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Alfa Romeo GT JTS 2005 Review

It remains a sensual driving experience that also just happens to look pretty hot.

But that's the story with the Alfa Romeo GT in its two-litre JTS variant when compared with its V6-engined $79,990 sibling.

What's the difference? The V6 rockets to 100km/h two seconds faster, has 55kW and 94Nm more oomph, and a six-speed manual gearbox. Oh, and a few nicer interior touches.

The budget-priced — well, in relative terms — four-cylinder is still no slouch off the mark. In Australia, where there are few opportunities to drive with vigour, the smaller model starts to make a lot more sense.

Add to that the lower fuel consumption, which is considerably more frugal than the V6, and downsizing never looked more painless.

Typifying Italian style, the GT comes in a slinky two-door body with seating for four adults at a pinch, two adults and two children at best. The boot access is via a long hatch with extra storage available by flipping down the split rear seats. Nothing remarkable there.

That aside, the cabin gives some idea of why the "cheaper" GT is still a pricey $65,000 machine.

Comprehensive instrumentation, albeit set in a bit of a mish-mash dashboard, combines with high-quality leather upholstery.

The cabin is predominantly black plastic and leather which, combined with the red paint of the body, is the mandatory livery for a fast car.

Impressive though the interior is, it's the mechanical components that reflect the Alfa's heart and its esteemed racing history.

There's even a sticker on the inside of the windscreen asking the new owner for some consideration for the low-mileage engine to build up to peak performance — which I read after my test run.

It didn't seem to matter. The GT JTS — those three letters indicated a lean-burn engine system — delivered an excellent blend of low-speed punch and top-end urge.

The cheaper GT comes only with a Selespeed semi-manual gearbox with gearchanges made either by a 100mm floor-shifter or paddles on the steering wheel.

Alfa's initial attempts at the Selespeed some years ago were less than successful. The latest- generation gearbox is smoother, changes more quickly and doesn't make many mistakes. It has five gears, but I think the engine would prefer six.

Change up by momentarily lifting your foot off the accelerator and clicking the right-hand steering wheel lever. Downchanges, complete with an automatic mid-change "blip", are via the left-hand lever.

In other surprising changes for the better, the driving position is better suited to the Australian physique. Early Alfas required long arms and short legs to comfortably operate the controls.

Get comfortable and find a quiet, curvy road and the GT immediately shows why it's an Alfa and why it's not cheap.

Despite its front-drive platform, it has virtually no understeer and will bite hard into the corners.

The back follows through without trying to let go, and the steering weight is near perfect.

In the debit column is the GT's woefully expansive turning circle, and niggly things like the warning chime when the ignition key is withdrawn. It sounds like a dying pigeon.

But it remains a sensual driving experience that also just happens to look pretty hot.

Pricing guides

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Range and Specs

3.2 3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $6,500 – 10,010 2005 Alfa Romeo GT 2005 3.2 Pricing and Specs
JTS Selespeed 2.0L, PULP, 5 SP $5,500 – 8,580 2005 Alfa Romeo GT 2005 JTS Selespeed Pricing and Specs
Pricing Guide


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