Those swoopy curves and legendary badge can all too easily distract attention away from a less than perfect ride and ergonomics.
That entrancement continues with the 2009 version of the 159 model. Purists will appreciate that Alfa Romeo has left the Giugiaro-styled exterior well alone, instead concentrating on under-skin and interior changes.
Sportiest of the range is the Ti (Tourism International), which boasts suspension lowered by 20 mm over standard – engineered to provide sharper turn-in response and less body roll – and 19 inch alloy wheels with 235/40 low profile tyres.
Inside, the theme continues with a driver-focused cockpit of black leather with red highlighting. The dashboard is trimmed in burnished aluminium that has been darkened so as to show off the red-ringed instruments exclusive to the 159 Ti.
For the first time in Australia, the Ti is available with the car-maker’s most powerful turbo-diesel, the 2.4-litre, 154 kW, 400 Nm JTD.
Combined with optional Q-Tronic, six-speed tiptronic automatic gearbox, the JTD empowers the Ti with plenty of useful urge to complement its sporty chassis and provides a truly engaging drive. It can accelerate to 100 km/h in 8.4 seconds.
However, all but the enthusiast could find the ride too harsh around town and on back roads. Tyre roar over coarse chip surfaces might also prove tiresome.