GoAutoLogo
MENU

Car reviews - Alfa Romeo - Brera - coupe range

Our Opinion

We like
Looks, lovely V6 growl, steady torque delivery, all-wheel drive dynamics
Room for improvement
Cramped rear seat

Alfa Romeo logo1 Aug 2006

By CHRIS HARRIS

GoAuto 01/08/2006

IT’S a moment of suspended belief. Surely – surely - this can’t be the same engine we are starting to become familiar with in Holden’s Commodore.

Where’s the almost complete lack of character that personifies the Alloytec V6 that didn’t quite live up to the pumped-up expectations when it was installed into the VZ Commodore a couple years ago? Where’s the torque curve so linear it’s almost impossible to pick a peak surge, and where’s the stifled out of existence engine note?

To be honest, it’s difficult to say.

Certainly the 3.2-litre version of the same basic engine that appears in Alfa Romeo’s glamorous new Brera coupe doesn’t show any apparent sharing of DNA with the Holden.

What can be achieved with all-new cylinder heads, direct fuel injection and different engine management systems is, in a word, remarkable.

The smaller-bore, same-stroke version of the Holden-built V6 growls like an Alfa should, and delivers useful torque way down in the rpm range even if the maximum doesn’t come in until 4500rpm. Alfa says its engine is producing 90 per cent of its peak torque by the time it is spinning at 1800rpm.

It’s not just the sound, or the bottom-end grunt either. The Brera V6 is redlined at 6700rpm and doesn’t mind going there, unless it’s in first gear where the revs are electronically limited to about 6200rpm.

In the new, V6 version of the Brera coupe, which gains what it loses in weight over comparable, longer-wheelbase 159 models via its all-wheel drive, this is enough to reach 100km/h in 6.8 seconds and run out to a speed limited maximum of 240km/h.

On a varied test drive at the Brera’s launch through the winding and often poorly surfaced roads north of Wiseman’s Ferry and into NSW’s Hunter Valley, the new Alfa V6 showed that its chunky good looks and 4WD chassis combine with the ready power to create a very quick, agile sports coupe with better inherent balance than its larger sedan brethren.

The 191kW V6 announces itself with a barking grumble from the moment it is fired up, and does not disappoint when given a bootful.

The torque is strong enough that the tightly-packed coupe will walk away with ease from 1500rpm in any gear. No driveline snatch, no deep hole as the torque builds up, just a steady, smooth pulse from the dual exhausts accompanied by a steady push in the back.

The feelings of solid strength are backed up by the Alfa’s on-road abilities too. The Brera steers with a certain surety, quick and nicely weighted for the driver and seemingly less upset by mid-corner bumps than its front-drive 159 four-cylinder equivalents.

And, with the full-time all-wheel drive delivering the higher portion of power to the back wheels, there’s a nice all-weather certainty about the car too.

The six-speed manual gearbox that is the only transmission available in Brera at the moment blends beautifully into the overall driving experience with relatively short throws, near-perfect weighting and admirable precision.

The Brera is a car that engenders confidence and tends to have average speeds creeping up on you because it does it all so smoothly and easily. Lucky there’s the omnipresent bass note of the engine to remind you how quickly you are going.

At 100km/h the Brera is loafing along at 2200rpm in sixth gear, but it says something about the lively, smooth nature of the engine that, if you’re not paying attention, it will cruise the freeway with a happy growl in fifth gear too.

For a strong-performing sports coupe, the Brera V6 rides comfortably, with enough suspension compliance to iron out sharper bumps and enough travel to prevent the rear-end thumping you get in some more focussed competitors. The Alfa feels strictly controlled, not harsh.

One is presented, in the Brera V6, with a very Alfa cockpit featuring deeply recessed gauges (a little difficult to read in daylight) and enough leather to keep you happy about your $90 grand-plus investment.

Like the Alfa GT, the Brera is a hatchback too, but nowhere near as commodious.

A high rear sill and a tighter hatch area mean a little more juggling is required to load bulky items. And the cramped back seat relegates it to two plus two status.

The Brera is seen as a competitor for the likes of Audi’s TT, which has a replacement coming its way, and the new BMW 3 series coupe.

It offers Italian charm, assured roadholding and handling backed up by the security of all-wheel drive, all underwritten by a return to that lively V6 growl Alfa is so adept at producing.

Share with your friends

Enquire on or Test Drive a New Brera

Customer Terms and Conditions – New Car Lead enquires

Agreement

This is an agreement between GoAutoMedia Pty Limited ACN 094 732 457 of PO Box 18, Beach Road, Sandringham, VIC, 3191 (“we/us”), the owner and operator of the GoAuto.com.au website (“the website”) and the person wanting GoAuto.com.au to provide them with a lead for the purchase of a new car (“you”).

By completing a New Car Lead Enquiry, you agree to the terms and conditions and disclaimers and acknowledge the policies set out below.

Terms and Conditions

  • In order for us to effect a lead you must you must complete a New Car Lead Enquiry (“Enquiry”).
  • We will call you as soon as possible after you complete the Enquiry and certainly no later than the next business day. When we call, we will discuss with you your new car requirements.
  • You consent to our passing on the Enquiry and your requirements to an appropriate authorised motor car dealer as a lead.
  • We will contact you again in approximately eight days following your initial enquiry to check on the progress of the Enquiry.
  • While we will provide the dealer with the Enquiry and details of your new car requirements, we take no responsibility for what happens after passing on that material as a lead.
  • You acknowledge that we are a new car information service providing new car editorial information, pictures and prices to our customers as a guide only. Any new car prices published on the website are the manufacturers’ recommended retail prices and do not include delivery charges and on-road costs. Any authorized motor car dealer to which we pass on your Enquiry as a lead will provide you with full details of the price at which the vehicle will be sold to you.
  • You acknowledge that we do not sell motor vehicles. Any sale of a new car to you by a dealer after we have passed on your Enquiry to that dealer as a lead, is a sale by that dealer not by us.

Privacy Policy– New Car Lead Enquires

  • We take privacy very seriously. We understand that you will only complete an Enquiry if you can trust us to protect your personal information and use it appropriately. Our policy is to ensure that the personal information collected when you make an Enquiry is only used for the purposes of connecting you with an authorised motor car dealer.
  • We do not on-sell information collected from you or any other customer.
  • From time to time, we may email you with information or promotions that may be relevant for car buyers. You will continue to receive communications from us unless you tell us that you do not want to receive any advertising or promotional information in the future by unsubscribing from these communications.
close
* Denotes required field
** Australian inquiries only
*** Prices exclude on road costs and dealer delivery fees

Motor industry news

GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.