Walking up to the intriguing beauty of the Alfa your preconceived perceptions are shattered.
Immediately the car lures you into its world of elegance. From the inviting chrome grill at the front and the matching door handles, the lines of the 159 are kin to an Italian glamour.
Unlock on the key pad and the indicators beckon you with a wink. Upon entry into the 4–door sedan you are welcomed with a driver-focused dash. To your left the three gauges read in Italian showing that this car has stayed true to its pedigree. Insert the key and the Alfa’s soul ignites with the push of a button.
After driving off the manual combination doesn’t seem all that bad. The smooth and soft clutch allows for smooth changes and progressive take off. The notchy gear feel is soon forgotten as you anxiously wait for the oil temperature gauge to reach operating temperature.
After cruising down the road somewhat you notice the angled tacho this car has inherited from its Ferrari relative. It’s as if the car was telling you that I want to be driven in between these revs and these speeds… Comprende?
The steering wheel offers a firm and sporty grip with only a slight twitch to receive feedback from the road. The mixture of polished aluminium and leather sets the tone of what the drive is going to be like.
As you cycle through the gears and bump up the revs, the heavy flywheel becomes evident. The revs linger as opposed to dropping which aids in the car’s effortless drive.
Another gear or two further down the chain and the car comes to life. Suddenly the sleeping beauty is awakened with the ferocious Italian engine revving to its 7000rpm redline. The sound is enticing and the steering reassuring and before I get carried away I notice I have two people sitting comfortably in the rear of this sedan.
After hopping out and looking at the car, its mesmerising curves make you forget about its problems. Yes it’s underpowered, yes the driving position is compromised and yes the cheap east-west engine layout is jerky but… I don’t care.
You learn to see past the initial annoyances of the Alfa and delve deeper into its soul. The disappointment of a small boot immediately disappears when you shut the trunk, take a step back and admire the twin exhausts out the rear. The car is alive in whatever situation.
I never quite understood people’s fascination with what was formerly a poorly built cheap man’s Ferrari. But after today I know that whenever I see a person behind the wheel of an Alfa, I will know that the driver values dynamics ahead of function. They too were seduced by the enticing feel of the Alfa Romeo.