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A passion for power and performance.

Byline: Ian Johnson

ALFA ROMEO, famed for its performance engineering, is also keeping pace with the tough European emissions regulations, a fact proven by the introduction of two new Euro5-compliant engines in its 159 range.

The engines, a 1750 TBi petrol and 2.0 JTDM diesel are also available in the sporty Brera and Spider ranges. They are powering a major market pull for the brand that is winning friends among drivers who want to express individuality and passion in everyday motoring.

I have been driving the TBi 1.7 Elegante six-speed four door saloon which at pounds 22,750 is in the top quarter of the 159 saloon range which sells from pounds 19,950 to pounds 27,800.

an impressive 200bhp along with plenty of torque that gives the already exciting 159 an extra edge to rise to the challenges of the 2010 car marketplace.

This 16-valve twin overhead camshaft unit not only brings keen fuel efficiency to the 159 but lowers CO emissions to 189g/km.

It is certainly an interesting drive with maximum torque achieved at just 1,400rpm - a little more than a tickover - with maximum power reached between 4,750 and 5,500rpm.

And engineering a cleaner way ahead does not mean that Alfa Romeo engineers have been miserly on performance because the 0-62mph sprint time is a creditable 7.7 seconds and the car tops out at 147mph.

Alfa has provided a driver experience with a flat torque curve and consistent delivery of power - perfect for both overtaking and long distance driving. I would expect nothing less from Alfa Romeo.

This is a new generation Alfa that recognises that drivers these days cover a much higher mileage and therefore this model includes a service extension to 21,000 miles. As far as economy is concerned a combined readout of 34mpg is good when you remember this is a fast, turbocharged Alfa.

In conjunction with the launch of the new engines, Alfa Romeo introduced a revised range structure which now features five trim levels - Turismo, Turismo Sport, Elegante, Lusso and TI.

The Elegante version that I drove features the 17in sport alloy wheels, Blue&Me communications and audio, sports cloth seats, sports leather steering wheel with remote controls of the Turismo Sport with the addition of rear parking sensors, visibility pack and a luxury interior.

These extras are worth it because with the 159 you are driving one of the best looking cars in its class.

The TBi may bend somewhat towards environmental engineering but for pure Italian style it cannot be beaten.

ALFA ROMEO 159 TBI Price: pounds 22,750 Mechanical: 200bhp, 1,742cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox Max speed: 147mph 0-62mph: 7.7 seconds Combined mpg: 34.9 Insurance group: 9 CO emissions: 142g/km BIK rating: 15% Warranty: 3yrs/60,000miles
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jan 29, 2010
Words:476
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