4 February 2005

This is the Alfa Romeo Brera, replacement for the GTV and the car intended to rejuvenate the company’s reputation for making glamorous, sporty, sophisticated, elegant and desirable cars. It goes on sale here late this year, at prices starting well under £25,000.

Based on the Brera concept car revealed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and ItalDesign at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show, the most powerful Q4 versions will provide four-wheel drive and either a 200bhp 2.4 JTD diesel engine or the all-new 260bhp 3.2 V6 that Fiat Auto has been developing with General Motors. The entry-level model will be offered with a four-cylinder, GM-derived 2.2-litre JTS petrol engine and front-wheel drive. Both six-speed manuals and automatic transmissions will be offered.

Alfa has worked hard to provide mechanicals advanced enough to produce a serious challenge to the German stranglehold on dynamic capability. Rather than using the cheaper Haldex four-wheel-drive system – which distributes significant power to the rear axle only when the front wheels lose grip – the Brera is equipped with the latest Torsen C centre differential, which sends 58 per cent of the available torque to the rear wheels in normal conditions, to provide the handling balance of a rear-drive car. And, depending on grip, up to 70 per cent of torque can go to the rear wheels, or 60 per cent to the front pair.

The suspension is sophisticated, too. At the front there is a double wishbone set-up; at the rear a multi-link arrangement, as well as the usual battery of electronic driver aids. Alfa is claiming ‘outstanding engineering and driveability’, and ‘an interior ambience that is both intimate and sophisticated,’ to which the standard part-glazed roof contributes.

The Brera will be the second Alfa based on the company’s new Premium platform – the first being the 157 saloon, which will also be launched this year. The Brera sits on a shorter wheelbase, however, and its upper body structure is reportedly a spaceframe construction. The body is claimed to be immensely stiff, which will also benefit the convertible Spider version – with its own unique styling – due in 2006.

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