Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Romeo Is Tops for Romance

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Romeo Is Tops for Romance

Article excerpt

Byline: By John Scantlebury

THE Alfa Romeo Brera is, without question, one dish of a car, a droolover concoction that, perhaps, only the Italians - and, in particular, Giorgetto Giugiaro - could create. I wish I could have his dreams.

Initially, it was purely a flight-of-fancy concept car, but the reaction was such that Alfa just had to make it happen. Indeed, much of the Brera thinking is well on its way to becoming a family look.

Unusually, a lot of the mock-up has made it through to the real thing and, even more rarely, the car looks like a sketch come true.

It's low, it's wide, it's dramatic and, above all, it is stylish, from the thrusting face with its remarkable collection of individual lights (eight in all, if you include the fogs) to the distinctive backside, dressed again with a spectacular lights cluster, two sets of big twin tailpipes and an arrowed hatch window.

In profile, there's a lovely, eye-catching curve to the roof leading to the spoiler, a high and rising waistline and a jumbo-sized door on which hangs a mirror which is a work of design art in itself.

Get inside and you immediately begin to realise the drawbacks of a design-led car. As I said earlier, the Brera is a low-slung coupe, so low in fact, that even with the seat adjusted to its bottom position, a medium-sized driver could find him/herself heading the panoramic fixed glass roof, a risk exacerbated by the car's sporty and firm suspension which lets you know about road imperfections.

Then there is a question of visibility. It is fine forward, despite a smallish windscreen, but the reverse view is not good, and over the shoulder it is abysmal.

Questions, too, about the 2+2 seating idea, something now being abandoned by other manufacturers as they come to the second generation of their coupes/cabrios. The rear pair of seats are suitable for a child lying down and not much else and the Brera, too, should evolve into a pure two-seater.

Of the general decor, I quite like the modern metallic look, incorporating a vast brushed-aluminium central control console angled toward the driver, a waistband and ultra-mod door handles. …

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