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Used Alfa Romeo Brera review: 2006-2012

Alfa Romeo is famed for making great looking sports coupes and few have ever looked better than the sensational Alfa Romeo Brera that was introduced to Australia in June 2006. As well as looking pretty it was also pretty expensive as the importer at the time was charing top dollar for everything. Sales weren’t as high as they could have been.

Imports of Alfa Romeo cars are now directly in the hands of the factory and serious price cuts on many Alfa Romeo models have been carried out. Unfortunately, the Brera didn’t survive the Australia takeover, probably because it was getting on in years, and the final imports arrived downunder early in 2012. Though they may not have been sold and registered until well into the year.

Brera has styling by Italian automotive legend Giorgietto Giugiaro and was displayed at the 2002 Geneva Motor Show. Interest was so great that Alfa Romeo Centro Stile, the company’s own styling department, worked with Giugiaro to develop the stunning coupe that finally went on sale.

A further legendary Italian automotive name comes into the equation as well, for the Brera bodies are built by the coachbuilding company Pininfarina. In Australia, the Brera was sold in two versions; the four-cylinder 2.2-litre JTS 136 kW engine and the top level Brera JTS, a V6 3.2-litre boasting 191 kW.

Alfa’s V6 engine is interesting in that it’s based on the V6 block manufactured by Holden in Australia, before being shipped back to Italy for further worldwide on-selling. Alfa likes to point out that the rest of the engine, the parts they say give it soul, are all by Alfa Romeo and are made in Italy.

You get more than simply two extra cylinders when you opt for the V6 engine, because you also receive Alfa Romeo’s all-wheel drive system tagged Q4. This has a self-locking Torsen centre differential virtually eliminates the understeer which is a bugbear in some all-wheel drive vehicles. It gives this Alfa Romeo the feeling of a rear-drive car, but with a lot more road grip when things get hard.

Six-speed manual gearboxes are standard on both Brera models and work pretty well considering the gearbox is alongside the engine and therefore a fair way from the gearlever.

The Brera retains some of Alfa’s traditional idiosyncrasies, such as seats that do not locate the driver’s body as well as they could during hard cornering. Then there are the less than perfectly placed pedals. Having to hold the steering wheel for support when lifting the left foot to operate the clutch pedal detracts from the driving experience.

This Alfa is quite a large coupe, but interior volume isn’t one of its strong points. Back seat room is scarce and best left to the kids. Trouble is that the high window line makes it hard for the little ones to see out. But, let's be fair on the car, this is a coupe and therefore really only intended for one or two good friends.

Boot space is fine for a car in this class and unless the luggage is on the bulky side you can fit a fair bit in there.

The newly revitalised Alfa Romeo organisation is working well in Australia. With a significant number of new dealers being appointed and an emphasis on customer support. Check in your local area to see what’s happening in your neighbourhood.

As you would expect in a car in this class most of the dealer are in metro areas, though some country cities and towns have specialists in European, even just Italian, cars.

We haven’t heard of any real complaints about hold up and/or price gouging on Alfa Romeo Brera. Keep in mind this was a $100k car in its early years here and expect to be charged accordingly.

Though all Alfa Romeo models tend to be seen as sports models by insurance companies premiums aren’t unacceptably high. It pays to shop around as there’s quite a difference from high to low, as always be sure to compare apples with apples.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

Build quality is reasonably good, but certainly not to the standards of the Japan, or even latter-day Korean cars.

Once upon a time you could say that parts that didn’t fit as well as they should have done gave the car character. Though they aren’t as common as before it’s still wise to call in a professional early in the buying process.

Before doing so you may care to test a Brera on rough sealed roads and listen for things that go squeak or rattle in the night.

Engines are generally long lasting, but hard-driving enthusiasts may have thrashed them. Be sure an engine starts easily and idles smoothly, the V6 should be all put imperceptible at idle once it’s warmed up.

Watch for black smoke from the exhaust when the Alfa is put under load, and when it’s accelerated suddenly after idling for a minute or so.

Check a manual gearbox is quiet and smooth in its operation.

Feel for a clutch that’s sticky.

Automatics are generally OK, but be wary of one that’s too willing to jump from gear to gear. Conversely, an auto that is relocation to change ratios could also be a worry.

Crash repairs. Ah, crash repairs. Alfas have been known to run into things. Look and feel for body panels that aren’t regular in their shape. Check for paint that doesn’t match from panel to panel. Tiny spots of paint on parts such as glass and badges probably indicate the car has visited a spray painter at some time in the past.

CAR BUYING TIP

Car clubs are an excellent source of information on cars that are often owned by enthusiasts. Try the internet or for lists of clubs in car magazines.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2012 $19,140 $29,810
2011 $16,940 $26,840
2010 $16,280 $24,200
2009 $15,730 $23,210
2008 $13,420 $19,690
2007 $11,990 $18,150
2006 $10,560 $16,610

View all Alfa Romeo Brera pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$13,585
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$10,560
Highest Price
$16,610

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
2.2 JTS 2.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $10,560 – 14,520 2006 Alfa Romeo Brera 2006 2.2 JTS Pricing and Specs
3.2 JTS V6 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $12,430 – 16,610 2006 Alfa Romeo Brera 2006 3.2 JTS V6 Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide

$10,560

Lowest price, based on third party pricing data

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