Brera Concept 2002
Production Alfa Brera 2006
Alfa Romeo Brera
The revised Alfa Brera
Alfa Romeo Brera interior
The Brera was first rolled out at the Geneva motor show in 2002, and it stunned the crowds. Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro's Ital Design it was never intended to become a production model. The prototype featured all-wheel drive, carbon fibre bodywork and the engine was a 90 degree V8 that displaced 4.2 Litres and produced 402 bhp this was then set back in the chassis to aid weight distribution. The Brera featured the classic, long nose, short deck styling reminiscent of other powerful Italian GT's. The front features the classic Alfa Romeo grille and an aggressiveness that has echoes of "Il Mostro", the classic love-it-or-hate-it Alfa Romeo ES30 SZ from the early 1990s. The wheel arches are subtly flared and with the smooth waistline, the design suggested power.
Like one of its predecessors, the Montreal, Alfa Romeo decided that due to the acclaim the design received, it would go into production as Alfa Romeo needed a replacement for the ageing GTV and Spider. Unusually, its production engineering was carried out by Ital design's arch-rival Pininfarina, however, the design remains remarkably faithful to the original concept although the gull-wing doors of the show car have been dropped. The chassis is based on Alfa Romeo's premium platform, as is the Alfa 159 but the wheelbase is significantly shorter. This chassis has more torsional rigidity than the outgoing GTV, and the Alfa Romeo engineers have exploited this, coming up with some very well-judged suspension settings. The car is as happy to be thrown around the country lanes, helped by the low ratio steering rack and the passive rear-wheel steering, as it is cruising down the motorway.
The Brera, whose name incidentally comes from a posh suburb of Milan, has three engine options, 2.2 litre four-cylinder petrol, 3.2-litre V6 petrol and 2.4 litre five-cylinder diesel. The 2.2 litre engine produces 185 bhp and like the V6, is based on a GM unit. This engine has variable cam timing on both inlet and exhaust camshafts and has considerably more torque than the outgoing Fiat unit. With this engine fitted the car will come with a 6-speed manual or Q-tronic gearbox and drive will be through the front wheels. The V6 engine produces 260 bhp and is matched to a four-wheel-drive system that normally splits the power 43/57 with the bias to the rear. When the torsen c differential senses a lack of grip it can adjust the torque split from this setting so that 78% of the torque goes to the front or rear wherever it is needed. The V6 engine loses none of the verve of the Alfa Romeo V6 it replaces and still makes the spine tingle at high revs. The 2.4l, 5 cylinder, 20 valve common rail diesel with variable vane turbocharger is a carryover from the Alfa 156 and as such is a tried and trusted product; in this guise, the power output is up from 175 bhp to 200 bhp and it produces a massive 400 lb foot of torque.
The GTA version should be available in October 2007, and Alfa Romeo have been mule testing both the bi-turbo 3.2 v6 at 380hp and the 4.7 v8 at 450hp and at the moment it looks as if they will install the V8, however, there is a chance that they will use an overbored version of the V6 at around 3.6 litres as that is already available through General Motors.
The interior is a very nice place to be, there is a feeling of quality with every surface padded including soft cloth in the door pockets, and the centre console is made from real Aluminium. The instruments have the sporty feel carried over from past Alfa Romeos with all the gauges facing the driver and the leather seats are both sporty and supportive. Starting the engine is a matter of pressing a button and the minor Radio controls are on the adjustable steering wheel
The Brera chassis is quite a departure from Alfa's of the recent past and is built and I do mean built, this chassis is easily capable of taking 400bhp. Suspension components are twice the size of the outgoing GTV and even with the present 260bhp the chassis never gets flustered, it merely does exactly as you tell it, there are non of the exciting moments you get in a GTV 3.0 either, it is just crying out for more power. Looking at the design of the chassis in terms of bushes and fixtures it also appears to be designed to last, these parts look well-engineered and at least of the same quality as their rivals but only time will tell in this department. Alfa has well and truly sorted out the corrosion issues with no model produced in the last 15 years showing any hint of corrosion.
The Alfa Romeo Brera is a coupe in the tradition of Alfa Romeo, but it has some very stiff competition from the Audi TT and the Nissan 350 Z. Like the TT it started life as a show car, however the verve that makes this car an Alfa Romeo is there, setting it above its rivals.
The Brera has just received a small facelift and its production facility in Southern Italy has been refurbished. While the external revisions are minor the factory has done some major revisions under the skin and they have managed to shave up to 100kg off the kerb weight; this is a big improvement as this was one area where the car was at a disadvantage when compared to the competition. Importantly the weight of the unsprung components is an area where they have concentrated their efforts with the brake callipers now manufactured from billet aluminium, together with many detailed modifications to the suspension components as well as a significant reduction in the weight of the wheels.
|2.2 JTS||32.JTS V6 Q4||2.4JTD Mjet|
|No of Cylinders||4 inline||60 degree V6||5 inline|
|Max Power (bhp)||185||260||200|
|Peak Torque (Nm)||230||322||400|
|Top Speed (mph)||138||149||142|
|Drive||Front Wheels||Four Wheels||Front Wheels|
|Suspension Front||Double Wishbone||Double Wishbone||Double Wishbone|
|Suspension Rear||Multi link||Multi Link||Multi Link|
|Brakes Front||305mm Vented||330mm Vented||330mm Vented|
|Brakes Rear||278mm Solid||292mm Vented||292mm Vented|
203 Montecarlo blue metallic
565 Alfa silver metallic
583 Rubino red metallic
585 Touring grey metallic
586 Misano blue metallic
588 Gold metallic
696 Diamante grey metallic
876 Carbonio black metallic
289 Alfa Red
All colours except black are at extra cost (which I personally find unacceptable; why should red be at extra cost except to profiteer?)
Dual-zone climate control, Electric mirrors, Onboard computer, VDC, Rear parking sensors, Cruise control, 16" Alloy wheels, Seven airbags, CD player
SV Trim, Panoramic roof, Leather upholstery, 17" alloy wheels, Electric mirrors that fold flat, Aluminium trim