From £89,785
Great to look at, but nowhere near as special to drive
1 December 2008

What’s new?

It’s a limited-edition version of the Alfa GT. You get leather upholstery, lowered suspension, 18in wheels and a bodykit, mated to a 168bhp version of Alfa’s 1.9-litre turbodiesel engine and, intriguingly, its Q2 limited-slip differential.

What’s it like?

First, the good stuff. The Alfa GT still looks stunning, particularly in the Atlantico Blue of our test car; it’s possibly the only small coupé that can compete with the Audi TT on styling.

The LSD does a half-decent job of coping with the diesel’s 243lb ft, with only occasional torque steer. The gearbox is slick.

And, er, that’s it. The cabin packaging is poor, the dash ergonomics are patchy at best, the ride quality on those 18in wheels is marginal, the diesel engine is peaky and far too vocal for its own good, and fit and finish are too hit-and-miss to be convincing.

The Alfa GT might look great in your office car park, but it’s nowhere near special enough on the road. Alfa’s website blurb says: “Nuvolari would have been proud of it.” Somehow, we doubt it.

Should I buy one?

At just shy of £22k, the Alfa is usefully cheaper than a diesel Audi TT – which is just as well, because it’s a lot rougher round the edges.

However, the Alfa GT is a few hundred quid more expensive than BMW’s 120d ES. Unless looks are everything, we can’t recommend it over Bavaria’s finest.

Join the debate

Comments
41

3 December 2008

I had one of these on an extended test drive when they first came out many years ago. Stunning car to look at but the build quality was appalling. To top it off the chassis dynamics were less than convincing. As you may guess, I didn't buy one.

Sadly it seems both problems have yet to be addressed in this "new" model. It's a shame really, because with just a little bit of work this car could give the TT a serious run for its money.

 

 

It's all about the twisties........

3 December 2008

Oh what a negative review.

"The cabin packaging is poor, the dash ergonomics are patchy at best". Can you elaborate on that?

In another Autocar road-test Adam Towler wrote "Step inside the GT and the 147-esque cabin massages the senses with the usual Alfa cocktail of red lights and lettering. The Alfa shrugs with a typically Italian insouciance and makes it all work really well. The dash design is attractive, the sports seats offer good support, there’s decent room by coupé standards in the back and the boot’s a fair size, too."

The full Autocar road-test of the GT from 2004 said: "The days of chronic Alfa ergonomics are laid to rest with the GT. The steering wheel is the perfect size and thickness and adjusts for reach and rake, and the pedals are well spaced, with only a slight offset. The obligatory triple-cowled binnacle houses handsome black-on-white dials with a digital display beneath. Most of the dash comes from the 147 and that’s no bad thing: it’s well laid out and looks special, with a smattering of silvered plastics."

You claim "the diesel engine is peaky and far too vocal for its own good".

Yet just a couple of years ago Autocar's full road test said thye 150bhp version was a "superb engine"...."This is one of the finest four-cylinder diesels available, with lively acceleration from 1500rpm all the way to 4500rpm before it begins to tail off. At 70mph in sixth you’re sitting at peak torque, so overtaking is a breeze and engine noise is far from intrusive – particularly when it has healthy competition from wind and tyre roar. The engine is impressively refined yet characterful; stir the gearbox and the gruff yet eager note has the rorty edge of twin-cam Alfas of old."

I know these engines well and the 170 bhp version is a free-revving gem, building on the 150bhp version's strengths.

Can you explain why the criticism you level at the GT completely contradicts other Autocar tests of the car?

3 December 2008

[quote montgomery]Can you explain why the criticism you level at the GT completely contradicts other Autocar tests of the car? [/quote] I would suggest that most of the previous tests are from 2004. In that time things have moved on. In 2004 the 1.9 diesel was a lovely engine compared to the standard, now it's merely average. Same with the interior, things have moved on.

3 December 2008

I dont't think packaging and ergonomics have moved on so much in 4 years! Can a comfortable car with good ergonomy becvome an uncomfortable car with bad ergonomy in 4 years? As for the packaging what other coupè at this price looks so lovely with the boot space and back seats of the GT?

3 December 2008

Sorry, good ergonomics I meant. I was thinking in another language.

3 December 2008

With a product cycle usually of 7 years then yes, within 4 years a car can have fallen well behind the pack. Also consider the cars in this sector that have been recently replaced - moving the game on somewhat. I've always liked Alfas, but the GT is overweight, underengineered and relies to much on the fact it looks amazing.

3 December 2008

Too heavy???????

Autocars numbers:

Alfa GT in this test: 1365kg

BMW 120d: 1415kg(I imagine the coupe weighs more or less the same if not more).

Audi TT diesel: 1370kg

It's amazing. Alfa make one car that is heavier than it could have been(the Brera) and all of a sudden every car they've ever made was "too heavy".

I give up. Alfa should just pull out of the U.K. Even the 8C couldn't get fair and consistent reviews there. At least Evo gave it 5/5 stars and said it was the most desireable car on sale. And Evo are honestly the only U.K, motoring magazine I would take seriously.

3 December 2008

[quote montgomery]Alfa make one car that is heavier than it could have been(the Brera) and all of a sudden every car they've ever made was "too heavy".[/quote] Sorry, I should have made myself clear - I meant nose heavy. Poor weight distribution.

3 December 2008

I'm with Montgomery. This review is 70% bullsh!t. It's the reason why I'm yet another ex-subscriber.

3 December 2008

[quote theonlydt][quote montgomery]Alfa make one car that is heavier than it could have been(the Brera) and all of a sudden every car they've ever made was "too heavy".[/quote] Sorry, I should have made myself clear - I meant nose heavy. Poor weight distribution.[/quote]

Put 50KG in the boot that should even it out a bit.

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