Impressions from Geneva - 159 & Brera
Just got back from the Geneva show - chance to check out the new Alfas.
There's good news and bad!
Firstly the good... The 159 is a quite handsome car. It looks big (almost like a 166 replacement) and seems reasonably roomy inside. The strong design is all at the front, but it fades away a bit towards the rear, which is rather like a cross between a Vauxhall Carlton and the new Passat (ie smart enough, but a bit unadventurous).
Certainly, for me at least, the 159 doesn't have the 'wow' factor that the 156 had on first sighting. It will probably look good enough on the road, but won't make people stand and stare.
The interior is a bit disappointing. There's nothing very radical, and the use of aluminium door and dashboard strips to brighten things up has been done before (and better) by BMW. The main dash fascia comprises a ribbed aluminium-like material which isn't particularly tactile, and looks a bit Eastern European. Instruments are nothing special and the steering wheel is a bit boring. There's a distinct lack of the flair that graces the interiors of the 156, 147 and GT.
Moving on to the the Brera, good news. It's every bit as nice, externally, in the metal as it is in photos. From every angle this car looks good. It's low and purposeful - not unlike the Astra GTC, but a bit less fussy than the Vauxhall, and better for it. Unfortunately the interior is a bit of a let down. Similar (though not identical) to the 159. Nothing adventurous here unfortunately. It's all functional enough with lashings of aluminium-like sheeting, although the aluminium (plastic?) trim on the steering wheel was already showing signs of scratching, despite the fact that Joe Public was locked out of this car.
It's a real shame that these externally stylish cars couldn't have been made with a bit more interior imagination. Of course, the crux now will be on how well they drive. We'll have to await the road test magazines for their verdict.
Last edited by jowettgeoff; 14-03-05 at 14:17.