Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Stunning and Stylish

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Stunning and Stylish

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alistair Coull

Every once in a while a car comes along that feels, and looks, just right. Sit in it and it fits like an old shoe, drive it and you feel totally at home - safe and in control.

At one time or another, every major car maker produces a signpost car. It's the one that points to where the brand has been, where it is going and what makes it special.

Renault had the 5 Turbo, Peugeot the 205 GTI, Ford the Escort and Sierra Cosworths. Alfa Romeo has the 147 GTA.

This is most definitely a signpost car - one that points to the future with passion, driving enjoyment and Italian style. And it also points to the history of the sports car brand for its inspiration. Even allowing for the newly introduced Alfa GT, the 147 GTA is without doubt the best Alfa I've driven for ages.

With only three doors it's not the most practical, or the cheapest, or the most luxurious but it is the one I would choose if a I had to distil the marque down to a single car.

Other Alfas are good but they don't have the passion or the sheer driving pleasure of the GTA.

The GTA takes its name from the seventies when Alfa's compact quick cars were upgraded for track use and racing and adds the quick car extras which make it much more than a starting price 147.

There is a fairly wide price difference for a start, but the biggest change is the heart transplant that's taken place under the bonnet. The GTA is fitted with a whopping 3.2-litre V6 with variable valve timing, 250bhp of power and 221lb/ft of torque.

The next step is a six-speed manual gearbox driving the front wheels, with discs all round and 17-inch alloys fitted with ultra low-profile tyres. The engine is the same as that in the 156 GTA, so it was developed for performance but it's a lot more effective in the 147.

Alfa has hinted that it is to put all-wheel-drive into all of its performance cars soon, which will make the GTA even better. …

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