather than in the garage. The interior of the car itself is as majestic as the Alfa reputation demands. The luxurious carpets, accompanied with the fantastically comfortable leather seats and the contemporary yet classic dash, all conspire to provide you with the ultimate driving experience. When sat in this car, you truly are a King on his throne.

Safety & Security Safety & Security - 5 stars

The new Alfa’s have a 5-star Euro NCAP Safety Rating, and come with enough safety features to ensure you have a reasonable chance of surviving all but the most horrible crashes. It comes with an alarm and immobiliser as standard, and the on-board computer monitors all the brakes and oil-levels, and warns you before they cause you any problems.

Space & Practicality Space & Practicality - 5 stars

If I had to mark down this beautiful car for one thing, it would be the definite lack of space on the interior. We struggled to get 4 fully-grown adults inside, and it certainly felt less than its’ equivalent offerings from Audi and BMW. It does have a good size boot, with a 405 litre capacity.

Ownership & Value Ownership & Value - 4 stars

With the new Diesel range, comes increased residual value, which will be good news for potential Alfa owners who have been notoriously concerned about the sheer amount of depreciation in the first 3 years of ownership. This has been reflected in reduced leasing prices, and you can now find this historically expensive car in the £250 to £300 per month range, which will allow it to compete with Lexus, BMW and Audi in the luxury saloon market.

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