Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Alfa's Italian Stallion Has a Very British Twist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Alfa's Italian Stallion Has a Very British Twist

Article excerpt

Byline: Edward Stephens

MADE in Italy, honed in Britain - that's Alfa Romeo's super sporting Brera S. Like all current Alfas, the Brera is one of those cars which stands out from the crowd. It's that Italian design flair which puts the curves in all the right places.

But while it looks good, Alfa decided that it needed some tweaking to cope with British roads and give the sort of feedback it likes its drivers to have.

So it called in motorsport experts Prodrive to put a bit more Alfaness into it, purely for the British.

If you want one you will have to move pretty quickly, however, as the Brera S is a limited edition model. Just 500 cars will be sold in the UK with a choice of either the 185bhp 2.2-litre JTS engine or the even beefier 260bhp, 3.2-ltre V6.

Despite the work by Prodrive, the car isn't about brute force. It is, as Alfa UK's marketing director Nicholas Bernard put it, "about how the available power is transferred to the road and how the road surface is communicated back to the driver to bring new levels of sports handling".

I sampled a car with the smaller of the two engines and the Prodrive chassis work soon became obvious.

Under the watchful eye of Prodrive the S has been lowered front and rear by 10mm, specially commissioned coil springs and dampers have been fitted and the suspension and static geometry has been revised.

The result is a car with excellent sports handling and brilliant flat cornering inspiring confidence in anyone who wants to push it hard.

There is no sign of any pitching or rolling on tight bends - the Brera S going exactly where its pointed in a very well mannered way.

The front-wheel-drive S comes with special lightweight 19in alloy wheels to help performance by keeping the unsprung weight down as well as adding to the overall looks of the car.

The V6 engined cars come with a very different interior and this can be specified as a pounds 1,500 option on the 2.2-litre model - as it was on my test car.

The package means you get sports seats in black Frau leather - with red stitching - which give plenty of support on tight corners. …

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