The planners and designers had only one aim in mind: to marry the elegant, sporty line of an outstanding car with the quality and comfort of a luxury saloon. They achieved this result by basing the new product on the attractive Giugiaro-designed Brera prototype that won the hearts of the press and the general public, as the long list of prestigious international accolades reveals: ’Best of Show’, assigned by Autoweek magazine at the Geneva Motor Show; ’Best of Show’ in the Prototype category at the Villa d’Este Concorso D’Eleganza; 2 category prizes at Challenge Bibendum 2002, one as ’one of the most elegant cars in the world’; and the title of ’the most fascinating car’ conferred at the Super Car Rally 2002 from Paris to Monte Carlo. This very respectable CV has now been inherited by the new Alfa Romeo Brera due to go on sale at the end of 2005.
This Giugiaro-designed model turns heads for its unmistakable Italian elegance, an absolutely unique, unrepeatable style that promises the satisfaction of a sporty drive with full respect for Brand traditions. The new model shares this quality with other Alfa Romeo cars within its category that are now remembered as milestones in the history of the motor car. From the 1900 SS to the Giulietta Sprint, from the Alfetta to the Giulia Sprint GT.
The original styling is complemented by generous dimensions: the Alfa Brera is 183 centimeters wide, 441 cm long and 137 cm high with a wheelbase of 252 cm, although the sharply tapered front and rear make the model look very compact. Despite this, no compromise has been made over comfort and function, as often happens with this type of car.
Due to go on sale by year’s end, the new Alfa Romeo Brera incapsulates those characteristics most synonymous with the brand - sportiness and elegance - in a unique and exclusive style. The harmony of Brera’s shape and size, allied to the outstanding engineering and driveability of an Alfa Romeo, makes for a car which is beautiful, strong and sturdy, a car which sets the standards for all coupes.
Brera is a 2+2 of generous dimensions: 1830mm wide, 4414mm in length and 1372mm high, although the deeply tapered front and rear styling creates the impression of a very compact car. The interior has an ambience that is both cosy and sophisticated. This comes from the use of high quality materials and the introduction of some novel ideas such as the wide glass fixed roof that creates more natural interior light for passengers adding to the sensation of spaciousness inside while also giving the car a streamlined appearance from the outside.
Inside, the Alfa Brera also offers a welcoming, well-lit and highly sophisticated environment due to the use of opulent materials and the adoption of innovative products, e.g. a generous fixed glass roof that allows more light into the car and gives passengers a greater sense of space as well as setting off the car’s slender shape to greater effect.
The centre of the Alfa Brera dashboard also houses a built-in radio and all controls for the sophisticated-looking automatic dual zone climate control system. The radio plus CD player (or MP3 player as an option), offers outstanding Bose® sound quality and was designed and built for the passenger compartment. It consists of six speakers and delivers a power output of 570 Watts. The Alfa Brera adds a host of sophisticated devices and systems to this equipment array that makes it a new benchmark in its segment. Examples include: VDC, Xenon headlights and seven airbags (under the heading of Safety); infotelematic system with radio and phone controls on the steering wheel, Bose® Hi-Fi system and CD-changer (for Audio and Infomobility); Cruise Control (for stress-free driving); 16’, 17’ and 18’ alloy wheels (for car customisation). Depending on the market, the range also offers a range of possibilities that are created by cross-matching two JTS direct injection petrol engines (a 185 bhp 2.2 unit and a 260 bhp 3.2 V6 unit), two specifications; 10 body-colours; and 4 interiors in flocked fabric, Alfatex®, Frau® leather and grosgrain leather.
The Bose sound system, developed for Alfa Romeo by America’s leading acoustic Hi-Fi company, offers peerless acoustic sophistication, boasting exceptional listening quality for each passenger under all conditions.
The 570 watt system comprises a radio/CD player with MP3 compatibility and eight loudspeakers, including a subwoofer built into the luggage compartment with its own 6-channel, 200 watt, digital amplifier for the reproduction of the lowest frequencies. An integrated signal processor automatically adjusts base tones so that they remain natural at any system volume.
