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The 159 is the successor to Alfa Romeo's 156, and this sedan represents a concerted effort to infuse sportiness and comfort in a contemporary sedan. Without actually having driven the car, we're still comfortable saying that Alfa has probably succeeded. The look of the 159, again penned by Guigiaro, is typical Alfa with clean surfaces and little ornamentation. The Alfa front end may not be attractive to some, but it's a look you won't find any other vehicle. The 159 is basically a sedan version of the Alpha Brera, which creates a high-performing duo reminiscent of Acura's RSX and TSX.
The 159 shares its suspension with the Brera, but offers a wider range of engine choices: three gas units and three diesels. The most powerful gas engine is the 3.2L V6 with 260 bhp mentioned in the Brera post, while the top diesel is a 2.4L 20-valve five-cylinder that produces 200 hp. Every version of the 159 will be available with a short-throw six-speed manual transmission, while certain versions will also have the option of a six-speed manual.
We were also impressed with the interior of the 159, designed inhouse by the Alfa Romeo Styling Center. Special attention was paid to the precise ratio of the pedal, seat, steering wheel and gearbox placement. The extra effort seems to have paid off as the major controls are easily reached from a comfortable seating position. The two-tone color scheme and rich materials inside the cabin also lend to an upscale feel, while the minimalist design is a welcome departure from many other dashes that have become cluttered with buttons, switches, iDrives and screens.