Cheap and Cheerful:The Alfa Romeo Brera V6
In this week's 'Cheap and cheerful' section, I'm highlighting what is arguably one of the best-looking affordable coupes ever made. Making its debut as a concept car in 2002 at the Geneva Motor Show, the Alfa Romeo Brera went into production in 2005. Manufactured by Pininfarina and built on a GM/Fiat platform, the Brera was marketed as a 2+2 coupe and roaster respectively.
Although it was offered with several engine options and in several different trim levels, I decided to highlight the flagship V6 model and avoid the diesels as I think this JTS Q4 will hold its value much better and it might even become a future classic.
This particular example I've managed to find on our site has just 85,000 miles on the clock and is a manual coupe. At just over £4,500, that makes it a proper bargain in my book. The previous owner brought it in as part exchange, and he bought it from a guy who had it for over 5 years. It has a detailed service history file and it recently passed its MOT, making it a safe and solid purchase.
From the outside, I don't think there's any other sports car in this price bracket which comes even close to the Alfa Romeo Brera. Although this is an amazing car for various reasons, I get why a lot of people buy one purely based on its looks alone. I mean, just look at it. Designed by Pininfarina and built by one of the most evocative car brands of all time, Alfa Romeo, the Brera is a genuine work of art as much as it is a car.
From the front, the Brera looks almost identical to the Alfa Romeo 159. Because they share a platform and a lot of the same components, perhaps that's not surprising, nor is it a bad thing. The Alfa 159 is unquestionably one of the most gorgeous cars Alfa has built to date, making the Brera that much more handsome because it's a smaller, better-proportioned coupe.
The front fascia is a masterclass in what a sporty performance coupe is supposed to look like. The triangular classic Alfa Romeo grille perfectly complements that aggressive front bumper, and it goes especially well with those amazing headlights. Although they're a single-piece design, the actual portion of the headlight sticking outside is separated into three distinct circular shrouds. Flagship models even come with a projector and xenon headlights.
My favourite angle of the Alfa Romeo Brera is definitely the rear three-quarter view. Not only do you get an amazing view of that incredible rear end, but you're also able to see the way the back end is sculpted and just how massive it looks in comparison to the front. Speaking of the rear end, the Brera features a small roof spoiler mounted on top of the hatch, shrouded taillights which mimic the front ones, and because this is the V6 version, it even gets quad exhaust pipes.
Although this is a 14-year old Italian car, the interior seems to be in remarkable shape. Alfa has spared no expense when it comes to the materials they used and the fit and finish, so the Brera is a genuinely lovely place to spend time in. There's leather and soft fabric everywhere, and even the plastics don't feel that cheap relative to how affordable this thing is.
This is a GT-oriented car and not an outright sports car, which is reflected in the seating position and the way you feel behind the wheel. The seats are extremely comfortable but they don't offer a ton of support, and although this is a small car you can definitely feel its weight from behind the wheel.
Elsewhere, you get a decently sized boot but not a lot of room in the back seats. Rear legroom is pitiful even if you put the front seats all the way forward. They are ideally designed for kids or shorter adults, only to be used on short journeys.
Engine and Performance
Although it was offered with 4 cylinder petrol and 5 cylinder diesel engines, this range-topping flagship is equipped with a 3.2-litre naturally-aspirated V6 producing 256 horsepower at 6300 RPM and 237 pound-feet of torque at 4500 RPM. Base variants of the V6 are front-wheel drive, but Q4 versions such as this one are equipped with an all-wheel-drive system. It's still front-wheel biased, but it does activate the rear wheels if it detects any kind of slip.
In this flavour, the Alfa Romeo Brera can hit 62 mph in 6.8 seconds and go onto a top speed of 149 mph. Those are decent figures on paper, but they don't do the car justice because it feels much quicker in the real world. Because that V6 emits a glorious noise and you have to row through the gears using a 6-speed manual gearbox, the Brera does feel quite spritely once you're on it.
Ultimately, the Brera isn't as exciting as something like an Audi TT or a Mazda RX-8, but it's a very different driving experience. The Alfa is much softer than the other two and more comfortable for cruising, which makes sense since that's what it was basically designed to do. The crowning jewel of the Brera Q4 is its engine, which loves getting thrashed and rewards you with a sonorous noise for doing so.
Model: Alfa Romeo Brera
Trim: Coupe V6 Q4
If you've only got £5,000 or so to spare and you're after a sporty coupe but aren't too worried about ultimate performance, then make sure you search for used Alfa Romeo Brera cars for sale. Apart from the fact that it does like to eat up quite a bit of fuel, the V6 has proven to be reliable and let's not forget that it's one of the most beautiful cars in its segment.
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