Alfa 159 1750 Turbo

Hi-tech engine gives exec a fresh lease of life

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

It's been a long time coming, but with the new 1750 Turbo, Alfa finally has an engine that matches the 159’s good looks and upmarket interior. Smooth and refined, it’s every inch a match for offerings from BMW and Audi.

Over the past 18 months, Alfa has been working flat out on a new family of engines for its mid-range models – and the first to appear will be this 200bhp turbocharged unit, available in the 159, Brera and Spider.

Called the 1750 – in honour of the firm’s 1750 Berlina models of the late Sixties – the four-cylinder unit will be joined by a new 170bhp diesel when it goes on sale later this year.

On the road, the engine transforms the 159. It’s smooth and responsive, and delivers its power evenly from as little as 1,000rpm. The performance is largely the result of a clever engine management system and direct fuel injection. The car also runs a comparatively high compression ratio, helping to improve torque.

Refinement is first class, and if there is a criticism, it’s that the engine lacks the character associated with Alfa’s old units. But any longing for times past should be laid to rest by the fuel economy and 37mpg CO2 emissions of 189g/km.

Rival: Audi A4 1.8 TFSI THE turbocharged A4 is a great cruiser with a strong image, but it’s not as quick as the Alfa. However, its 1.8-litre engine scores on its fuel economy and emissions.

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