The new Alfa Brera, a sports coupe in the classic Alfa Romeo tradition, goes on sale in the UK on Saturday 8 April.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro in collaboration with Alfa Romeo Centro Stile, and built by Pininfarina, the road-going Alfa Brera remains remarkably true to the stunning, multi award winning coupe concept first shown to global acclaim at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show. It combines superlative engineering with outstanding performance, and handling characteristics appropriate to the pedigree of one of the world’s most famous sporting marques.
Six versions of the new Alfa Brera, priced from £22,800 – £29,850 on-the-road, will be available from launch, with a choice of powerful direct injection petrol or diesel powerplants, and two trim levels. Two new petrol engines – a 2.2 litre 185 bhp 4-cylinder unit, and (available one month after the launch date) a 3.2 litre 260 bhp V6 – combine with Alfa Romeo’s widely acclaimed 2.4 litre 20v 200 bhp MultiJet (JTDM) unit to offer UK customers an enticing range of alternative dynamic packages.
With specific power outputs of over 80 bhp/litre, and almost 90% of maximum torque available at just 2000 rpm, both petrol JTS (Jet Thrust Stoichiometric) units boast outstanding performance, yet offer significant fuel savings and readily comply with the stringent Euro Stage 4 exhaust emission limits. Both these advanced direct injection engines feature continuously variable valve timing governing both inlet and exhaust camshafts.
Continuing the company’s on-going pre-eminence in the field of diesel technology, the latest example of Alfa Romeo’s renowned JTD MultiJet (JTDM) common rail direct injection diesel engine technology completes the range; a 2.4 litre 20 valve 200 bhp 5-cylinder powerplant, featuring variable geometry turbocharging and incorporating a ‘for life’, maintenance-free particulate trap (DPF) in anticipation of Euro 5 emissions regulations.
2.2 JTS versions of the new Alfa Romeo are mated to an M32.6 6-speed manual gearbox, whilst 3.2 JTS and 2.4 JTDM models are equipped with the F40 6-speed manual transmission. And 3.2 JTS engined versions of the Brera are equipped, as standard, with Alfa Romeo’s Q4 permanent four-wheel drive system. Q4 employs three differentials, with a self-locking Torsen C unit at the centre of the system which in normal conditions divides drive torque by a ratio of 57% to the rear wheels and 43% to the front. Torque split between front and rear axles is constantly modulated by the central Torsen differential on the basis of available grip, with a bias towards the rear axle promoting handling characteristics appropriate to an Alfa Romeo coupe.
Sharing an all-new platform and components with the Alfa 159, albeit on a 175 mm shorter wheelbase optimised for appropriate handling responses, the chassis of the new Alfa Brera combines a proven high double wishbone front suspension system with a new, sophisticated multilink rear configuration. The combination generates smooth, accurate steering response, exceptional stability and controllability – even when close to adhesion limits, and first class body control allied to remarkable comfort over all road surface conditions.
The 2.2 JTS Alfa Brera’s braking system comprises powerful, 305 mm ventilated front discs and 278 mm solid discs at the rear. Models powered by the 3.2 JTS petrol and 2.4 JTDM MultiJet turbodiesel engines feature larger, 330 mm ventilated discs with Brembo four piston monobloc aluminium callipers at the front, and 292 mm ventilated discs at the rear for even greater, fade-free stopping power.
The Alfa Brera offers direct, lively and responsive speed-sensitive power assisted steering, with a rack requiring only 2.25 turns lock-to-lock; the most direct steering in its class. The turning circle is just 10.7 m between kerbs.
Both passive and active safety features are comprehensively represented in the new Brera. In addition to up to eight airbags, seven of which are standard equipment, 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 fitted as standard. ABS anti-lock braking is combined with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution over all four wheels, and a sophisticated switchable Vehicle Dynamic Control unit enhances cornering stability. VDC is further augmented by ASR to limit wheelspin during acceleration, MSR to modulate braking torque when changing down through the gears, and a unique Hill Holder function to facilitate smooth hill starts.
