hey all.... we recently bought our Brera privately (risky I know!) as a replacement for my partners Abarth (which is for sale on e-bay!) , and every year we take a road trip with our friends to Germany and the Nurburgring.... we usually go in my octavia vRS, which has many mods to make it a capable track car (more power, better brakes, racing suspension, track tyres, anti roll bars, bracing from the audi TT etc etc) now the vRS has had and unidentifiable issue, causing a misfire, and I have NOT been able to track down why , even though I have spent a lot of money and time on the lead up to this years trip, the solution has eluded me, we cannot risk taking it, and braking down....
soooo.... we went in the Brera! an unknown quantity, even though it has a full service history.... needless to say I bought short term European breakdown cover
anyway, here she is, when she first came to us about 3 weeks ago... I will do a photo story and review!
first and only mod so far was HID's as the standard headlights were rubbish....
we stopped at the F1 circuit in Belgium (Spa) on the way ... some of our group.... first impressions... the brakes were a bit soft... the discs a little corroded from lack of use (only a few thousand miles were put on it in the last year) and pitted discs were an advisory on the MOT, I decided the track would probably sort this out
.. its a lovely long distance cruiser, love the cruise control, and comfy ride, at UK motorway speeds a GPS 70mph gave a very respectable 29.6 mpg! (I thought these were supposed to be bad! lol... my octy, modded to 250bhp , would only have given 30 mpg anyway...) at faster european speeds we still made 25 mpg... not bad for a big heavy V6! the car makes a lovely noise.... the clutch is light, but the gearbox is "notchy" maybe they are all like that, I don't know.. no crunching or problems engaging, just a notchy feel...
My baby daughter wants to drive already ....
Got to Germany safe... the car feels very stable at high speed, very "planted" and confidence inspiring.... the ubiquitous ring shot!
I love the area up in the mountains by the ring
right... onto the track! Now bear in mind the vRS was built to do this, and the Brera is totally unmodified, but there has to be a comparison!
power is ok.... its not as fast as the octy, having about the same power and weighing in at at least 1600kg with 4wd to drag the power down too, against the octy's 1200kg and 2wd, it was bound to be slower.... but it was still fun, easily getting up to 130mph...... first few corners, showed a suprising amount of grip, with the 4wd able to really get the power down on early exit of the corners,(TC off) even getting onto the throttle in the middle of corners to push the levels of grip, impressive system! Steering felt nice and precise, accurate and well weighted.... unfortunately I expected what was going to happen next, as the car was shod with uniroyal rainsports (This is why the octy wears track tyres) the RS3's may be great on an Autumn day in the UK, but on a drying nurburgring, with a track temp of 20C , they melted after about 4 corners, and grip significantly reduced.... but I pushed on, its a great track! unfortunatly , next thing to go was the brakes... i figured with the big discs, and 4 pot calipers they would be up to the job, and to be fair, its wasnt the brakes that went, as much as the brake fluid boiled, and I lost all feel (the octy has race fluid in, able to stand the high temps!) so although I was easily ahead of the following JCW mini, at this point, I slowed down and let him through! You cant push in this situation, as if you go too fast into a corner, and need more brakes, you havent got that when the pedals gone! lol...
I took it much easier after this, stopped pushing the car, but still tried to give those rusty brakes a good cleaning! The clutch also started to feel odd when the brake fluid got hot... I assume it uses the same fluid for the clutch as the brakes? because this cured itself when the car cooled down again...the ubiquitous Karousel shot! (It did 15 mpg the day we went on track! :O)
Last picture, up at the castle in Nurburg!
after the holiday, it got us home safe, stopping in Brugge on the way back! Then to the ferry, then back home to North Cumbria, 1500 miles in all! It didn't set on fire once, I did not have to open the bonnet (Although the electronic oil level indicator, would go down sometimes, then decide it was full again.... a physical check when we were home, confirmed none used lol...). The brakes now feel MUCH better, as they have been significantly cleaned up now... Need to change that brake fluid though!
Oddly the engine feels better too, seems to have loosened up a bit, maybe it needed a good blast!
to sum up, what a lovely car, absolutely perfect for a long distance road trip, comfy, fast, and safe.... and been totally reliable so far! (oh, and its just beautiful!)
BUT apart from changing the brake fluid, I'm not going to mess with it, it will now just be our "family" car, to take my partner to work, and take us out at the weekends.... I will be fixing the octy before our trip next year, and we will abuse something that can take that sort of treatment! lol... The brera can be happy cruising the UK roads at sensible speeds