Amusing GT article, courtesy of The Guardian
I found this on the Guardian's website and thought it was amusing. Makes me want one even more now! ( Not the diesel, obviously. )
The Italian stallion
Alfa's slick new GT could well be the most thrilling diesel car on the road today
Tuesday May 18, 2004
The new Alfa Romeo GT couldn't be more Italian if it was made of ice cream. And if it was made of ice cream, it would be licking itself until it was all gone. Everything is in place: the enviable swagger, the admirable self-certainty; the sense the car gives off that it would be happier away from your drive and slaloming down a mountain towards a seaside town in Liguria; the sense it also gives off that it would prefer you to be better dressed than you are, and perhaps in possession of some cooler sunglasses; plus the high style that is so high that it is almost ready to come down on the other side as kitsch.
There's a plate on each side of the car, carefully concealed where you can't miss it, celebrating the design studio that did its styling: "disegno BERTONE". It's labelled like a suit, in other words. You don't get that on your Vauxhall Vectra.
The new GT has, says Alfa, "all the charm of past Alfa Romeos, blended with the passion and refined elegance seen in our cars of today". That's puffery, of course. If you tried to force all the charm of past Alfa Romeos into one single Gran Turismo sports coupé, it would explode, causing devastation and an ecologically disastrous charm-slick across a 400-mile radius. But the new GT does look like it has come from somewhere with a history of building this kind of vehicle, while at the same time seeming unmistakably of its moment.
There's no antique gimmickry. Rather, you get all the details of the contemporary Alfa, but just that little bit further evolved. The trademark, five-strut, shield-shaped chromium grille (which seems to resemble ever more closely the gate off some sci-fi correctional facility) is bigger than it has ever been. In 10 years' time, if this trend continues, you'll be having trouble seeing past it from the driving seat.
There isn't a single line or mark on the body of this car that does not bespeak months of anguished over-pencilling in the pages of an Italian designer's sketchbook. The pillar between the front seats and the plausibly useable twin seats in the back is cunningly concealed behind the window glass to give the car that sleekly glazed coupé look.
The rear window falls away so slowly that it's virtually flat the whole way and past the wheel arches when it reaches its lowest point. It eventually sinks into a bulked-up boot-and-bumper combo, giving the car an aerodynamic wedge shape. Even parked, it appears to be sniffing for the next available horizon.
Inside, too, the car has been poignantly readied to style you into submission. Does your car have a designated jewellery-box-style, spring-loaded sliding drawer for your credit cards? The Alfa GT does, bang in the middle of the dash, next to the pop-out cupholder. It begs the question, of course, about who gets into a car holding a fistful of credit cards. Not even footballers, one supposes, who tend to have wallets and pockets like the rest of us. Still, it's a thoughtful touch.
The day Alfa incorporates a digital speedometer is the day speed-lovers find a ditch to lie face-down in. Here, traditional analogue clocks with crisp modern faces sit within achingly fashionable hoods. The interior of mine, snug in a sporty way, but by no means cramped, was decked with satin-touch plastic and the seats were cloaked in black Alfatex, a material of Alfa's own devising, plush, but naff as only velvety things can be. It was like standing very close to Jimmy Tarbuck during the 70s. Leather may be the more sensible option.
Either way, the car goes like the clappers and handles as if gifted with an intelligence far shrewder and swifter into action than one's own - which is a dangerous illusion for a driver to labour under, one appreciates, though it brings its own reassuring comforts, none the less.
The one minor drawback was that Alfa sent us the 1.9 diesel version and the idea of a diesel-fuelled GT, though not as howlingly self-contradictory as it would have been as recently as five years ago, still brings one up short.
One must never underestimate the advances that have been made in this particular area. Here is a diesel-powered car that can accelerate to 60mph in less than 10 seconds, and without requiring provision for an overnight stay.
I believe, too, Alfa when it says that the pulling power of this specially designed, turbo-charged, multi-injection system engine outperforms even the 3.2 litre petrol V6 version of the car. The question is whether, when you turn the key in an Alfa GT, you can live with the disappointment of hearing the distinctive, ice-cream-wouldn't-melt, joggle and rattle of a black cab - albeit a very quiet and handsomely tooled black cab. And a very fast one. But there are other options if you can't.