2004 Alfa Romeo GT V6 review

24 Jul 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2004 Alfa Romeo GT V6 review
Alfa Romeo GT

When we tested the 2-litre JTS Alfa GT it left us hungry for more. It hinted at real potential and our eyes scanned down the price list and fixed on the GT 3.2 V6: one of the greatest engines of all time placed in the nose of one of the finest shapes on our roads today, underpinned by a sharp chassis. It must be hard to go wrong there surely? We were itchy to find out but could only hypothesise in the meantime.

Almost a year on and Alfa Romeo has come up trumps and dropped the car you see here on my drive; a blood red GT with that all-important 240bhp, 3.2-litre, 24-valve V6 under the bonnet. Yum yum!

The GT’s looks haven’t been diluted by the passage of time. It makes an Audi TT look positively frumpy and still stops bystanders in their tracks wherever you go. Where this one differs is that the spectators have normally stopped and turned around before they see you coming.

Such is the glory of the noise from that V6 that it heralds the imminent arrival of the GT some seconds before it hones into view. We’ve eulogised about this wonderful engine before, but for the hard of telling we’ll do it once more.

You know an engine is going to be good when it looks so good. Pop the bonnet and just drink it in. Appreciative oohs and ahhs are the norm from fellow petrol heads and even those who have no inclination towards the wonder of four wheels will express some appreciation. Turn the key and coos turn to giggles. It’s delightfully naughty; pure and clean, yet dirty and mean.

Underway the V6 dominates proceedings in terms of providing not just motive force, but the soundtrack to drive to as well.

The V6 retains the JTS’s whip crack quick helm that feels overly light. In the V6 there is some torque steer evident under hard acceleration but the difference in pace is probably worth it. Slightly disappointing is the deterioration in the ride and handling balance; it’s as if the extra weight has forced the engineers into a compromise. I don’t remember bottoming out the lesser model’s chin spoiler at all; in the V6 I did it several times on bumpy roads.

This is partly due to the long front overhang, but there may be some changes to suspension settings that add to this tendency.

Cross-country driving on smooth roads is swifter than ever with lots of grip and virtually no roll whatsoever. The brakes lack a little feel and the gearshift is still a little long in throw but it’s a car you can immerse yourself in the driving of.

Favourite roads, as long as they aren’t too bumpy – a feature that will unsettle the V6 in the same way it did the JTS – are a joy to drive thanks to a capable chassis, all the while accompanied by the gloriously sonorous machinations of the V6 up front. Surfaces of patchy grip due to bumps or dampness do invoke some torque steer, as does some clumsy throttle actuation but it isn’t tiresome.

Alfa Romeo GT

Nor is covering big distances. I endured a ten hour battle with our lovely road network in slow stop start traffic and sub zero outside temperatures but sat ensconced in leather swathed luxury, ears soothed by the Bose stereo and gentle hum of the engine. There were no protests from the Alfa, no driveline shunt or undue heat build up in the tiresome traffic; in fact it wasn’t a hardship at all.

At motorway speeds cruising is quiet and effortless with room for four adults a real novelty in this class.

Overall the Alfa Romeo GT V6 is a lovely car. Again, we’d point driving enthusiasts towards the Nissan 350Z. but if the driving experience isn’t the be all and end all then the stunning good looks and beautiful sound track should put the GT straight onto you shopping list.

For me it’s a better car than the Audi TT and Chrysler Crossfire and is also preferable to a BMW 3-series coupe, but it falls short of the heights of the 350Z, but then so do most other coupes, principally because it can’t offer the same rear drive thrills. Factor in that engine, and you have to on an emotional level, and you may just find it too seductive to resist, but then you could put that engine in a skip and people would still buy it!

I’d find it hard not to pay the extra over the JTS to have that V6; it complements the sexy looks so much more fittingly than the four-pot, and gives the body the heart and soul it deserves. The missing ingredient is rear wheel drive, something Alfa are promising to address in the near future.

Dave Jenkins – 25 Nov 2005

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