Used Alfa Romeo 159 2006 - 2012 review

Category: Executive car

The Alfa Romeo 159 is great to look at, and distinctive, but ultimately bettered by German rivals in almost every area.

Alfa Romeo 159 (06 - 12)
  • Alfa Romeo 159 (06 - 12)
  • Alfa Romeo 159 (06 - 12)
Used Alfa Romeo 159 2006 - 2012 review
Star rating

What's the used Alfa Romeo 159 saloon like?

You can't accuse the Alfa Romeo 159 of blending in with other cars on the road; its distinctive front grille and jewel-like headlights certainly catch the eye. Unfortunately, it's a case of style over substance because, although it's reasonably accomplished in most areas, the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class are all much better prospects.

Interior space is good, and certainly better than the model it replaced, the 156. Two adults can fit in the back, while front passengers aren't left wanting for room. The boot is also a good size and shape although, being a saloon, the size of the opening is limited.


The Alfa Romeo 159 is great to look at, and distinctive, but ultimately bettered by German rivals in almost every area.

  • Italian design flair
  • Decent interior space
  • Smooth engines
  • Not as good to drive as it should be
  • Spectre of unreliability

The 159 has impressive grip through bends and rides well on most road surfaces, but body roll isn't contained and the car can feel unwieldy on twisty roads. You can also hear the suspension thudding over the worst bumps. The steering is accurate, but not the most responsive.

Ownership cost

What used Alfa Romeo 159 saloon will I get for my budget?

How much does it cost to run a Alfa Romeo 159 saloon?

Servicing costs are high, and it's certainly worth looking for Alfa Romeo specialist independent garages for maintaining older cars. Alfa doesn't have the best reputation for reliability, so consider taking out an extended or independent warranty.

The 1.9-litre diesel manages 47mpg, while the 2.4-litre does 41.5mpg, or 39mpg in four-wheel-drive form. The 1.9-litre petrol can eke out 32.5mpg, but the 1.8-litre beats that with 36.7mpg. The 2.2-litre does 30.1mpg and the 3.2 V6 24.6mpg.

The 1.9-litre diesel has the lowest CO2 emission, so will cost the least to tax, while the 1.9-litre, 2.2-litre and 3.2-litre petrols all emit over 200g/km, so are noticeably more expensive. The 1.8-litre petrol and 2.4-litre diesel both pump out around 180g/km.

Insurance costs are roughly the same as rivals.

Our recommendations

Which used Alfa Romeo 159 saloon should I buy?

In the executive market, diesel is king, so think carefully before buying a petrol model. They're far rarer on the used market than the diesels and will depreciate faster. However, if the price is low enough, they can be an economical option. The 1.9-litre petrol with 160bhp is a sensible option, followed by the 185bhp 2.2-litre, and lastly the 256bhp 3.2 V6. In late'07 the 1.9-litre was replaced with a 1.8-litre engine with 138bhp, but has much better fuel economy and lower emissions.

The 148bhp 1.9-litre diesel is the most common engine, and the best bet, followed by the 2.4-litre unit producing 200bhp. There is an option of four-wheel drive on the V6 petrol and larger diesel, but it doesn't substantially enhance the car's dynamics. Automatic gearboxes are optional on all models other than the 1.9-litre and 2.2-litre petrol engines.

Every model is well equipped, with the base Turismo fitted with alloys, dual-zone climate control, electronic stability control and four electric windows. Lusso spec gets leather trim and parking sensors.

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