Thanks a lot, chaps - I have a 2.4 Brera on order and looking to cancel it now. Hasn't anyone got some GOOD points to mention?
That's a real shame. I doubt very much that the experiences of a handful of owners represents the general concensus of opinion. For what it's worth, I posted the following when my Brera had done 5000 miles. It's now closer on 13000, and all my points still stand...
It looks fantastic (mine is Alfa Red with 18in "dial" wheels and black leather). I can never resist taking a quick glance back at it after leaving it parked. Further most other people seem to love the way it looks as well, even non-petrolheads. It doesn't seem to engender hatred or jealously at all as it's distinctive but not showy, arrogant or overly aggresive. The general reaction seems to be "lovely looking car, good choice". Rarity helps as well - I've only ever seen one other on the road (in silver) whilst I've owned this one.
The build quality is the best of any car I've owned (which includes Saabs, VWs, BMWs, Jags). It just feels so solid and refined. Only 2 things have fallen off - the clip holding the parcel shelf (my fault trying to stuff too much into the boot) and the bonnet release handle (my fault again - I kicked it when getting into the car).
The performance from the 5 cylinder diesel is good, although you need to drive it for a while to realise how to get the best of it. Jumping in the Brera straight from another similarly-sized turbodiesel it takes a while to realise the performance is further up the rev range, long after the grunt from a more "lazy" engine would have tailed off. You can feel the weight of the car though - I may look into one of those remap packages to get the best out of what is a really very good diesel engine.
Handling is the best of any front drive car I've driven, Mini excepted. Contrary to expectations, when whisking across fast roads it actually feels very "light on its feet", with good turn in, both features which have long been an Alfa trait. I have no doubt that it's not as good as a Z4 coupe around a track, but having driven them back to back the Z4's ride was just too jarring for everyday use (even in "soft" SE spec), and the Brera has the best ride/handling balance. In essence it's a great, classy, sporting grand tourer.
It's relatively practical for a coupe - the boot is big enough, even with the Bose sub-woofer and autochanger. It does have a high lip though and the rear bumper has been scuffed when trying to load things over it. The rear seats are small, but they have been pressed into service a few times, and have carried two adults on relatively short trips. Being able to fold them flat is an extra bonus - for that "shooting wagon" effect... The front seats are electric and heated - the seat heating is more useful that the electric adjustment, and the way the seat shuffles forward electrically when you fold them forward looks neat but takes so long as to become annoying.
The glass roof is great, especially on bright days. On dull or dark days, the blind covers it up and it becomes really cosy and feels a bit more sporty, for some reason.
The Bose stereo is wonderful, giving a really rich, rounded sound throughout the range, so much better than the overly bass-biased systems in most cars now. The CD autochanger is playing up, but that's Blaupunkt's fault. It's coming out at the first service anyway, to be replaced by an iPod adapter.
This is my first Alfa, and so brand loyalty didn't play any part in choosing the car. However, I have not regretted the choice at all. Having tried all rivals, including the RX8, new TT, Z4 coupe, the Brera JTDM has no real competition - a diesel, hatchback coupe which looks great, goes well and makes you feel special every time you get in it.