The generous dimensions of the new Brera are elegantly compacted through sharp front and rear bodywork tapering, and the exterior is rich in styling cues from Alfa Romeo’s peerless tradition of sporting coupes, from the 1900 SS to the Giulietta Sprint, Alfetta and Giulia Sprint GT.
Continuing a design trend prevalent in the recent Alfa Romeo model range, the legendary Villa d’Este style Alfa shield with horizontal chrome bars dominates the front of the Brera. Extending almost full height, the grille bisects an upper air intake housing purposeful, three-lamp headlight clusters, before punctuating a deep front air dam featuring an expansive lower air intake with integral fog lamps. The top of the shield generates powerful bonnet coachwork lines which flow seamlessly into steeply raked A pillars. Once again, the number plate is offset to the left; a style signature echoing past classics, and unique to Alfa Romeo.
In profile, the new Alfa’s taut, rising waistline flows from the pronounced flare of the front wheel arches to give the Brera an assertive purposeful stance. The cockpit ‘sits’ on a powerful ‘shoulder’, which reaches its broadest point above the rear wheel arch to reinforce the new Brera’s wide track. From the steeply raked windscreen, the ‘A’ pillar flows seamlessly into a low, sweeping roofline, the elegance of which is enhanced by the internal placement of the slender ‘B’ pillar, giving the full-length side glazing a pillarless appearance in classic coupe style.
Unique to this class, the Brera may also be equipped with a fixed, full-length, laminated and tinted glass sunroof incorporating an electrically controlled, three-section interior blind.
At the rear, the Brera’s broad ‘shoulders’ taper to the focal point of the Alfa Romeo badge, beneath a steeply raked rear window - reminiscent of the Giulietta Sprint. Integral, color coded bumpers and four chromed, flush mounted exhausts further reinforce the new Brera’s broad, muscular rear end stance.
Brera will become available in a choice of 10 colors at launch, including one solid, one special and eight metallic finishes.
These opulent interiors are rounded off by exclusive power units. The true heart and the true strength of every Alfa Romeo model is its engine. The Alfa Brera’s attractive, personality-packed looks conceal a diverse range of outstanding high-tech power units that offer generous performance: a 185 bhp 2.2 unit and a 260 bhp 3.2 V6 unit, both JTS direct injection petrol units. Both power units meet Euro 4 environmental standards and are paired with 6-speed manual gearboxes that feature short travels, slick shifts and low loads. The Alfa Brera JTS power units have been developed to specifications laid down by Alfa engineers. As such, they represent Alfa Romeo’s interpretation of the direct injection petrol engine, which means driving satisfaction and high performance for the customer. The result is a car capable of exciting performance that is perfectly at home on everyday roads as well.
Available in three levels of trim, Brera also offers customers a choice of a 2.4 JTD 200 bhp turbo-diesel power-unit and two petrol engines (the 185 bhp 2.2 JTS or the 260 bhp 3.2) coupled to either an automatic transmission or a 6-speed manual gearbox depending on the version. Together with all the delights one expects in an Alfa Romeo, this new car delivers outstanding dynamic performance thanks to the use of quadrilateral front suspension and Multilink rear suspension. Along with the excellent driving experience, comfort is further enhanced by the integral ’Alfa Q4’ traction control system fitted to some versions. Brera offers the most sophisticated electronic systems to monitor and control key dynamic parameters of braking and roadholding to deliver greater driving safe
This outstanding new 3195cc engine takes its name - Jet Thrust Stoichiometric - from its specific combustion system, an original Alfa Romeo concept that involves the high pressure injection of fuel, at 120 bar, directly into the combustion chamber with a stoichiometric mixture optimized to increase engine power and torque first and foremost - thus adapting this technology to the requirements of a sporting car - whilst adopting the stratified charge method to reduce fuel consumption in a limited speed band close to idling.
