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Frist drive: Alfa Romeo Brera 2.4JTDm SV – on sale now

Alfa Romeo always puts passion into its products. It is what makes the marque attractive, and once product quality and customer service is right will win it a real foothold in the premium segment.

Quality is improving, however the Brera we tested still had slight fraying on its rear seat, despite having covered a mere 5,000 miles.

This Brera gets a lot of attention. Its wide, low stance and aggressive front and rear bodywork mark it out as something rather special, helped by the same quad exhausts and large brakes as the range-topping V6 version. And as the UK’s sales allocation of Brera this year is around 1,000 units, its rarity ensures the head-turning will continue.

Inside, the special treatment continues. The dash houses prominent speedometer and rev counter dials, and the centre console holds a starter button and subsidiary gauges. Equipment levels are good, with parking sensors and dual-zone climate control among the many standard features.

The driving experience does not quite live up to the looks, unfortunately. Prospective buyers expecting a sportscar-like drive will be disappointed.

The 2.4-litre turbodiesel engine has plenty of punch above 2,000rpm but it arrives with quite a jolt, and timely gearchanges are necessary to keep it on the boil. Its hydraulically power assisted steering is quick and direct, but the car lacks the feedback and stability a sports coupé should provide, and understeers too readily.

Price: £27,750
Engine: 2.4 turbodiesel; 200bhp @4,000rpm; 295lb ft@2,000rpm.
Performance: 0-62mph: 8.1sec; top speed: 142mph
Transmission: Six speed manual
Efficiency: 41.5mpg; 179g/km CO2
CAP RV: £12,075 (44%)
Rivals: Nissan 350Z, Golf GT TDI
Strengths: Looks, equipment
Weaknesses: Disappointing drive
Opportunity: Desirability means full margin sales potential
Threat: Out-performed by rivals
USP: A work of art on wheels

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