Thursday, July 17, 2008

Alfa Romeo GT - Achievement or Failure?

Just a couple of days ago I was glorifying the Alfa Romeo 8c Competizione, soaking my keyboard in a concoction of drool, as I strain my eyes trying to memorize every curve, every detail of this carbon fiber body, and tears, as I am, most probably, never going to lay my eyes on one.

Well, I will actually and quite soon really. One of them beauties will be anticipating my appearance through the great doors of ExceL for the British International Motor Show coming up in 10 days. Thus, I can carry on now, living my pitiful life knowing that whatever I do, no matter how much money I earn there is no chance I will ever buy one; and that is simply because the 8c Competizione should not be classified as a car but as a piece of art and 500 of them will remain locked in collector’s garages.

So, in light of my anticipated meeting with my dream car I thought to look into the Italian familia of stunning models in order to go beyond the mere lunacy tag and drill into the genuine reasons of why people actually buy Alfa Romeo cars.

And that brings as to Alfa Romeo GT which made its big debut in 2004. When I saw it, and I believe I can speak on behalf of most car enthusiasts with a common sense of taste I thought this is a great looking car. I mean, few could argue that it slightly resembles the Renault 406 Coupe from certain angles and to be perfectly honest I would agree. But only from very specific and actually very few angles. Alfa Romeo GT has an edge, created by straight lines and sharp angles forming a buzzy exterior with tremendous amounts of energy and tension that the Renault lacked. Plus, the Renault 406 Coupe is a utterly pointless car whereas this one... well, at least not utterly!

Unfortunately the Alfa Romeo GT carries on its back a treacherous legacy, the same legacy that made the brand infamous throughout motorists globally. The 2.0JTS version stands its ground in the market from an equipment perspective, offering for its £21,495 list price gizmos like leather upholstery, cruise control and unexpectedly an Bose stereo. The 2.0 litre engine, although producing 165 very promising Italian bhp, won’t achieve a 0-62mph performance better than in 8.7sec while when forced up to 134mph the stallions will seize gulping further. And don’t get me wrong, most probably everyone would be thrilled to put all these aside if it was for the stirring to compensate. But no! Alfa Romeo GT’s stirring will fail to compensate, as the engine performance failed to impress and as the handling failed to disguise another front-wheel-drive failure of a car while Alfa Romeo’s funs receive blow, after blow, after blow...

And this is were I need to raise my voice all the way to Turin, Italy, as a loyal Alfa Romeo fun and cry for attention, cry for someone to reflect on my inability to comprehend why this great Italian manufacturer, while failing consistently to produce a decent front-wheel-drive car, don’t they go back to their dusty sketching archives locked behind doors made in the 60’s and 70’s and unearth how Alfa Romeo’s designers, 30-40 years ago, managed to write brilliant car manufacturing history with a humble pencil and a dirty rubber...


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