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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I just test drove the 2008 Audi TT 3.2 Quattro 6-speed coupe. To my eyes, the car is gorgeous in person. The design is spot on, except for the interior. This astounds me, because without exception, every magazine raves about the interior. The door panels, B-pillars, and console are plain black plastic that just have a cheap feel and look. The console also has two open cup-holders and a phone cradle without covers. These look unfinished and would serve no purpose to me other than to collect dust. The dash is nice, but just doesn’t sing to me. The car drives and handles much as I expected: not as a razor sharp sports car (which it is not), but sporty enough to be fun. Overall, the car looked like the mid $30s rather than $45k.

The dealer, a fabulous guy, also sells Porsche. I explained my disappointment in the TT and he didn’t argue. When I told him I have a 164, he said, “What ever you do, don’t ever sell that.” I then sat in a Cayman S and the car sung to me, granted at $65-$70k it better sing. He said, “Let’s go for a ride.” I was a little reluctant, because I thought it may ruin me, but I’d have been crazy to pass that up. The Cayman feels like a track car. The clutch is very heavy, I think more so than that of my GTV6. The seats are uncomfortable, but hold you like glue. The steering is heavy and the car demands to be driven. The engine sings, but in a surprisingly raspy voice. The note of my Z4 is far more appealing to me (even though I realize it’s piped in). The Cayman did not make me want me to trade my Z4 (I have no intension of doing that. I think it’s the most Italian German car available and a worthy successor to my GTV6 that I had for 17 years). I like the overall feel of my Z4 better and based on that experience think I would like it better than the Cayman for everyday driving. I’m sure the Cayman would trounce it on the track.

But the TT did not come close to making me want to trade the 164LS as I thought it would. I really find it astounding that after 13 years, the FWD 164 still stands up against the Germans.

So, rather than coming away elated that there is still no valid/rational reason for me to sell my 13 year-old Alfa—paid off for 9 years—I came away depressed. I’m depressed because, the 164 won’t last forever, and the new cars just don’t do it for me.

But then I got the mail. The August issue of Automobile contains the best article I’ve read in any car magazine in 15 years. There are 5 pages about the new Alfas that sound incredibly promising. They say that Alfa is fully aware of its two main issues: pork and a non-Alfa power plant. They say that the US bound cars will lose significant weight and be powered with an all-new Alfa designed V6, “promised to be as gloriously Italian as a Ferrari Formula 1 power plant or as Pavarotti singing at La Scala.” They also say the 169 is designed by Walter Egger of 8C fame. The rendering, for what that’s worth, is gorgeous.

So I’m smiling again, and thinking that Alfa may actually pull this off. I think it’s been 2 years since I thought that. 2010 is not that far away, the 164 is still great, I really enjoy the Z4, and I’m saving a lot of money. The future looks very promising again.
 

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I'll have to pick up the August Automobile for sure. That's good news, I've been griping about those very things and it's good to know they are listening.

As far as the TT goes I do like the looks better than the last one but have not driven it. I did take a Cayman S for a test drive about two weeks ago and I liked it a lot! I just wanted to take it to the track and flogg it... Yes the steering is a bit heavy but gives so much feedback, the throttle response was terrific and I thought the power was great.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I did take a Cayman S for a test drive about two weeks ago and I liked it a lot! I just wanted to take it to the track and flogg it... Yes the steering is a bit heavy but gives so much feedback, the throttle response was terrific and I thought the power was great.
Don't get me wrong, I agree, the Cayman S is fabulous. I'd love to take it to a track. There is no argument that it's a great car; it just didn't make me want to part with the 164, my Z4, and another $40k.
 

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Don't get me wrong, I agree, the Cayman S is fabulous. I'd love to take it to a track. There is no argument that it's a great car; it just didn't make me want to part with the 164, my Z4, and another $40k.
Oh I know what you're saying, the $63,000 they wanted gave me a grimmance that I have not quite come to grips with yet. So if Alfa can chop about 300 to 400 pounds off the Brera and give it awd and 300 hp, I'll wait patiently.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So if Alfa can chop about 300 to 400 pounds off the Brera and give it awd and 300 hp, I'll wait patiently.
I'd say 500 to 700, but I know that's asking a lot. The Spider is about 3725 lbs! That's like driving around with your mother, your mother-in-law, your aunt, and your grandmother all soaking wet and fully laden from the all-you-can-eat buffet! That is a sure way to ruin any driving experience! I think it has to be around 3,000 to 3,200 max to tell the world that Alfa is serious about this comeback. I think they need to look to aluminum in a big way.
 

