You know how life goes - it's basically like a bloody Christmas TV advert. You're young, your parents look after you, you play, you're happy; then, you grow up, you get a job, you meet a partner, and you have children. Then you begin to spend an awful lot of money indeed...
You have to buy a car to suit your new lifestyle - the two-seater has to go, obviously. With all your new expenses, can you afford a decent family car though? An SUV? Sod off. If you have to drag your family around with you, and they won't fit inside your empty pockets, you'll at least choose a saloon car. A sporting saloon car, if possible, and preferably one with an Alfa badge.
We all loved the old 156 and you could see why. In its day it was a bit of a looker, even if it was a little more ordinary underneath. In fact it was no more a 'true' Alfa Romeo than my cat is, but to most that didn't matter - it had the badge and it looked great. Enter the 159, which looked, no, looks, absolutely stunning. The question of how it drives, or what it is, is no longer of any relevance unless you're mad - the thing to do now is to just go and buy one.
This lovely example is a 2007 car with 55,000 miles for £7,450, but even that is only telling half the story. Underneath its beautiful body it's a 3.2-litre V6 Q4, and to anyone who knows their Alfas that's a good thing, a very good thing. Try 260hp, 0-60mph in 7 seconds and four-wheel drive. That engine is a sonorous and responsive delight; the drive system is descended from the marvellous Delta Integrale and as a result the Q4 is wonderfully fluent through the bends. Inside is a leathery cocoon with room for your offspring (there's even Isofix), and there's a boot, too.
Oh, and did I mention the full service history and six months' warranty, and the 12-month MOT and comprehensive service? Well, what are you waiting for? Life is also painfully short, you know....
SPECIFICATION - ALFA ROMEO 159 Q4
Engine: 3,195cc, V6
Transmission: six-sppeed automatic, front-wheel drive
Power (hp): 260@6,200rpm
Torque (lb ft): 237@4,500rpm
First registered: 2007
Recorded mileage: 55,000miles
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £7,750
See the original advert here