The fastest and most powerful hatchback in its market segment, the Alfa Romeo 147 GTA goes on sale in the UK this month.
The designation GTA occupies a pre-eminent position in the pantheon of racing Alfas. Meaning Gran Turismo Alleggerita (lightened GT), it was first applied to the factory’s all-conquering, race-prepared Giulia Sprint Touring Cars of the 1960s. Alfa GTAs dominated the European Touring Car Championships in the 1960s and early 70s, and Alfa Romeo is currently the reigning ETCC champion, having won the series for the past two years with the Alfa 156 GTA.
Today, GTA identifies a range of road-going Alfa Romeos that constitute the quintessence of this famous marque’s sporting values. GTA models are imbued with a spirit that evokes a great motorsport tradition coupled with sophisticated, state-of-the-art engine and mechanical specifications.
Heart of the Alfa 147 GTA is the same widely acclaimed, all-aluminium, 3.2 litre 24-valve V6 that powers the 156 GTA. This peerless, 3179 cc, quadruple overhead camshaft unit develops 250 bhp at 6200 rpm and 221 lb.ft of torque at 4800 rpm. Thus equipped, the Alfa 147 GTA can accelerate from 0-62 mph in just 6.3 seconds and post a top speed of 153 mph. Yet the engine is sufficiently tractable to allow effortless cruising in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm.
Suspension is based on the combination of high double wishbones at the front and an advanced, MacPherson strut arrangement at the rear, but it has undergone extensive, painstaking development with the aim of achieving the highest possible levels of driveability and handling within an entirely usable, everyday car.
An uprated braking system features enlarged, 305 mm ventilated discs at the front, 276 mm rear discs, and highly visible, four-piston Brembo callipers all round. The Alfa 147 GTA offers exceptionally quick and precise speed-sensitive power assisted steering, with a rack requiring just 1.75 turns lock-to-lock.
Both passive and active safety features are comprehensively represented in the Alfa 147 GTA. In addition to six airbags, seatbelt pre-tensioners and a fully integrated Fire Prevention System, the new car comes with a comprehensive range of state-of-the-art electronic braking, traction control and stability systems. ABS is combined with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution over all four wheels, and a sophisticated Vehicle Dynamic Control unit enhances cornering stability. VDC is further augmented by Anti-Slip Regulation to limit wheelspin during acceleration, and Motor Slip Regulation to modulate braking torque when changing down through the gears.
Exterior styling ensures instant recognition without ostentation; bodywork modification simply reflecting technical changes to the 147 chassis and mechanicals along with the accommodation of 17" 225/45 wheels and tyres, and revised front and rear spoilers for improved aerodynamics.
Inside, Alfa 147 GTA trim includes a brand new, 3-spoke steering wheel, GTA seat and door panel upholstery, a black background to dedicated gauges and instruments, and lightweight, rubber-studded aluminium pedals and footrest.
Further enhancing the GTA’s unique specification, standard equipment levels are based on those of the Alfa 147 2.0 Lusso, and include an Alfa Code immobiliser and alarm, remote central locking, electric windows, ‘Follow Me Home’ headlights, cruise control, dual zone climate control, heated electric door mirrors, a multifunction display and trip computer, 17" alloy wheels and a Bose sound system featuring an RDS 8-speaker stereo radio with CD player and steering wheel audio controls.
Optional equipment includes 17" spoked alloy wheels, leather sports seats, xenon headlights, a 10 CD autochanger and CONNECT NAV or CONNECT NAV+.
Alfa’s innovative CONNECT on-line telematics system connects the driver to an extensive range of services via a live phone link to an English-speaking operator, as well as including an impressive satellite navigation system. CONNECT NAV+ incorporates voice commands with a 7" colour display screen, and is complemented by a Dual Band GSM phone with WAP Internet access, and satellite navigation.
The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA goes on sale here priced at £22,450 on-the-road. Those who love driving will find the new GTA to be an outstanding performer that consistently rewards its driver, regardless of road or weather conditions.Published 26 March 2003