Mated to an F40 6-speed manual transmission and Alfa Romeo’s Q4 permanent four-wheel drive system, the 3.2 liter JTS V6 engine will accelerate the new Alfa Brera from 0-62 mph in 6.8 seconds and on to a top speed of 149 mph. The V6 exhaust system features a first group of catalyzing elements mounted close to the cylinder heads, ensuring optimum operational temperature is achieved as soon as possible after engine start-up.
Apart from Alfa Romeo character, the new car assures outstanding dynamic performance due to a high double wishbone suspension at the front and a Multilink suspension at the rear. The Alfa Brera combines a sporty attitude with a very comfortable drive and also offers a state-of-the-art Alfa Q4 four wheel drive on the 3.2 JTS. As far as safety is concerned, the Alfa Romeo Brera offers the most sophisticated electronic devices to control the vehicle’s dynamic performance (from braking to traction) and push its dynamic limits still further. These devices are not intrusive for the driver but greatly benefit safety. They have been developed operationally through simulations and meticulous track testing with the aim of ensuring maximum driving satisfaction.
With its safety, power and attractive styling, the Alfa Brera marks a step forward in the top-of-the-range coupé field, a specific area where Alfa Romeo has always played a leading role. The new vehicle has been designed for quality without compromise. This concept has been pursued throughout all stages of the car’s development process, from product design to the innumerable tests that the car has had to undergo until ready for production. The Alfa Brera’s quality is also expressed in the choice of opulent interior materials; in the tuning of its Alfa Romeo engines to achieve top-level performance, engine note and driving comfort - and in the optimisation of the sophisticated suspension systems. The term ’quality’ also describes a world of financial services and products to meet all needs.
Top gear are always the toughest of motoring critics, and the maverick presenter Jeremy Clarkson was moved to say that the Brera was "Cameron Diaz on wheels".
Alfa Romeo hopes this car will deliver the marque back to the sunlit uplands of the 1960s when it appeared it could do no wrong. Yes, the Brera is beautiful, but a day at the wheel of the 2.2 revealed a car that simply doesn’t perform in the way you’d hope of a 47000$ Alfa. For a start it’s quite heavy at 3,240lb and with just 185bhp it needs 8.6sec to reach 62mph, a time more commonly found among lukewarm hatches costing 10 grand less. Flat out, it will do a decidedly average 138mph. The engine is smooth and willing but it is stifled by the sheer weight of the car it has to carry.
Once it has overcome its initial inertia it’s a decent drive, so long as you make good use of its excellent six-speed gearbox to ensure the engine is always singing its heart out. Neverthless, Japanese rivals like the Mazda RX-8 and Nissan 350Z have an explosive punch that the Brera cannot match.
Even European rivals such as the Audi TT 1.8T quattro and the Mercedes C230 SE sport coupé have no problem outperforming the Brera. Shame.
Brera is good inside the cabin. Sit inside the Brera for just 30 seconds and the change in thinking at Alfa is immediately apparent. Those over six foot no longer have to adopt the classic Nuvolari driving position with their knees either side of the steering wheel. The Brera feels designed for the general population rather than a long-armed, short-legged Alfa test driver of old. However, the rear seats are tiny and the boot is cramped compared to rivals.
At the bottom end of the engine scale is a 2.2 litre four cylinder unit that develops 185bhp. It goes well and thanks to some jiggery pokery with the exhaust system, it sounds like a much meatier unit. But it’s the all-new 260bhp, 3.2-litre V6 that will be the motor of choice for most buyers. Linked to the road via Alfa’s four-wheel drive system, it’s as close to the classic rear wheel drive Alfa coupe as we’re likely to get.
The suspension system marks another leap forward. With the basic architecture borrowed from the 159 saloon, it gives the Brera a lively, agile feel without subjecting passengers to a rock-hard ride. In fact, the ride and the general level of refinement is one of the Brera’s key strengths