Added: 1st of June 2015
Section I: Performance The Brera shown in this review is a rare and one of the most treasured examples of the Brera model. The "S" is a "British-only limited-run edition," and was designed by tuning and performance enhancing company "Prodrive", the usual tuners for Japanese car manufacturer Subaru. The S was made to address the issues of criticism on the standard cars handling and chassis balance problems, and with selected suspension and chassis components from the standard car completely reworked there has been some success. Firstly, the car is very well sorted performance wise. Its supremely impressive i a straight line, with that 2.2l engine pushing out 185PS @6000rpm through the front wheels and 230N.m (170ib.ft) of torque you do get a burst of acceleration when you go for it. This particular car can achieve very impressive performance figures, achieving the 0-60 run in just 7.6 seconds and running on to a top speed of 143mph. This is one model down from the limited edition range-topper, the Italia Independent, which was fitted with Alfa Romeo`s Q4 All-wheel-drive system. The chassis of the car is excellent. The car grips very well when pushed, ever so slightly biased to understeer. The steering has bags of feel, its meaty and very well poised and direct. The car has superb body control, neutral through corners, carrying speed with fluency and precision through bends. Very well balanced, very well done. The ride is firm at times - British roads are more of a culprit, really - but its no major defeat for the car. Nearly all Alfa`s have got a name for there natural ability to corner beautifully, and even if the ride is firm at times, its barely noticeable. A truly great performing car in this aspect. Section II: Running Costs To run, this car is that of an average saloon. The economy in this car is certainly impressive, with the 2.2l engine delivering over 40mpg when driven respectfully. Its quite high up in insurance as it wears a worthy badge, but its nothing as prestige as a Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Audi or BMW. This model is more expensive than the standard car, but considering he improved visual dynamics and specification its good value for money. Running costs will be higher still for the 3.2 V6, but overall its worth it. Section III: Comfort The ride in the Brera is firm, but at the same time not back -breaking. Its well judged, well dampered. It can get a bit fussy on bumpy roads, but so do Lexus`s sometimes and there the best things you can practically buy. The ride is very good then, a tad firm over the standard cars but its all for good cause. Section IV: Reliability Modern Alfa Romeo`s are thoroughly well made and reliable cars. They are built very well with good quality and the engines are strong, efficient and economical. The most common offender in the Alfa family is the MiTo, which is based on the underpinnings of the Fiat 500. Alfa`s have had a bad history in the past for reliability, but in truth there absolutely fine and go as well as a Mondeo. And that's one hell of a complement. Section V: Space and practicality This is where things are not the best. Firstly, I'm sorry, but the Brera is not a pretty car. Oh yes, from the front with those gorgons - just gorgeous - wheel trims borrowed from the stunning 8C supercar, but that back end is hideous . It looks like a melted Proton. I've seen prettier boils. Secondly, in order to create that ugly rear end, there isn't a lot of legroom and the rear headroom is very poor. The boot is decent and there's good driver leg and headroom up-front, but it lets itself down massively. Section VI: Overall? Overall, this is a great car. You could buy one of these and never look back. Its superb to drive, the handling is great, there's bags of character, its fun, its different, its economical, its refined, its comfortable (mostly) and its quite affordable. So go on, buy one. Just dont look at that hideous rear end. And dont break your own neck trying to sit up in the back. And anyway, with this sort of money why not have a second hand M3 - And a quad bike? Its a no-brainer.
Added: 15th of October 2013
The Brera is a beautiful car, which is lovely to drive. It has a degree of rarity, unlike the new generation of Alfas, which gives it some exclusivity. It is a 2+2 and not a genuine 4-seater, though there are 4 seats and 4 seat belts. The back seat folds forward and provides a large space for load carrying. It manages only about 30mpg. I am extremely fond of my Brera and might keep it for ever, even if I have to buy a hybrid run-around as it gets older.
Added: 11th of October 2013
In spite more than 7 years it's still a fashionable and nonconventional car.