Review: Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011)


Stunning looks, good handling. Five-star crash test rating. 2.4 JTDM is a great diesel. 200PS 1750 TBi petrol from 2010.

No spare wheel as standard. Problems with 1.9 diesel.

Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011): At A Glance

There's no doubt the Alfa Romeo 159 is a looker. Just like the Alfa 156 put the BMW 3 Series in the shade, the 159 does the same. But the 159 is styled by the master, Giorgetto Giugiaro, not Walter d'Silva who left and went to SEAT. All through my life my blood has been stirred by Giugiaro designs, starting with the 105 Series Giulia GT when he worked for Bertone. That was the poster on m bedroom wall and I eventually owned one in the 1970s. Whether the 159 quite does it in the same way as d'Silva's 156 is a vexed question. It's certainly a far more beautiful sight to open your garage doors to than a 3 Series.

Alfa Romeo 159 2006 Road Test

What does a Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011) cost?

Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4660 mm
Width 1828 mm
Height 1417–1422 mm
Wheelbase 2700 mm

Full specifications

Another criticism is the very thick B pillar that at my driving position meant I had very little side vision, especially pulling out of oblique junctions. There are side mirrors, though, conforming to the new EU legislation and giving an excellent view along the flanks.

Child seats that fit a Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011)

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What's the Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011) like to drive?

They only had diesels on the day I drove. So I was denied the tactile and aural pleasure of the four wheel drive 260PS 3.2 V6. Instead I had to make do with a 200PS 2.4 diesel. I'll write that again. A 200PS 2.4 diesel. If anyone thought Alfa Romeo diesel was an oxymoron, then this will definitely dissuade them.

We set off together tramlining madly down a wet and muddy lane. Partly because the brake discs were a bit wet and partly because the 235/45 ZR 18 tyres were set up to bite as hard as they could rather than offer limo-like comfort. Happily, the brakes soon developed plenty of bite too. Which they really needed to because this diesel pulls like a steam train.

There's none of that horrible, sudden turbo surge. You just get power, then more power, in a steady stream, right up to around 4,800rpm. Not too shabby.

The solid, vice-free, neat changing 6-speed transmission gives you a gear to exploit every kW and Nm the engine develops. 6th pulls very nearly 40mph per 1,000rpm. And those front tyres keep on gripping like they've got claws. This is partly down to the improved "high double wishbone" front suspension and new multi-link rear suspension. And partly the way Alfa sets its cars up, with more toe-out than average.

There's a further penalty to those low profile tyres, though. Quite a lot of road roar. At the low revs you drive a high geared diesel it's the only sound you hear, and that is bound to bother some people.At the half-way point I moved down to the 150PS 1.9 diesel.

Essentially the same engine as found under the bonnets of SAAB 9-3s, Vectras and Astras. This one was on 225/50 ZR 17s, so not quite as grippy at the front, but with better ride and less road noise. Gearing wasn't as high either. More like 35mph per 1,000rpm in 6th.

Again, it's a very well balanced, sporty car. You don't feel you're in a poor relation to the 2.4. It looks, goes and handles very well indeed. It's easy to get comfortable. The gearshift is nice and tight. Performance comes in a linear manner instead of a sudden rush. And two small bonuses are that with 159g/km CO2 it qualifies for £135pa VED and sensible BIK tax. If you had to pick a company car in which to do 40k miles a year it deserves a place along with the A4s, 3-Series, 9-3s, Jettas and Passats. And the looks will get you plenty of admiring glances.

There was no chance to drive the 4-cylinder petrol cars on this launch, and no 3.2 V6s at all. That car promises to be a very worthy leader of the pack, boasting 260bhp (without a turbo) and Torsen centre diff four-wheel drive with a 57% rear wheel bias.

But the range seller will inevitably be the 150bhp 1.9JTD. An Alfa Romeo diesel that isn't sacrilege because it still has that Alfa magic.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.8 MPI 37–37 mpg 10.2 s 179–181 g/km
1.9 JTDm 16V 42–50 mpg 9.2–9.5 s 150–180 g/km
1.9 JTDm 8V 54 mpg 10.7 s 138 g/km
1.9 JTS 33 mpg 9.7 s 205 g/km
1750 TBi 35 mpg 7.7 s 182–189 g/km
2.0 JTDm 16V 52–53 mpg 8.8 s 139–142 g/km
2.0 JTDm 16V 136 55 mpg 9.9 s 134 g/km
2.2 JTS 30–31 mpg 8.7–8.8 s 218–221 g/km
2.4 JTDm 36–42 mpg 8.1–8.3 s 179–208 g/km
3.2 JTS V6 25–26 mpg 7.0–7.1 s 260–273 g/km

Real MPG average for a Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

17–52 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the Alfa Romeo 159 (2006 – 2011)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

If I buy a car that's advertised with no faults, but one develops and wrecks the car - is this covered by the Consumer Rights Act?

Let's say I bought a car and three months into ownership, the timing belt snaps and destroys the engine. Perhaps the water pump fails or a gearbox failure or the head gasket blows. Would these examples be covered under the Consumer Rights Act upon which the dealer would have to fix the issues? It's hard to gauge exactly what is covered and what is not. The car I am interested in is an Alfa Romeo 159 1.9 JTDM Turismo with 100,000 miles on it. The dealer selling the car is an AA-Approved dealer and there is no mention of any existing faults.
The Alfa Romeo 159 is a great car, but the 1.9 JTDM has an awful record for reliability. I would recommend getting a comprehensive breakdown policy if you decide to take the plunge. However, to answer your original question, a car trader/dealer can generally be held liable for any faults that develop within the first six months. For your consumer rights, see:
Answered by Dan Powell
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