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My family also took a two week trip to Italy in August; a week in the northern cities (no car!), a week in Tuscany (with a car). We reserved the car with a travel consolidator in the US, got a "C" class car from Avis for less than half of what Avis charges on their own site, plus they had a promotion going for a free upgrade to "D" class.
When I got the the Avis counter to pick up the car, there was a HUGE line (typical for just about anything open while most of the country was closed for vacation). Finally, somone appeared at the "Avis Preferred" desk and I jumped over, inquiring if he could help me as I was an Avis Preferred member - "sure!". After assuring him that I did not need or want a car equipped with automatic transmission, he offered up a BMW 3-series car. I stated that while that was a very fine car, I was somewhat of a car fan and had my heart set on something else: an Alfa. We chatted a bit about cars and he said that he had the perfect car for me: a brand-new Alfa Romeo 159 JTD turbo diesel 5-speed. I came back to my family with an ear-to-ear grin.
Now this was a CAR! It was gorgeous, body designed by Giugiaro, equipped with a 1.9 liter turbo diesel. Diesel fuel was actually higher while I was there, 1.24 Euros/liter, and this car sipped it while returning quite reasonable performance. While having only 150 hp and redlining at 4500 rpm (quite different from my old Alfa Spider!), it had the same torque specs as my SAAB 9000T, 236 ft-lbs, and accellerated almost as well, with a few somewhat flat spots - but remember, this car was brand-new.
I did not keep accurate tabs on gas mileage, as I assume that it was suffering at 190 kph speeds on the Autostrada, zipping up and down hills in the wine country, etc. However, when I went to fill it up, it was obvious that it was generating exceptional mileage.
The interior had a couple of notable features:
1. an electronic key fob (with no metal key!) that inserts into the dash, starter is operated via a red pushbutton ala the Honda 2000.
2. no cupholders! If you are driving at Autostrada speeds, you should be paying full attention. This will never fly in the US.
By the way, even my wife commented on the "eye candy" appeal of the Italian women!
posted by 75.34.161...
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