- We like...Fuel economy; cabin space
- We don't...jolty ride
Rorty Italian sportster feels like a thoroughbred - even with its diesel engine. But is it good enough all-round?‘Alfa Romeo’ and ‘Cloverleaf’. Three words that, put together, are enough to get many a car fan’s palms tingling. But the car here is a diesel, and Alfas are all about the rasp of a tuned exhaust linked to a powerful petrol motor.
Ds this matter? This Alfa proves that it needn’t. The excitement’s still there but here it has the added real-world sense of up to 45mpg overall and sensible CO2 output of 165g/km. The GT is by now quite an old design. It’s been on sale since 2004 and its chassis is borrowed from the long-ago 156 saloon. But it still looks crisp and of today, while its beaked front and curving lines mark it as every inch an Alfa.
Inside it is surprisingly practical. First, there’s decent space in the cabin and seats for five – unusual, this, where most coupe rivals are strictly for four. There’s also a full tailgate where you expect just a boot. Space for luggage is generous and there are two lidded boxes to either side of the boot, which are fine for hiding valuables in. And, natch, the rear seats split and fold, so you can easily convert it to a two-seat box-hauler or cycle carrier. That rear ‘gate carries no rear wiper but the glass clears easily of rain.
The black leather seats are standard. They’re comfy on a long drive and look good. The rest of the cabin is black, too, although the bright instruments jazz things up a little. It’s well enough made and looks OK – but you wouldn’t pick the car just because of it.
Every Alfa passes or fails on how it drives. This one deserves a tick for its engine – it’s quick from low-down, as a good diesel should be, although its power comes mostly from a narrow band of revs. You’ll need to swap gears plenty to see its best, though. Cruising for long distances at the motorway maximum comes easily and then it will easily push its fuel returns up to 50mpg.
This Alfa chucks itself through a string of bends full-on, but its steering and ride lack the finesse you’ll find in more modern rivals like, say, the Volkswagen Scirocco or the BMW 1-series. There’s not the precision and adjustability. Our top-line test model had a limited-slip differential (to improved power delivery and grip) and a red ‘sport’ button that boosts throttle response but, truth be told, we couldn’t sense the benefit of either.
So, should you buy one. If you’re love Alfas, why not? But if you are also looking elsewhere, the Scirocco of BMW One we’ve mentioned are probably better all-rounders. Still, the GT is a looker, practical and keenly priced when new.
Go second-hand and the value is even better, though – just because low prices make two- or three-year-old cars a bargain when compared to rivals.
To view and buy new and used Alfa Romeo GTs, click on motors.co.uk
- Engines1.9 diesel
- 0-60 mph8.2secs
- Insurance groups15D
Motors.co.uk value verdict: