The last Alfa estate was a joke, although an attractive one. Despite its larger derriere, seats up it carried less than the sexier-still saloon. It screamed lifestyle victim.

The new 159 variant, on the other hand, is different.

Not only does it get close to being drop-dead gorgeous, it’s useful, too, when there’s a load to lug. It carries 10% more chattels than the saloon; drop the seats almost flat and this rockets to 1235 litres.

But avoid the petrol 2.2 JTS. Despite a muscular 185PS, it has its work cut out to shift the considerable hidden bulk, needing plenty of revs from an engine that sounds like a diesel at idle. Our car also suffered a demented throttle that was inconsistent in traffic.

You have to really love the fine-driving Alfa to choose it over a BMW. Your firm will have to love it too – a CPM of 43.5ppm is almost 10ppm off a BMW with similar performance.

Verdict: 159’s appeal is dampened by exorbitant costs and a weak engine – try the diesel instead