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Alfa Romeo Brera 2.4 JTDm SV

Date: 12 July 2006

Category: Sports Price: £22,800-£29,850

Per month: £580 Key rival: Audi TT


Even if the Brera were powered by a thirsty, feeble lawnmower engine it would sell. Why? Just look at it, it's stunning. Just four years on from the Geneva concept, it's here and Giuriagro's lines have lost little of their ability to shock and draw admiring glances thanks to slippery design and aggressive six-lamp snout.

Rest assured that beauty is not just skin-deep. It's packing a punchy 200PS 2.4-litre capable of projecting the sporting Alfa to over double the motorway speed limit while delivering an impressive 41.5mpg on the combined cycle, penalising business users with a reasonable 25% BIK tax bill.

Inside, the range-topping SV's cabin is light and airy - thanks to a full-length panoramic roof with electric blind - though the price is headroom. The rear's compromised too and though an average sized adult can squeeze in behind the passenger for short distances, there's not enough legroom behind the driver.

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Like the 159, the cabin feels special, but unlike the saloon we came away disappointed with the patchy build quality. The handbrake surround was poorly finished with dimples of air. Attention to detail around the centre console was also worrying, and we're hoping it's a one-off.

Out on the open road there's little to dampen enthusiasm. Steering feedback is great and balance fine through the turns. The diesel is always noisy and not as strong as the figures suggest, it's more relaxing than sporty.

Costs-wise, the Alfa gets away lightly. BMW launches a new coupe in September and numbers aren't out.

Also missing for now is a performance diesel Audi TT, though one's in the pipeline.

Brera drivers probably won't care. They'll be busy enjoying a stunning coupe.



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