AM Online

Alfa Romeo Brera S – on sale now

Alfa Romeo

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Review

The Brera is one of the best looking cars on sale today.

Sleek, muscular and dripping with Italian detailing inside and out, it feels hand-crafted rather than mass produced.

But for all its beautiful styling, driving the Brera quickly dampened any first impressions.

It wasn’t sporty enough for British buyers, with little driver involvement and a chassis which did nothing to tempt towards enthusiastic driving.

But Britain is rather good at bespoke; motorsport employs more people than mainstream manufacturing, and Kenilworth-based Prodrive was drafted in to tweak the car for UK roads.

If you were to cherry pick ingredients for a sports car, Alfa Romeo styling and a chassis tuned by a company that builds Subaru rally cars make an attractive proposition.

The Brera S is a proper enthusiast’s car, and the result of Prodrive’s fettling will surprise anyone who has driven the standard model.

Prodrive has turned the lardy Italian tourer into a go-kart.

It’s an addictive mix of silky smooth engine howl, light-footed handling and staggering grip for a front- wheel drive car.

Visual changes are more subtle, with the 19-inch 8C-inspired lightweight alloy wheels the most obvious upgrade.

These are the perfect match for the usually under-wheeled Brera, and with the lowered suspension give it a more purposeful stance.

The biggest shame is that only 500 will be made, but with that comes exclusivity which will secure the Brera S as a future classic.

2008 Alfa Romeo Brera S

Specification

Price £26,450
Engine 2.2-litre petrol: 185bhp@6,500rpm; 170lb ft@4,500rpm
Performance 0-62mph: 8.6sec; top speed: 139mph
Transmission 6sp manual
Efficiency 30.7mpg; 218g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k £14,532 (54%)
Rivals Audi TT, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK

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