The new Alfa Brera is available in two trim levels; Brera and Brera SV. As with all Alfa Romeo models, driver orientated ergonomics, superior passenger comfort and lavish standard equipment levels are fundamental to the interior design of the new sports car. The Brera boasts a notably generous standard equipment specification, offering, even at entry level, many features only available as expensive options on rival models, including automatic Dual Zone climate control, cruise control, ‘Follow Me Home’ headlamps, a multi-function display and trip computer, fog lights, 16" or 17" spoked alloy wheels and an RDS 6-speaker stereo radio with CD player.
Optional equipment includes xenon headlamps, satellite navigation (either independent or incorporated within bCONNECT), electrically adjustable front seats, a Bose sound system, Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity and 18" alloy wheels.
Alfa’s innovative bCONNECT 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. bCONNECT incorporates voice commands with a 6.5" colour display screen, and is complemented by a Dual Band GSM phone with WAP Internet access, satellite navigation and a CD sound system that will play MP3 music files.
Styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro in collaboration with Alfa Romeo Centro Stile at Arese, Milan, the design of the new Brera remains faithful to the stunning coupe concept first shown at the 2002 Geneva Motorshow. The prototype has won numerous, prestigious international design awards including First Prize – ‘Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este 2002’; Most Fascinating Car and Most Innovative Design of the Year – Michelin Challenge Bibendum 2002; Best Concept of the Year – Automotive News 2003; The Most Beautiful Car in the World – Automobilia, Milan 2003; and the XX ADI ‘Compaso d’Oro award for Design – 2004.
More recently, the Brera itself won The 2005 Design Award in Autocar magazine’s Annual Awards, the new Alfa Romeo being described as ‘an imposing coupe with rare grace.’
"When we premiered the car I referred to as ‘very sexy’, I didn’t know if it would ever go beyond the prototype stage," Giugiaro recalls. "All I knew was that the concept could definitely go into production with only a few minor changes. I took care of the exterior personally, for example, and no great changes were necessary.
"Despite its large dimensions, this coupe is not massive," continues Giugiaro. "It conveys a sense of power and solidity, but combined with an overall harmonious unity. We worked extensively on the balance and overhang volume to ensure it was not over-heavy. I’m proud to note that the Brera is so obviously an Italian product," he adds. "Alfa Romeo will never go out of fashion."
4410 mm long, 1830 mm wide, 1341 mm high and with a 2528 mm wheelbase, the generous dimensions of the new Brera are elegantly compacted through sharp front and rear bodywork tapering, and the exterior is rich in styling cues from Alfa Romeo’s peerless tradition of sporting co
upes, from the 1900 SS to the Giulietta Sprint, Alfetta and Giulia Sprint GT.
Continuing a design trend prevalent in the recent Alfa Romeo model range, the legendary Villa d’Este style Alfa shield with horizontal chrome bars dominates the front of the Brera. Extending almost full height, the grille bisects an upper air intake housing purposeful, three-lamp headlight clusters, before punctuating a deep front air dam featuring an expansive lower air intake with integral fog lamps. The top of the shield generates powerful bonnet coachwork lines which flow seamlessly into steeply raked A pillars. Once again, the number plate is offset to the left; a style signature echoing past classics, and unique to Alfa Romeo.
In profile, the new Alfa’s taut, rising waistline flows from the pronounced flare of the front wheel arches to give the Brera an assertive purposeful stance. The cockpit ‘sits’ on a powerful ‘shoulder’, which reaches its broadest point above the rear wheel arch to reinforce the new Brera’s wide track. From the steeply raked windscreen, the ‘A’ pillar flows seamlessly into a low, sweeping roofline, the elegance of which is enhanced by the internal placement of the slender ‘B’ pillar, giving the full-length side glazing a pillarless appearance in classic coupe style.
Unique to this class, the Brera may also be equipped with a fixed, full-length, laminated and tinted glass sunroof incorporating an electrically controlled, three-section interior blind.
