What is the beauty of the middle class

True beauty comes from within

In the middle class, the sporty station wagons have long since eroded the sedans. It's no different with Alfa Romeo. The expectations of the 159 Sportwagon are correspondingly high. Is it worth flirting with the dashing Italian?

From Stefan Grundhoff

Alfa Romeo aims to almost double its sales in 2006. A good third of the targeted 20,000 units should be attributable to the new star in the range, the Alfa 159 SW. Not quite as feminine as its predecessor 156, but still a real eye-catcher with the body that is slimmer towards the top and the clear design.

Design is crucial

It is precisely because of the optics that you should opt for the Sportwagon, because with the best will in the world it is not a real estate car. It doesn't have to, because the dynamic competition from Audi A4, 3-series BMW and Mercedes C-Class relies on anything but “volume models”.

In the load test, the 4.66-meter-long northern Italian fails for the first time. The trunk lid has no opener from the outside. This only works from the inside or via the remote control on the key. The high loading sill is particularly annoying. A box of water can only be balanced with great effort in the 445 liter cargo space. The headrests can be pushed into the backrest in a few simple steps and the bench can be folded down in a 40:60 ratio. Then there are 1235 liters - also not exactly a lot, but you hardly expected more from an Alfa.

Pitfalls of the load compartment cover

It bothers more that the luggage compartment cover in the trunk has its pitfalls. A clever mechanism that allows the roller blind to slide gently back and forth is missing, as is proper lashing eyes.

Those who cannot do without a noble look will be happy to have an Alfa 159 Sportwagon on their doorstep and accept one or the other handicap. The interior is on par with the sedan presented last year. The series seats are not really good. Lateral support and thigh support can hardly satisfy. When it comes to leg and shoulder room, the 159 is one thing in particular: a real Alfa. Crisp and sporty cut.

Not one in which the three of you should sit on the back seat and you don't want to be more than 1.80 meters. The electric chairs at least make it better at the front and are not only a sensible choice because of the better adjustment options. In addition, you save yourself the dubious flocked velor, which really doesn't want to fit into a beautiful model like the Alfa 159 SW. Optional leather? Yes, please!

Precise steering

When it comes to driving behavior, however, there are no surprises. The front-wheel drive drives great. The precise steering and the stiff chassis make fast corners a source of repetitive joy. Slightly more snappy brakes and more comfort with annoying cross joints and the Alfa would be on par with top dogs from Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. So at least he's close.

The same can be said of the entry-level engine. Even if it has appeared in recent years: an Alfa does not necessarily have to have a diesel engine. Even the basic petrol 1.9 JTS is a convincing choice. You feel that you are in good hands; thinks, however, that you are traveling with around 140 hp. In reality, there are 160 of them and a 1.9-liter four-cylinder that needs to be turned vigorously. Fits an Alfa and especially a 159. The easily switchable six-speed gearbox and a pleasant sound make it easy to peek at the beginning of the Alfa price list.

210 km / h top

The 1.9 is closely related to the 185 hp Alfa 159 2.2 and does not drive significantly worse. 190 Nm and 210 km / h top are just as befitting as a sprint potential from 0 to 10 km / h in just under ten seconds and an average thirst of 8.8 liters of super per 100 kilometers. The 159 Sportwagon is available in the equipment variants Progression and Distinctive.

The entry-level model Alfa Romeo 159 SW 1.9 JTS Progression comes as standard with a complete safety package with ESP and seven airbags, aluminum rims, air conditioning and CD sound system. The base price is 27,150 euros. However, the Alfa is only really chic as a distinctive feature. Costs a few hundred more, but it's worth it. After all, the 159 Sportwagon is the best way to get around in a mid-range station wagon. And true beauty also comes from within.