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

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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sniper one 18 August 2010

Re: Alfa Romeo Brera 1750 TBi

i think that 236ibs/ft at just 1400rpm is what makes the difference,making it far more flexible than the old vw engine....

Brian_GTi 18 August 2010

Re: Alfa Romeo Brera 1750 TBi

I'm struggling to see what is so amazing about this engine, apart from the relatively low cubic capacity, it has near identical bhp/co2/torque figures as a 2004 MK5 Golf GTi ??

The current MK6 Golf GTi now has 207bhp, CO2 output of 170g/km and returns 38mpg..... to me this Fiat/Alfa looks like yesterday's technology when compared....................

sniper one 15 August 2010

Re: Alfa Romeo Brera 1750 TBi

The focus is acceptable but very bland but the Mondeo if verging on the hideous.Mind you the estate is far better balanced....not a patch on a Insignia,never mind a 159 Sportwagon tho.I thought that this weeks feature on the new mondeo tdci was particularly biased by Autocar,embarressingly so even.