Review by it
Monday, May 16, 2016
- A good choice of engines, including diesels
- Its a head turner, wherever you go
- A stylish and accomplished piece of engineering
- Comfortable seats and a large boot
- Questionable interior design
- No space on the 2nd row of seats
- The suspension doesnt match its sporty image
The Brera is Alfa Romeos latest attempt at building an affordable supercar. With reasonable upkeep costs and attractive fuel consumption figures, this car remains a good choice for people who dont want to spend a 6-figure sum on a supercar. A large portion of Breras were equipped with diesel engines contributing to an even better acceptance of diesels. Although Alfa is not the first manufacturer to put a diesel in a high-spec car, the Italian company actually managed to make driving a diesel car cool
Exterior and Interior
The Brera is one of the very few concept cars to go to the production line with very few amendments. It wasnt subjected to the usual normalisation, and the only thing that seems to be missing from the concept stage is the guillotine doors that were replaced with extra-long hinged doors to the dismay of people who have to park in narrow spaces.
The concept that was unveiled at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show was designed by Italdesign. Surprisingly, when it came to preparing and manufacturing the production model, Alfa Romeo chose Pininfarina. Thus, all the 30,000 units of Brera were produced at the Pininfarina factory outside Turin.
The Brera is considered a design success by many critics. It looks bigger and more expensive than it actually is. The aggressive front design seems to be in harmony with the heavy back side a subtle homage to the wedge profile of the earlier Alfas. The configuration of the car resembles a classic shooting brake with a large boot space. The luggage capacity reaches 610 litres with the rear seats folded, and for claritys sake, its worth to mention that its better to keep the rear seats in folded position permanently. Its quite impossible for anyone to sit there due to constrained leg and head room. You would expect four full-size seats from a 173-inch long car. Nevertheless, as a two-seater, the Brera is extremely comfortable.
The luxurious seats slightly clash with the dull looking centre console. If anything, its the interior design that lets this car down. It looks like a supercar from the outside but the interior simply doesnt follow through. Although it follows the classic Alfa style of directing all of the instruments at the driver, the interior really doesnt match the Breras compeitiors.
Performance and Economy
Its a very quick car. Apart from the 2.0-litre diesel modification you wont find a Brera that couldnt accelerate to 60mph in less than 8 seconds. The most sensible option for the budget racers is a 2.4-litre diesel. It delivers a 7.8-second acceleration, can reach 142mph top speed and will keep the fuel consumption within the 32 35mpg range. A 2.0-litre diesel model can even reach 50mpg and is only slightly slower than the larger diesel.
The two smaller petrol engines are very efficient and will give you more than 30mpg. Theres nothing too impressive about these two a highly tuned 4-cylinder engine on a sportscar is not a very good idea. The 3.2-litre V6 is head and shoulders above the smaller petrol engines. It delivers a crazy amount of torque and power, however, it also requires special maintenance and with a maximum 24mpg it is not cheap to run.
One thing to avoid is the automatic transmission. Theres nothing terribly wrong with it, however, considering how good the 6-speed manual gearbox is (its supplied with any of the engine modifications) youll be missing out big time if you choose an automatic version instead.
Like to Drive
Its a pleasant car to drive yet the level of excitement depends on what you compare it with. Unfortunately, its no match to a proper supercar. The Brera was developed on a budget and its suspension is fairly similar to other Alfas. Thats why in 2008 there was a special edition of Brera S, developed by the UK tuning specialist Prodrive and officially approved by Alfa Romeo.
If youre lucky enough to come across a limited edition model, it features a sporty suspension and is much nicer to drive. Nevertheless, an everyday driver should find the Brera exciting to drive, even without the upgraded suspension. The selection of powerful engines makes up for the slight disappointment of the suspension. The full-wheel drive modification with a 3.2-litre engine is truly spectacular its amazing how much grip you get!
Faults and Repairs
Because the car was outsourced to a specialist manufacturer, the assembly quality is second to none. The Brera is very well-built and ownership should be trouble free. When looking for a used Brera, its wise to steer clear of high-mileage examples. Normally, these Alfas come with a very low mileage because theyre used as a second car or as a summer car. High mileage cars may come with various technical issues, especially the turbo models. Although it was designed as a democratic sports car, repairing a Brera may become expensive.