At the rear, the Brera’s broad ‘shoulders’ taper to the focal point of the Alfa Romeo badge, beneath a steeply raked rear window – reminiscent of the Giulietta Sprint. Integral, colour coded bumpers and four chromed, flush mounted exhausts further reinforce the new Brera’s broad, muscular rear end stance.
Brera will become available in a choice of 10 colours at launch, including one solid, one special and eight metallic finishes.
As with all Alfa Romeos, the interior of the new 2+2 Brera coupe is focused on the driver’s immediate surroundings, which have been designed with an emphasis on ergonomic functionality. A height adjustable driver’s seat allied to a rake and reach adjustable, leather clad steering wheel help to guarantee a perfect driving position for the widest possible cross-section of customers.
The driver’s instrument binnacle houses large, deeply hooded speedometer and rev counter dials with subsidiary fuel and temperature gauges in the centre console. A multi-lingual, multi-function display gives access to a wide range of functions as well as the trip computer.
The Alfa Brera’s titanium effect or brushed aluminium faced centre console houses a new, electronic key-activated engine start button, the sophisticated, Dual Zone climate controls and a stereo radio/CD player – all within easy operational reach of the driver.
Specifically built for Brera, the stereo features a power output of 4×30 watts and employs six speakers, offering outstanding sound quality. The centre console may also be fitted with Alfa Romeo’s bCONNECT, a unique system that combines satellite navigation with an extensive range of on-line services via either manual control or voice commands.
Divided by a through console for optimum comfort and lateral support, the rear seats feature a 60:40 split/folding squab with integral armrest and ski hatch fitted as standard. This allows for the rapid expansion of the 300 litre luggage compartment into a robust, practical load platform offering an impressive 610 litres of stowage. When a Bose Hi-Fi system is fitted, the volume increases from 236 litres (plus 20 litres in the cargo box under the load platform) to 546 litres.
With great attention being paid to build quality and cabin ambience, superior comfort levels are assured aboard the new Alfa Brera. Major contributions are made by a new state-of-the-art platform, a notably rigid bodyshell, a high quality fascia, extensive carpet soundproofing, and thicker, 5 mm front side window glazing designed to reduce cabin noise and vibration to a minimum.
The new Alfa Brera range features a choice of three two-tone interior trim options – Black/Grey, Blue/Tobacco and Red/Beige – with complementary dashboard finishes. Standard versions are upholstered in Alfatex, a soft, durable, easy to clean fabric patented by Alfa Romeo. All Brera SV versions offer leather upholstery fitted as standard, and they may also be trimmed in the finest Frau Pieno Fiore leather upholstery, an optional specification which also includes electrically adjustable, heated front seats with driver’s side memory and electric, folding, heated door mirrors with a memory function on the driver’s side.
Six versions of the new Alfa Brera will be available from launch, as follows:
2.2 JTS: £22,800
2.2 JTS SV: £24,500
3.2 JTS V6 Q4: £28,750
3.2 JTS V6 Q4 SV: £29,850
2.4 JTDM: £26,400
2.4 JTDM SV: £27,500
Available in two trim levels – Brera and Brera SV – the new Alfa Romeo boasts a comprehensive standard specification, many features of which are only available as expensive options on rival models.
The two specification levels include the following:
- Electric windows with one-touch function
- Dual Zone climate control
- Remote central locking with alarm and immobiliser
- 7 airbags, including driver’s knee airbag
- Electronic key and start button
- Stereo radio/CD with steering wheel audio controls and 6 speakers
- Leather steering wheel and gearknob
- Fog lights
- Rear parking sensor
- Cruise control
- Multifunction display with trip computer
- ABS anti-lock braking with EBD and HBA
- VDC with Hill Holder
- Rear armrest with ski tunnel
- 60:40 split folding rear seats
- 16" alloy wheels (17" on 3.2)
In addition, Brera SV adds:
- Leather interior trim
- Stainless steel kick plates
- Brushed aluminium centre console and trim inserts
- 17" alloy wheels