The best Brera available - but we still wouldn't recommend buying one

What is it?

The Brera coupe gets a new engine (as does sister model Spider too), this down-sized, direct injection turbocharged four cylinder replacing the old 3.2 V6 with its strong 197bhp and exceptional, diesel-esque 236lb ft from 1400rpm.

This engine has helped upgrade the handsome but ageing 159 into a late-life contender, and it would be no less satisfying if the beautiful Brera were similarly transformed.

Those old enough will know that ‘1750’ has special significance in Alfa history, first as a pre-war sports car of mighty reputation, and in the late ‘60s as an iteration of the Giulia 105 Series family, which included the terrific GTV that the Brera is a descendent of.

Intriguingly, Giorgetto Giugiaro designed both cars, the first as a 22 year old on national service.

What’s it like?

When the 159 got this engine option last year there were a number of improvements to go with it, but the Brera has largely done without such attention.

So while the new engine impresses with its torque and sound-track, the car itself feels curiously leaden and unsporting, the deft poise and fluent handling that you’d expect proving as absent as it they’ve always been.

Instead, the Brera does better as long-distance cruiser especially as its interior, though beginning to date, is pleasing to look at, especially in combination with the ambience created by the glass roof.

The Alfa is relatively refined in terms of noise suppression too, but some will tire of the pattery and occasionally crashing ride that persists.

Still, only a pair of occupants is ever likely to suffer this, a glance over your shoulder revealing the still surprising sight of a pair of rear seats butting up against the backrests of the chairs in front - how so much space can go missing in a car this long remains a mystery, but whatever the answer the result is a car that barely qualifies as a two-plus-two, let alone a four-seater.

Should I buy one?

There’s no way around this - no, unless you are blindly in love with the Brera’s looks (easy to understand) and want the best engine the car has ever had. Which this 1750 motor is, and the combination of improved performance over the V6 and spectacularly improved emissions and economy unquestionably make a better car of this Brera.

But it’s not a great Alfa, nor even a good one - it has too many fundamental flaws for that, and has had too little polish to allow you to overlook them.

Join the debate

Comments
34

5 June 2010

Alfa are constantly improving on all of their models very quickly now, which i think is both good and bad. The good thing is that they will soon no longer fall apart, so you can then buy one without the worry of it ever going wrong for you. The bad thing is that it will loose the soul and passion that Alfa's have always had, just because they are never, ever boring.

5 June 2010

i think the new 1750i engines,brilliant as they are,can only improve on the alfa's soul and passion to be honest........apparently its a stunning engine.

6 June 2010

Isn't that just an Italian Porsche 928 without the good bits?

Peter Cavellini.

6 June 2010

just the contrary i'd say......at least the alfa looks good!

7 June 2010

Come on Alfa, lose some weight man!!!!

7 June 2010

For £28,305, I could buy a 1750GTV like my wife's old one, have it fully restored, perhaps drop in a V6 engine, upgrade the suspension, and still have change left over. Sorry, Alfa, but this is way wide of the mark. Lighter, RWD and a small six-cylinder, please...

7 June 2010

I dont see what so amazing about this engine VW have been making the 2.0 T for ages which has 200bhp in the Golf GTI and also other turbo petrol engines which are more powerful.

7 June 2010

Yeah, but this is a 1.75 liter. Anyway, the engine is only good enough and from all reports seems to lack Alfa characteristics (nice to rev, musicality). The car is finally not too heavy any more (1430 kg vs 1650 kg for the Q4 V6). Still, what's the point of having a flawed Alfa if it isn't even going to stir your blood with a great engine?

The 1.4 Turbo Multiair as found in the Giulietta sonds a whole lot more promising.

7 June 2010

The 2 biggest faults of the Brera have always been the lack of space and slightly rubbish ride and handling. If you look at side profile picture its obvious where they went wrong. The wheelbase is too short with the front wheels only just ahead of the scuttle and a massive front overhang. This flaw pushes the driver back into the cabin and robs the rear of any legroom. Further more, this relatively long car with a short wheelbase ends up with a compromised front end that doesn't turn into corners properly and to compensate is set up too stiffly which ruins the ride. With so much weight in front of the front axle all you get is understeer.

I do like the new engine and when Alfa add the Multi Air technology to it it will get even better. Will be a belter in the Giulietta.

7 June 2010

good torque but..

189g/km / 34.9mpg

golf is 170g/km / 38.7mpg from a 2.0 engine.


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