Well, had a go of one for 30 mins this morning at Desira Hertford, my local dealer. Little bit gutted as there was no-one after me and I could've had an hour, but that would've been greedy and the salesman would have started to get twitchy and panicky!
The 2.0L JTS with standard suspension, 17" wheels (Alfa are supplying 16" to dealers as standard, a source of annoyance to them as they know everyone will want 17's and they look a lot better, especially on this car).
The GT looks gorgeous, as other people have said on AOcom before, better in the flesh. The rear end even looks OK! Seats (leather) very comfortable, loads of fore and aft adjustment, the 147 style dash lets it down a little in my opinion. althought to be honest I've always preferred the (previous) 156 dash anyway.
Didn't like the gearstick or change particularly. I'm a fan of the Selespeed and a little spoiled in that respect, but even so I found the gearchange 'rubbery' and a little reluctant, not slick at all. Whether this will loosen up, I don't know. The lever is also quite long, so doesn't feel very agile, a little ungainly. I didn't like the aluminium knob either, very cold to the touch, not very inviting.
The engine is good, though not as much fun as the TS and not sounding as rorty and naughty! I'd guess it does feel its 15BHP superiority, but not drastically so. A bit more pull below 4000RPM but not as much fun above 5000. Curiously, pulling away from a near standstill on RAB's in 2nd gear seemed more of a chore than the TS, seemingly at odds with the more low-down grunt.
Brakes felt good, quick to bite and progressive, but dynamically, the car was a little disappointing. Also there was a little bit of 'dive' when braking hard. The car I drove was not sport pack equipped, I should emphasise (although, having said that, my SP3 isn't brilliant and I am meaning to get this sorted, so if anyone has any ideas?
). But the overall drive was good and bumps in the middle of corners were dealt with well, as were potholes and drain covers. You could feel the road but not uncomfortably so.
On a general note, I know not every Alfa can be a GTA, but I feel a little disappointed that Alfa can
make a FWD car handle as sublimely as a GTA, almost as good as a good RWD, but some of the lesser models can be a bit lacking, even compared to peers like the Mondeo. The GTA's are so sorted, yet not uncomfortable in everyday driving, they're damn near perfectly neutral. I've even considered putting a GTA set up in mine but I should imagine it would be prohibitively expensive and maybe not even possible?
Getting back to the GT though, gorgeous-looking car, good, solid and enthusiastic engine, firm, safe brakes, pretty good handling and ride.The salesman said Alfa have estimated 13,000 sales nationwide in the 1st year, he thought there would be demand for a lot more than that. They're built to order like the GTA's but Alfa are not giving delivery times yet until they've gauged demand. I'd give the GT 7.5/10!