The 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 has arrived in Australian showrooms with a wealth of improvements that enhance refinement, comfort and convenience, along with a new engine for the best selling version, the 2.4 JTD Turbo Diesel, but despite the improvements Alfa Romeo is maintaining inclusive driveaway pricing that means savings of up to $7500.
“Normally these changes would be called a facelift, but as the 159 is such as stunning car that has been acclaimed for its beautiful design, there are no styling changes,” explains Edward Butler, General Manager of Alfa Romeo in Australia. “All the changes are under the skin and they are aimed at making owning an Alfa 159 an even more fulfilling, enjoyable experience, something that is further enhanced by the absence of any on road costs for a limited time.”
The 2.4 litre 147 kW JTD Turbo Diesel version of the Alfa Romeo 159 has been consistently the most popular version of the Alfa Romeo 159, with its blend of effortless performance and outstanding fuel economy. For the 2009 model year, the existing engine is replaced by the new JTDm version. In figures, most significant change is the lift in power from 147 to 154 kW, but the primary change has been to improve the driving characteristics of the engine, with more low end performance. Additionally, new software has been developed to improve the communication between the new engine and the optional Q-Tronic six speed automatic gearbox for smoother operation, better gear selection and more responsive down shifts.
Across the range the drivetrain has been improved to lift ride quality and reduce noise transmission to the interior of the car.
For the driver, the most obvious changes are the new instrument pack, featuring new lighting and figures, a new control set for the standard climate control ventilation system and the start button is now computer controlled as part of the engine management system. It no longer requires the driver to hold the button in until the engine starts – it is now a simple command for the car to start the engine. The driver will also notice, along with all the occupants, improved headroom with a new, more compact roof lining which also uses new fabric finishes.
For those travelling in the rear of the 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 there is also more legroom, which is provided by a new seat design that also provides more support for the back and lateral support. In the 159 Sportwagon the design of the folding rear seat has been changed to allow longer, larger loads to be more easily placed into the car. Access to the load space in both the sedan and the Sportwagon is also improved with the Alfa Romeo badge on the rear of the car now also acting as a release for the boot lid and rear hatch – press on the logo and the boot lid or hatch springs open.
While no changes have been made to the overall shape of the 159, one subtle detail change indicates a new 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 – the new ‘bee sting’ roof mounted aerial that also improves radio performance. On non-Ti variants, there are also two new styles of alloy wheel.
“With the Ti package proving such a success with our customers, the vast majority of 2009 Alfa Romeo 159 sedans and Sportwagons arriving in showrooms will be the Ti variant,” explains Mr Butler. “This means that as well as the improvements offered by the 2009 Alfa Romeo model, customers may also enjoy the value for money offered by the additional equipment in the Ti package and, for a limited time, driveaway pricing.”
For more than 50 years the most sought-after Alfa Romeo models have been those that have worn the ‘Ti’ badge which indicates an Alfa Romeo with an even more sharply defined sporting edge and with the arrival of the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti the Italian car maker is offering a Ti variant with more features and equipment than ever before.
First seen in 1950, the Ti badge, which stands for Tourism International, has been used to denote an Alfa Romeo version that has been equipped to meet the needs and desires of driving enthusiasts to produce a car that offers more driving excitement and a more sports-orientated image, but also at a value for money price.
The most significant under the skin change is the fitment of sports suspension that lowers the 159 by 20 mm and which provides the 159 with a sharper turn-in response from the steering and less body roll, but without the harsh ride that afflicts some sports suspension systems. This more able chassis is further enhanced by the standard fitment of 19 inch alloy wheels with 235/40 x 19 low profile tyres to provide additional roadholding performance. So that 159 Ti stops as well as it goes, Brembo brakes are standard and they are painted in Alfa Romeo red to highlight their presence and performance.
To further enhance the hunkered down stance of the 159 Ti provided by the sports suspension, the new model is fitted with subtle yet effective body kit, with burnished aluminium finish door mirrors completing the exterior transformation into a 159 Ti.
