The Alfa Romeo 159 is a compact executive car that was produced by the Italian manufacturer Alfa Romeo between 2005 and 2011. The 159 was introduced in production form at the 2005 Geneva Motor Show as a replacement for the successful Alfa Romeo 156. The 159 uses the GM/Fiat Premium platform, shared with the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider production cars, and with the Kamal and Visconti concept cars. The 159 placed third in the 2006 European Car of the Year awards. Production of the 159 ended in late 2011 to make way for its replacement, the Giulia. The 159 is however still available to purchase new from stock.
The Alfa Romeo 159 had a troubled development, being designed in the midst of the Fiat-General Motors joint venture which was terminated in 2005. Originally the 159 was intended to use GM’s Epsilon platform, however late during its development it was changed to the GM/Fiat Premium platform. (The Premium platform is more refined and expensive, being intended for E-segment executive cars such as an Alfa Romeo 166 successor but that never materialized, so Alfa Romeo attempted to recoup some of the platform development costs with the 159. General Motors originally planned Cadillac, Buick and Saab models for this platform but ending up discarded them over cost concerns.) Unfortunately, the 159′s late transition to what was fundamentally made as an E-segment platform resulted in the 159 having excessive weight, a problem shared by its sisters, the Alfa Romeo Brera coupe and Spider convertible. In 2008, changes made to the interior, dashboard, instruments and materials, and aluminium components were introduced, which reduced kerb weight by 45 kilograms (99 lb). As a result of its executive car platform, the 159 is larger than its predecessor at 4660 millimetres (183.4 in) long some 225 mm (8.9 in) longer than the Alfa 156, 1828 mm (71.9 in) wide and 1417 mm (55.7 in) high. The 159′s size made it considerably more comfortable than the 156 due to its larger roomy interior. However the considerable growth in dimensions deterred many 156 owners from considering the 159 as a direct replacement model. Due to the sophisticated Premium platform that the 159 is based upon, high level of passive safety was achieved, and the torsional rigidity of the chassis is one of the best in this category at 180.000 daNm/rad.
The 159 was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in collaboration with the Alfa Centro Stile. The nose features a traditional Alfa Romeo V-shaped grille and bonnet, and cylindrical head light clusters. A high waistline broadens until it reaches the rear “C” pillar. Several exterior design cues were intended to made the car appear larger, supposedly to appeal to potential buyers in the United States, however the 159 was never exported to that region. The interior also features styling treatments familiar from earlier cars, including the 156, such as deeply recessed instruments which are angled towards the driver. Alfa Romeo intended for the 159 to compete more directly with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi by using higher quality interior materials, however it has been said that Alfa Romeo misjudged their brand’s positioning relative to the more well-known Germany luxury automakers.