What is it?
It’s Alfa’s new high-tech, down-sized petrol engine, which spearheads a challenge to get the 159 back on track as a genuine mid-sized sports saloon.
There has also been plenty of work done to lift the 159 from its dynamic mediocrity into the sort of machine that more fulfils the adventure promised by its looks.
The engine has had the legendary twin-spark head removed altogether in favour of modern direct-injection, while around 70kg has been stripped out of the architecture and the steering’s been tweaked for more feedback.
What’s it like?
Now sporting 197bhp out of the so-called 1750 four-cylinder turbo petrol engine (it’s actually a 1742cc engine, but they like the history of 1750), it’s a cleaner, crisper, sharper engine and, as a bonus, it’s faster, too.
Yet there’s more than meets the eye, because this is the latest in the trend to downsize engines for economy while maintaining outputs, so when Alfa’s literature says it’s 100kg lighter, they actually mean that the saloon’s 1430kg is 100kg lighter than a similarly-powered V6…
It doesn’t sound that much different when you fire it up, but it’s smoother in its feel and the few vibrations it has a charmingly warm, rather than tiring or annoying or distracting.