General comments on the car? One word, brilliant.
I flew to UK in May 08 to buy and drive my 159 back home to Ireland. What a car. When I arrived home I could have drunk a cup of tea and simply turned around and started the trip again! Very comfortable, very.
Motorway driving is brilliant.. I've had a chance to recently drive some other cars the length of the country (Cork to Dublin) for work purposes... Audi A6 (1.8Tdi), BMW (2.0 Petrol) and of course a Volvo S40 (can't remember the engine... does it matter?). I always found myself longing to get behind the wheel of the Alfa again... I can't put my finger on it but the driving position, even the weight of the steering wheel feels right (but that's just a personal thing). It also feels a lot nicer to walk up to one in a carpark..
On country/rural 'rough' roads... you have to go slow... sloooooow way down! It feels like you might break the car the suspension is so hard. You see the 'Ti' model has lowered/harder suspension, so that coupled with 19' 40-profile tyres does make the car a 'little' skittish on our terrible Irish roads (but they are improving, the roads that is).
On county/rural 'good' roads... what a blast! The cornering is excellent.. the Brembos all round (on the Ti model) do help with the braking... she feels solid, weighted, planted, stuck to the road. It's a reassuring feeling. The 2.2 Petrol is supposed to have 185BHP... in 1st and 2nd gear it feels like half that power... from 3rd gear up to 6th it feels a lot better.
The smell of leather. Need I say more?
...but, the backseats? not much legroom.
Well I was lucky with my car, she has mp3 USB port (for iPod) Blue&Me system, voice activated control, parking sensors, bluetooth phone thingy and other stuff etc etc.. One thing, I wish I could change the female voice in the car to a setting that sounds like Penelope Cruz or Sophia Lorraine... a car like that need an 'exotic' voice not a London accent! :) Then I could listen to "Please choose from the following commands" all day long...
It's a 2.2 Petrol. It's an Alfa...
As far as long term... who knows what else will break? I still have our older 156 and wouldn't sell it for the world. The 156 2.0TS engine/exhaust note is still gruntier (if there is such a word).. no argument, but the 159 feels bigger, more refined and more like a better quality car.
Finally I have to admit I don't care/worry about a cars reliability, running costs or depreciation.. I bought this car on its looks and driving experience alone... but then again, on what else should you judge a car?