Alfa Romeo GT Coupe 2004 Review
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The 8c Competizione is a motor-show concept car that cost about $3 million to design and built, and that means – even if it were for sale – it is well beyond anything you would call a budget.
But there is an Alfa that is available and rates highly on the get-me-one-right-now scale.
The Alfa Romeo GT is a two-door coupe that is taking the fight up to the benchmark Mazda RX-8 and Nissan 350Z.
It isn't cheap, but $80,000 is relatively affordable for people who want a fun car with flair.
The 8c Competizione will make its first appearance at the Sydney motor show next month but the GT is available everywhere.
The GT is a two-door coupe shaped in the latest Alfa style, which means a chunky nose with a prominent grille, but it tapers away to a cute tail with rounded haunches.
It is a 2-plus-2 body, with plenty of space in the front but a slightly cramped cabin for people in the back.
The mechanical package is familiar: a 3.2-litre V6 with 176kW of power, fully independent suspension with anti-skid four-wheel disc brakes and a six-speed manual gearbox.
The $79,990 price buys luxury, from Bose CD sound and alloy wheels to tan leather trim, cruise control, xenon headlamps, remote central locking and a trip computer. It is just what you'd expect in the class, and all done with Italian style.
The GT slots in close to the top of the Alfa Romeo range for '04, well beyond the aged GTV coupe but short of the 166 flagship sedan.
Its appeal is obvious, because the shape and rocking V6 and tan leather and driving joy are all traditional Alfa enticements.
"Few cars can offer the complete emotional experience supplied by the Alfa Romeo GT," Alfa Romeo Australia general manager Kevin Wall says.
ON THE ROAD
FIRST impressions count – and the GT makes a stunning impact. It is a great-looking car that tells you from the get-go it is sporty, rorty and Italian.
Turn the key, fire the classic V6 engine, and the impression gets stronger.
The GT is a car that wants to be driven, and driven fairly hard, to give its best.
Still, it's just as good making an impact and it will do the job on Lygon or Chapel streets with equal success.
The GT is a long way down the road from Alfa's old GTV, and not just in the switch from angular lines to curvy panels. It is more complete, more enjoyable and has fewer flaws.
Rear vision is just plain awful – which is why it has rear parking radar – and the six-speed manual can be a pest at times, with the shift into six a real pain. But there is not much else to complain about.
The "eyebrows" below the low-rider front spoiler do drag a bit too much and the turning circle is so wide you need tugs for parking.
The car is much more enjoyable than Alfa's GTA, which was too demanding and too raunchy.
The GT gets along nicely, with plenty of torque and a top-end rush, and the gearbox has well-chosen ratios for straight-line sprints and fun in curves.
Fuel consumption isn't great, averaging 14.7 litres/100km during our test, but it gets a lot better on highways or when you resist the temptations.
Alfa has also done a great job of tuning the traction control, making the front-drive GT lively without electronic intrusion over the slightest slip or patch of gravel.
The ride is firm but still compliant for a sports car, it takes curves with no fuss, and the steering has good feedback.
The seats are very comfortable, and the boot is huge. We liked the trip computer and cruise control, but the xenon headlamps don't run to high beam.
The $80,000 bottom line puts it above its obvious sports car rivals and closer to the BMW 3-Series coupe. It means it cannot be assessed just as a sports car.
THE BOTTOM LINE
THE Alfa range is getting better all the time and the GT is a car with substance to match its style.
Range and Specs
|3.2||3.2L, PULP, 6 SP MAN||$6,500 – 10,010||2004 Alfa Romeo GT 2004 3.2 Pricing and Specs|
Lowest price, based on third party pricing data