Great new engine is almost spoiled by some unwise options fitted to our test car
13 August 2010

What is it?

Alfa’s eye-catching coupé gets Fiat Group’s new 1742cc turbocharged petrol engine.

What’s it like?

With some unwise options fitted to the car, it was almost hard to tell.

This test car was fitted with optional (at £2610) electrically adjustable leather seats that come close to completely ruining any enjoyment this Brera can offer.

A combination of over-stuffing and the electrical gubbins leave drivers of all sizes perched far too high for comfort. At least one Autocar staffer couldn’t actually physically drive this Brera.

And while we’re unticking the options boxes, the beautiful 18in 5-Hole wheels and 235/45 tyres (a £700 option) are fundamentally incompatible with broken British roads.

Having dispensed with the undesirable options, it's possible to concentrate on what the Brera 1750 does get right. Striking looks aside, it’s the car’s extraordinary engine that’s the real treat here.

Despite displacing just 1742cc, it not only pumps out 200bhp without feeling remotely over-tuned, it twists out an amazing 236lb ft of torque from only 1400rpm.

It’s an achievement that would shame many diesels, very few of which could match this motor’s near six-pot smoothness and flexibility. The ratios in the six-speed ’box are also particularly well matched to this engine.

Under the skin, the Brera is a notably sophisticated machine, benefiting from double wishbone front suspension, unusual in a front-driver.

However, in the UK at least, the Brera is no more than an occasionally entertaining drive. It has some enthusiasm for turning into bends and a satisfying mid-range turn of speed.

The Brera’s bulk works against it being flung around, although it can be made to string a series of B-road bends together with something approaching elegance.

The Brera didn’t much like the short-wave undulations and changing surfaces of Surrey’s backroads either, which caused it to hop, patter and fidget. Shown a smooth stretch of road, the 1750 Brera is potentially a decent GT. Sadly, such roads are rarely on the UK’s option list.

Should I buy one?

That’s hard to say, because this is such a singular machine. And Alfas that look this good tend to be an instinctive purchase. Purist driving enthusiasts won’t get much from this Alfa, however.

Leisure drivers who fancy a well-made weekend Tourer (albeit effectively a two-seater) might like it, though. It looks fantastic, the engine is superb and the all-round feel-good factor of ownership will be enough for some. It’s best in base form at £25,205, though.

Alfa Brera 1750 TBi

Price: £25,205; Price as tested: £30,450; Top speed: 146mph; 0-62mph: 7.7sec; Economy: 34.9mpg; CO2: 189g/km; Engine: 4cyl, 1742cc, turbopetrol; Power: 200bhp at 5000rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1400rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

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Comments
26

13 August 2010

I know it's not like for like, or in the same price bracket, but how is it that my 330i touring has a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine, gets from 0-60 in 6 secs, produces less CO2 and averages 37mpg??? why is it only bmw who seem able to produce these sort of figures??? i find it such a shame as the brera is absolutely gorgeous! a friend of mine has a spider with red leather seats...stunning!

13 August 2010

[quote il sole]I know it's not like for like, or in the same price bracket, [/quote] Exactly! [quote il sole] why is it only bmw who seem able to produce these sort of figures???[/quote] If you are Alfa fan, you don't ask such questions! Should I buy one? Well, Autocar should show competitors and one can make his own decision. Should I buy one? Well, Alfa fan don't ask such questions! Seriously,that heavy chassis follows this,and not only this Alfa,so she never showed her real potentials,with this engine also. Pity the exterior will be extinguished in next Alfas!

13 August 2010

I haven't driven a Brera recently, but I'm finding the tester's comments on those tyres rather strange. My Alfa 159 has exactly the same 18" 235/45 wheels and tyres, Pirelli P-Zeros, and I love them, they're the best ride/handling compromise of anything I've owned in recent years, and a truly vast improvement on an Audi's A4 impossibly uncomfortable sports seats and suspension package, which I endured for three years a couple of cars ago. Since the Brera is just a two door re-bodied 159, how is it possible that exactly the same wheel/tyre combination "ruined your enjoyment" of the Brera, whilst in my opinion after two years of ownership, it's a 'must-have' option on my car, which is mechanically almost identical?

jer

13 August 2010

Love the prospect of the petrol engines giving alternatives to the rattlers. I could'nt physically fit in to drive it either. I think this statement needs to be send to all dynamics engineers tuning cars for UK roads :

" the beautiful 18in 5-Hole wheels and 235/45 tyres (a £700 option) are fundamentally incompatible with broken British roads. "

13 August 2010

[quote Autocar]Alfa’s eye-catching coupé gets Fiat Group’s new 1742cc turbocharged petrol engine.[/quote]

I can't believe they are still making this piece of #$%^

13 August 2010

[quote il sole]I know it's not like for like, or in the same price bracket, but how is it that my 330i touring has a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine, gets from 0-60 in 6 secs, produces less CO2 and averages 37mpg??? why is it only bmw who seem able to produce these sort of figures??? [/quote]

Let's look at a closer comparison - 4 cyl. engine - with the German competition.

Autocar reckons this new Alfa engine is a marvel. Okay, so how about this engine:

1,796cc, 204hp, 230 lb.ft ?

Maker? Mercedes-Benz. The 250CGI BlueEfficiency. In the humdrum C-class saloon this engine outsprints the 'sporty' Brera, 0-62mph 7.4s, and drinks less, 39.2 mpg (168g CO2/km). Oh, and it's cheaper than the Alfa - as tested.

And when Mercedes releases its new 3.5 V6 'MoVe' engine later this year the C-class/E-class will have lower CO2 figures than this four-pot Alfa.

Alfa - latin for 'joke'. Funny though.

13 August 2010

Yeah, unfortunately the Mercedes with the ridiculous name needs a curfew based on looks alone, would be taxed out of site in Italy due to CC's. Oh and once the TB engine in the Alfa gets MultiAir/stop/start none of the Merc engines will see which way it went economy or emission wise.

Still, the Brera is way too heavy and that is not defensible.

13 August 2010

[quote il sole]but how is it that my 330i touring has a 3 litre 6 cylinder engine, gets from 0-60 in 6 secs, produces less CO2 and averages 37mpg??? [/quote] ...and averages 37mpg?.......hmmm...someone been eating porky pies? ...either that or you're driving everywhere at 56mph.

13 August 2010

Dunno about that, modern bmws have superb economy considering the power on offer

13 August 2010

"And while we’re unticking the options boxes, the beautiful 18in 5-Hole wheels and 235/45 tyres (a £700 option) are fundamentally incompatible with broken British roads."

Seems to me that Autocar only complain about this if they already don't like the car.

The Focus RS is sold with 235/35 tyres on 19" wheels (and the ride is bone shaking as you may guess), but my - admittedly shaky - memory doesn't recall this being frowned upon.

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