Ital Design Alfa Romeo Brera
by Sam Livingstone
Ital Design shows this seductive Ferrari V8 powered Alfa Romeo Brera as a proposal for the type of car the brand might produce if it wanted to move upwards as other premium sports brands have. The brand has a heritage that affords it such aspirations. The Brera follows cars such as the 1967 Montreal (also V8 powered), the 1990 SZ and the 1996 Sbarro Issima concept in being a high powered, front engine sports car to sit at the top of the Alfa Romeo range.
The logic behind this type of car is similar to that of the Volkwagen Phaeton also premiering at the show. It would be an ambassador for the brand, whose effect would be to move the perception of the brand further upmarket (perhaps onto a more level footing with the likes of BMW) and thus increase sales of the better specified GTVs, 166s, 156s and 147s.
Adopting the flat plane crank V8 engine from the 360 Modena Ferrari further leverages the likely market acceptance of an Alfa that would cost as much as a 911, just as the 1960s Fiat Dino, 1970s Lancia Stratos and 1980s Lancia Thema adopted Ferrari engines to boost propulsion and credibility.
A handsome car, but unlike Ital design concepts of yore, this 2+2 coupe is not a particularly innovative design, picking up design elements from the existing Alfa line up and moving them little. The interior features Ital Design's take on 'eye drive' (have BMW coined the generic term?) which reduces the number of minor control interfaces within the cabin and thus enables the designers to create a less cluttered interior.
With Alfa Romeo likely to be split from the Fiat Auto group, the conflict of this product type with Maserati would not be an issue and the benefits and resources needed to move the brand up market might make this concept a logical and realisable possibility.
But should Alfa produce such a type of car even if it remains within the Fiat Auto fold? In a climate where so many other large brands with premium sporting pretensions are presenting concept and production cars that stretch them upwards, Alfa cannot afford not to. It must cease to rest on a heritage founded in ancient history and known only by the cognicenti. It must speak with a louder voice so that its customers of the future can hear. It must be seen to be the red blooded animal that it is.