The new layout offers longer wheel travel and while still remaining quite firm, it soaks up the bumps better and improves traction.
The 2.4 JTDM diesel unit, as tested, produces 200bhp at 4,000rpm and almost 400Nm of torque at 2,000rpm. The 0-62mph sprint is achieved in 8.1 seconds and the top speed is 142mph, where legal.
I was told that Alfa Romeo expects the test model to be the best-seller because it combines style and frugality. Figures are posted as 30.7mpg and 52.3mpg for the urban and extra-urban cycles. The resultant combined is a reasonable 41.5mpg with 179g/km CO2 coming from the quad exhaust pipes. Alfa Romeo also tells us that this is the most powerful unit in their JTD family with an output of 84bhp/litre.
Changes to the common-rail fuel system have made the engine quieter and reduced vibration. However, it still leaves you in no doubt that there is a diesel unit under the bonnet.
I particularly enjoyed the purposeful gear-change of the 6-speed manual transmission in the test car. It is the same as that mated to the 3.2 JTS Q4, while the 2.2JTS has a slightly different version of the 6-speed box.
The front suspension of the Brera is an uprated version of that in the 159, although, the difference is not readily noticeable. The new layout offers longer wheel travel and while still remaining quite firm, it soaks up the bumps better and improves traction. This, in combination with the positive, speed-sensitive steering, makes for flat, confident cornering on fast bends. And there’s plenty of torque to play with.
All Breras come with seven airbags as standard while a front passenger knee airbag is available as an optional extra. Also standard are front seatbelts with pre-tensioners, height adjustment and load limiters. The front seats have anti-whiplash head restraints along with an anti-submarining feature.
To go with the hefty, four-piston Brembo brakes, the Brera has ABS with EBD and Hydraulic Brake Assist (HBA). There is also the Vehicle Dynamic Control (VDC) fro extra stability on corners, ASR or Anti-Slip Regulation to limit wheelspin and MSR, Motor Slip Regulation, which steps in when there’s an abrupt gear downchange in poor traction conditions.
The Hill Hold system is quite useful, too as it holds the brake pressure for 1.5 seconds after the brake pedal is released. It works when pulling away or reversing uphill and makes parking easier in such circumstances.
The Alfa Brera is clearly not short on safety features or comfort and certainly not looks but as pretty and sexy as it is, it has its faults. Personally, I would rather have the more practical 159.28 September 2006
Alfa Romeo Brera Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||Alfa Romeo Brera 2.4 JTDM SV|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||8.1 Seconds|
|Top Speed||142 mph|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||52.3 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||TBA|
|Price (when tested on the 28/09/06)||£27,500|