Some Alfistas attack Autocar from time to time with the accusation that we are biased against Alfa.

Not true. We take as we find, and what we’ve found for the past decade has been disappointing. Like many others we’re frustrated that Alfa has not being producing cars that are totally worthy of such a great brand. Step forward models such as the Brera and Mito.

Alfa Romeo 159 Sportwagon 1750 TBi TI test drive review

But I drove home in a cracking Alfa last night, the 159 1750 Sportwagon. It’s fitted with the company’s new 1750cc turbo engine which is good for 197bhp. While it’s hardly electrifyingly quick, it’s satisfyingly rapid, smooth and lovely to live with. Way quieter than an Alfa diesel too.

Most of all I was impressed with the 159. The company’s made myriad small changes to the car since it was launched and they’ve all been for the better. It felt like a quality product and was far more satisfying to drive than the Audi A5 Sportback I was in the night before.

Alfa’s at a bit of a crossroads at the moment. Fiat boss Sergio Marchionne has let it be known that the brand needs to get its act together to secure its future. Most of all it needs to fend off the attack from the Germans and start making prestige car makers at least include Alfa on the shopping list. That doesn’t just include the cars either, it has to include the whole buying and aftersales experience too.

But after my quick drive I’d say that if you are in the 3-series/A4 set market you should at least give the 159 1750 some house room.

It’s given me new hope for the forthcoming Giulietta hatch and what comes after it anyway.