Here's another one. The Honda Integra Type R. 147Kw (~200hp) in a real screamer of an engine. Even the looks could grow on you after a while. And here in NZ it's priced very competitively - $45,500. Here are some comparative prices:
Alfa 147 2.0 3 dr - $49,995
Renault Clio 2.0 RS - $35,990
Toyota Celica 1.8 - $45,000
Nissan 200SX 2.0T - $45,495
Even though here in NZ (and Australia) the Type R we get is not the "real" Type R (162Kw) the marketing people have done quite a good snow job on the car buying public.
But remember, before we see the 147GTA we'll see the 156GTA. This will set the scene and we'll see what it's up against. It's a pity Alfa aren't going for 4WD as 250Hp is alot to put through the front wheels. I personally think there will be people who will go for the RX8 over the 156GTA because of the Mazda's more traditional drive line. It'll be interesting to see what sort of pricing Alfa and Mazda go for. Depends on the target market I guess.
Previously I quoted an estimated price of NZ$110,000 for the 156GTA. Let me put that into perspective in the NZ market. Here's what you can currently get for $100,000 to $120,000.
Any BMW 3 series (M3 is $143,000)
Any 5 series up to the 530
Audi S4 sedan squeaks in at $119,500 (S3 is $76,500)
Any MB C class (Except AMG)
MB E class up to 320
Nissan Skyline GTR
Porsche Boxster 2.7 man $119,000 (cheapest Porsche)
Any Saab (all less than $100,000)
And for those people who prefer good ole cubes the Holden HSV range are all within budget. Even the mighty HSV GTS 300 is $120,000.
Damn, my true colors are showing. I have a hankering for one of these V8 monstors. Aggressive styling, awsome sound but terribly anti-social in this day and age (or so the road safety nazis would have us believe).
Back onto the topic. A question I ask is: Is AR with the 147GTA (and 156GTA for that matter) creating their own class with no clearly defined competition at present. Think about it, how many other large engined FWD sports sedans are there right now. The styling is fairly conservative (no big wings or spoilers) so the Evo-WRX-GTR buyers probably wouldn't consider them (not enough attention). Based on what I see coming up on the market I think the RX8 will probably be the biggest competition for the new GTA's. It'll be great, we'll have access to cars designed in the same vein as the BMW M cars, the Audi S cars and MB AMG but far more affordable.