The Alfa Romeo Brera was first shown to the world as a concept car at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show; it was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The company finally produced the production model sports car in 2005, when once again it was shown off in Geneva. Giugiaro’s concept car was meant to replace the Romeo GTV. It featured a larger chassis and was based around the V8 Maserati engine.
The model released into the showrooms had a shortened wheelbase and was eventually classed as a small-size coupe. The Brera was built on the GM/Fiat Premium platform, which proved a good base for the Alfa 159, and finally came to an end in 2010 after only five years in production.
Design-wise, the Brera is a gorgeous car to look at and a guaranteed head-turner, with a wonderfully shaped, rounded bonnet, striking badged front grille, and narrow lights. The rounded roof dips down to an even curvier rear, complete with an elongated back light rig and double twin exhaust system.
Initially the Australian Brera’s came fitted with a 2.2L 4-cylinder petrol engine. This was followed at the end of its production in 2009 by the more efficient 1.8L TBi, complete with duel valve timing, turbocharger, and direct fuel injection. This engine produces excellent performances and gets 147kW of energy for the car and 320Nm of torque. A cleaner, faster engine than the original 2.2L, it accelerates from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds, down from the 8.6 seconds for the previous engine. The fuel consumption comes in at around 8.1L/100km and is much better on CO2 emission levels, at 189g/km, a whole 32g less than before.
The 2.2L comes in front-wheel drive only, but the V6 comes with Torsen four-wheel drive. All are hooked up to a 6-speed gearbox, with either manual, selespeed semi-automatic, or AWTC-80 fully automatic. The V6 is the pick of the pack with its delicious engine note and abrasive top-end performance. The sporty suspension, AWD and responsive steering give a composed but, if required, challenging ride.
Alfa made the Brera to be a sports car, so space is not at a premium. When you hit the road, you will realise that this is not meant to be a family experience; there is a reason it is only comfortable for two people.
Alfa has given the Brera a sumptuous interior dripping with brushed aluminium that make the gauges, buttons, and dials all gleam in the sunlight. Despite the profusion of metal, it has a natural feel, more so than the utilitarian use to which some of the competition put aluminium.
The dashboard is dominated by the speedo and tacho with the instrumentation for the on-board computer between the two. Connectivity in the Brera is also good with voice command Bluetooth, allowing for trouble-free phone conversations. The seats are an exercise in total comfort, trimmed in leather, electronically controlled and heated, the perfect place to sit and enjoy the ride.
There are plenty of wow factors inside the Brera, such as the electronically controlled sunroof, rear folding seats that give 546L of storage, USB port, push button start, 8-speaker Bose system, touchscreen interface, and satnav. When it comes to stamping your mark in the Brera, that is exactly what previous owners did. With options like 2-zone climate control, trip computer, and 18-inch alloys, you find that each vehicle is set up totally differently.
The Brera looks beautiful and is an individual automotive statement, but at current pricing levels, it’s a hard choice for people to make, especially when you are putting it up against the likes of the Audi TT, Nissan 350Z, BMW E90, and Porsche 911. It’s a smooth performer; the growling V6 gives a recognisable sound, and the styling inside is impeccable – definitely one of a kind.
The Brera only had a short production spell, so it can be considered somewhat of a limited edition. With Alfa not planning to make a replacement, it may be the last in the line of this unique manufacturer’s sports cars. The price tag that new sports cars attract these days and the shrinking market could have as much to do with the demise of the car. That being said, this is a fabulous little runner; if you decide to pick up a second-hand one, they are a lot cheaper than their rivals.