Alfa Romeo 159

Say what you will about the Alfa Romeo 159, but it's arguably one of the most attractive sports sedans on the (foreign) market. And when it's gone, it will be missed. But gone is precisely what it will be soon, as the Fiat group begins its gradual discontinuation.

According to reports, production of the 159 has already ceased as the assembly plant in Naples where it's built is re-tooled for production of the new Fiat Panda. The entire model line has reportedly disappeared from the order books in several keys markets, including the UK, while other markets continue offering the 159 from stockpiles built up ahead of the factory's temporary closure, but that means only four colors and one engine are available.

The 159 was a model mired by its shortcomings from the get-go. Although the Giugiaro styling turned heads, its edgy front end made for poor aerodynamics. The GM-sourced platform didn't serve the car well, and neither did its engines. And while it was originally engineered to meet U.S. regulations, the brand's return to the American market was pushed back time and time again, and is still yet to arrive.

The departure of the 159 leaves a gaping hole in not only Alfa Romeo's but the entire Fiat group's line-up. Aside from the Maserati Quattroporte and Lancia-badged Chryslers, the Golf-sized Alfa Giulietta, Lancia Delta and Fiat Bravo hatchbacks now stand as the largest passenger vehicles the company offers. And with the 159's successor – expected to be dubbed Giulia – not expected until later in 2013, it looks to stay that way for another couple of years at least.
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