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Alfa Romeo Electric Cars

It’s another Alfa only this time it may be for real

November 2005

Is or is this not, a serious car? God knows it’s Alfa Romeo had something to hold its head high in the pantheon, no excuses, no half-measures. 250bhp through the front has been all very well, but it ideal when we’re about truly credible machines.

Happily, lurking in the RD ready for the company’s new ‘premium’ has been a fine four-wheel-drive And now the cars are emerging that use of the new ‘Q4’ transmission: first the 159 and now the Alfa the world has wanted it appeared as an unofficial concept on Design’s 2002 Geneva stand. Meet the Brera.

As the Brera was a dramatic gullwing named after a posh of Milan, Alfa’s home Ital Design boss Giugiaro hadn’t intended it for but Alfa Romeo was looking to the GTV and Spider, adopted the Brera and gave it to Pininfarina to engineer a production reality.

Pininfarina now the Brera, and will make the Spider by the summer, in its Turin The gullwing doors have replaced by regular frameless but otherwise the concept — roof with electric included — has stayed as as Audi’s TT did in the reality transformation.

You’ve seen the Brera’s before. The late-life facelift for the 156 such a front, and the just-launched 159 is the bumper and valance apart, as the up to and including the dashboard. The platform is the too, apart from a shortened from 2700mm to and three of the engines are taken the 159 range. They are a new 2.2-litre, petrol with variable Phaser’ inlet and exhaust plus direct injection, a 260bhp V6 with the same (both are based on aluminium, blocks), and the existing five-cylinder, turbodiesel currently giving

All drive through six-speed

Cut now to Fiat/Alfa Romeo’s test at Balocco, midway between and Milan. I’m in the Brera Q4 V6, the car on broad, crisp-edged shoulders performance-car credibility rests. The track contains dozens of of road: fast straights, bends, tight corners, radii, bumps, cambers, broken edges, the lot.

Psycho-acoustics is a big part of modern design. If a new car sounds enticing, not because it just happened way through some petrol-fuelled osmosis, like it used to. It have been engineered, clinicked, deconstructed, reconstructed.

It that, despite rampant Alfa’s new V6 sounds as good as an V6 should; deep and burbly at low forte con brio at high

But, unlike its ancestors, engine has meaningful low-end even if the peak torque of ft doesn’t arrive until And that’s just as well, this Brera is one heavy It weighs 1630kg, so its outright isn’t ballistic, merely quick.

Standstill to 62mph 6.8sec, thrust finally at 149mph.

The Q4 system clearly weight, but it’s set up to make the feel almost rear-wheel-drive-ish of the time. The nominal front/rear split is 43/57, but it can alter 72/28 and 22/78 as required. a big spread, controlled by a Torsen-C diff and the usual bevy of steering and yaw sensors.

There’s a system which you can turn and a stability system (called which you can’t, although off the traction resets the VDC to allow drift.

OK, crunch time. We want not to feel as turbulent as the 156 GTA, not as as the 147 GTA. Maybe a taste of WRX would be good. On the first flick after the straight it keenly, flicks directions gets its power down.

similarly grippy and positive on the fast left-hander.

Now a tight followed by more tight snakes. In one 180degree right-hander, physics does win through; I to slow down to rein in the because late braking and the tail out doesn’t give sustained weight transfer the back to let me keep the power on. you can make the Brera drift on a bend, and you do get a frisson of rear-driveness as you onto the next straight, but a transient state.

Alfa’s drivers say you can make it power if you really abuse it, but it’s not Traction and torque-steer, however, are not an And there hasn’t been a powerful Alfa you can say that for a very long time.

Alfa Romeo Electric Cars

This Brera will about ΂£30,000 when it in early April. The JTD turbodiesel later, but the likely biggest the 2.2 JTS, will appear in UK along with the V6. It’s drive, of course, and weighs a 160kg (or two people) less the V6.

The residual mass is still a lot for 185bhp, though, and there are coupes around the 2.2’s selling price with more power (the 350Z, for example).

The upside is the new Alfa platform, with its front suspension and multiple-link has no trouble at all in getting that to the front wheels. And, the 156-derived range of earlier including the GT which continues in the for the time being, it manages to taut handling and a solid with a compliant, controlled free of shudders and bottoming-out. A stiff bodyshell helps

Out on the open road in the 2.2, up some Alpine foothills of Balocco, I’m going gently than in the 3.2, frustratingly wasn’t allowed out of the track’s gates. Now I can discover the steering is both quicker and than a 159’s, thanks to the wheelbase and driver-friendlier valving, but a disappointing rubberiness around the It filters out too much subtle feel, but at least the steering suffer from the friction in too many modern systems.

And the faster I go, and the twistier the road, the the Brera gets as other fill in the gaps.

It points like the V6, and as you accelerate through a corner you can feel the outside wheel loading. That’s a sign of a throttle-adjustable balance, and so it This Brera is fluid, and accurate, attributes that up for its lack of ultimate pace.

The isn’t especially strong at low either, forcing much use of the shifter, and an inconsistent throttle makes for jerky progress at It does make a convincing twin-cam, four-pot sound, so you can forgive it a lot.

Many will buy a Brera for its looks and anyway, and they won’t be Its low, six-light nose faintly menacing, its tail is by eight light units set in a sea beneath two horizontal lenses, and the of the rear window’s base directly to the Alfa badge. It the tailgate handle; pull it to a decent boot space, bigger by folding rear which are otherwise big enough for at best.

Front occupants, meanwhile, in their leather chairs by padded surfaces and a slab of aluminium on the hefty, driver-angled passenger-excluding) centre console. You sit than in a 159, and the driving should suit almost For many, the Brera 2.2 will be enough.

You should try a V6, though. good when faith is

Alfa Romeo Electric Cars
Alfa Romeo Electric Cars
Alfa Romeo Electric Cars

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