The inside of the 159 is transformed by the Ti package into a driver focused cockpit of black leather and dark finish materials highlighted by red stitching for the leather and red highlights for the instruments. The sports seats, which are electrically operated and heated, are upholstered in hand-crafted soft Italian leather with the legendary Alfa Romeo logo stitched in red on both the front and rear seats. The same leather and red stitching is used on the steering wheel and the six speed manual gearbox’s gear lever.
The dashboard is trimmed in a unique burnished aluminum that has been darkened so as to show off the red-ringed instruments that are unique to the Alfa Romeo 159 Ti. Aluminium is further used for the drilled sports pedals – an essential icon of Italian sports cars – and the unique Alfa Romeo 159 Ti door sill trim strips which, like the exterior, carry the classic Ti insignia. For technical aficionados, the 159 Ti also offers the Bluetooth mobile phone connection with finger tip controls on the steering wheel and a USB connection point in the glovebox for MP3 music players.
The Alfa Romeo 159 Ti is available with a choice of two engines and three different gearboxes. Fitted with the 2.2 litre 136 kW JTS engine and mated to a six speed manual gearbox, the 159 Ti has a top speed of 222 kmh and dispatches the run from zero to 100 kmh in 8.8 seconds, yet on the open road is capable of achieving 7.3 litres per 100 kmh. With the six speed Selespeed gearbox, the 159 Ti 2.2 JTS offers the same top speed and acceleration, yet, thanks to the fuel saving abilities of the gearbox, uses less fuel and cuts C0² emissions. It is priced at $55,990 in manual form, while the Selespeed has a recommended retail price of $57,990.
For the first time in Australia, the Ti package is also available with the most powerful Turbo Diesel available in an Alfa Romeo, the 2.4 litre 154 kW JTD power unit. On one hand this unique engine thrusts the 159 Ti to 100 kmh in 8.4 seconds for both the manual and automatic variants and on to a maximum speed of 226 kmh (224 for the auto) yet on the other hand the manual has an open road fuel figure of 5.4 litres/100 km and a combined figure of 6.8 l/100 km. This remarkable combination of performance and economy is priced in Ti form at a recommend retail price of $59,990 for the manual and $62,990 for the Q-Tronic automatic version.
Topping the Ti range is the 159 Ti with the 3.2 litre JTS V6 that produces 191 kW and 322 Nm of torque that is delivered to the road via a six speed manual gearbox and the Q4 constant four wheel drive system. This provides the top 159 Ti with a top speed of 240 km and, thanks to the four wheel drive system and advanced electronics, a wheelspin free dash to 100 kmh in 7.0 seconds. Yet, thanks to that advanced engine, it is still capable of 8.4 litres per 100 kmh on the open road.
As an alternative to the six speed manual the Q-Tronic six speed automatic gearbox not only offers Tiptronic-style gear shifting using the gear stick, but is also equipped with steering wheel mounted paddles for finger tipped gear changing. The efficiency of this gearbox is demonstrated by its identical top speed to the manual version and, at 7.2 seconds, an only fractionally show 0-100 time, while open road fuel consumption remains a very creditable 8.6 litres/100 km. The recommended retail price for the six speed manual 159 Ti 3.2 V6 is $76,990 and the Q-Tronic variant is $79,990.
In another first for the Australian market, the Ti package is allied to the versatile Sportwagon, with the 159 Sportwagon Ti now available with the same triple engine choice as the sedan in a body that is every bit as stylish as its sedan counterpart.
The 159 Sportwagon offers 445 litres of loadspace below the retractable luggage cover. The 60:40 split/folding rear seat features an integral armrest and ski hatch, and allows for the rapid expansion of the luggage compartment into a robust, practical, flat-floored load platform offering 850 litres of stowage below the window line, and an impressive 1235 litres overall.
The Alfa Romeo 159 Ti Sportwagon range opens with the power and economy of the 2.4 Litre JTD Turbo Diesel with the Q-Tronic automatic gearbox at $65,240. Topping the range is the 3.2 Litre V6 powered 159 Ti Sportwagon Q-Tronic which is priced with an RRP of $82,990.
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