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These weights are unbelievable. My GTV weights in at 2214. That's an extra 1000 + lbs of ****. They better dump a lot of that weight or come in at least 300 hp otherwise it'll be a slug & an embarrassment.
 

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Have anyone of you ever driven a Brera or Spider? How do you know that it is a "slug & an embarrassment" and that it needs "aluminum"?

It's not all that bad, really.
 

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No haven't had the honor:( but I've read zero to 60 in 8 seconds:eek:. That being the case, they better get some aluminum in there IMO (and lots of it).
 

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All I know is the Cayman S I drove was 2960 lbs and was awesome in the brief test drive I took. I realize a Brera is not a sports car like the Cayman but 3700 lbs is way too heavy. The last president of Maserati quit in part due to the fact that he did not want to share Alfa's overweight platform.
 

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A Cayman S is also a much less compromised vehicle! I agree that the Brera and Spider seems a bit on the overweight side, but the Brera (haven't driven the Spider yet...) is a very good drive! Feels very well planted, and a more than decent punch and engine note. On a brief motorway stint, a friend and I drove side by side in a GT 3.2 and a Brera 3.2, both floored their vehicle in 3rd gear @ 90 km/h and it was a even match. Despite of the Brera's extra weight.

It will never be an embarrassment to be seen in a Brera. Over here they get more attention from the opposite (and far superior in apperance) sex, which can't be a bad thing ;)

Lastly, there isn't any other car on the roads in that segment with as much "Überholsprestige" as the Brera/159... Those headlights w/ xenon are beyond mean in the rearview mirror.
 

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I really find it astounding that after 13 years, the FWD 164 still stands up against the Germans.

So, rather than coming away elated that there is still no valid/rational reason for me to sell my 13 year-old Alfa—paid off for 9 years—I came away depressed. I’m depressed because, the 164 won’t last forever, and the new cars just don’t do it for me.
I hear you, but what about comparable cars (4-door sport sedans) to your 164? Have you looked at the G35, 335, A4, etc?

Comparing apples to older apples how do the newer sedans compare? I'm not a fan of the G35 or the IS but the 335 looks very appealing, at least on paper. Of course, there is no way I'm spending ~$45k on one of them but it sure looks like a fun car. One other new car I think probably most closely emulates the 164 is the Saab 9-3 Aero. The turbo-charged V6 (2006+) is a great engine and it handles really well. Yeah, the interior is cheap and it's kind of temperamental but that just means it's that much closer to an Italian car! :D
 

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They say that Alfa is fully aware of its two main issues: pork and a non-Alfa power plant. They say that the US bound cars will lose significant weight and be powered with an all-new Alfa designed V6, “promised to be as gloriously Italian as a Ferrari Formula 1 power plant or as Pavarotti singing at La Scala.”
How come we are just hearing this now? The 2009 model year (which happens in 2008) is not too far off. If Alfa was building new engines, don't you think we would've heard about it by now? Wouldn't the design of these new powerplants at least be public by now? Either we will pleasantly suprised by something as huge as this very very soon or its all just hot air if you ask me.

My guess is that Alfa will just increase the capacity of it's GM V6 to 3.6 liters and release it in the states. I don't think they have enough time for new engines if they're going to be here in the '09 model year.
 

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My guess is that Alfa will just increase the capacity of it's GM V6 to 3.6 liters and release it in the states. I don't think they have enough time for new engines if they're going to be here in the '09 model year.
This GM engine is available NOW. Question is, will it fit:confused:. I'd personally go for something with a bit more low end torque:)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I hear you, but what about comparable cars (4-door sport sedans) to your 164? Have you looked at the G35, 335, A4, etc?
Yes, very good point. I drove the 2005 3 series and was not impressed at all. However, I recently drove the new 330 and it's pretty amazing. There is no question that it is far superior to the 164 (as every new sedan in that price range should be since the newest 164s are 12 years old!). I'm sure the 335 is an amazing car. I'm going to test drive one soon and will love it I'm sure. I'm really thinking of getting one, but I keep getting teased by the Alfa articles. Next spring, if the rumors aren't any more substantiated, I think I’ll give up and get a 335 coupe. The one thing that really bothers me about the BMWs is how boring they look. To my eyes, the Z4 was the first modern BMW that had looks to match its mechanicals. Beauty is as subjective as can be, but the Z4 is amazing to my eyes (especially in black). The new 6 is a masterpiece too. The new 3 series looks way more boring than it drives and is very common, although the coupe is relatively rare. If Alfa does not come back, I'll most likely end up with a 335. The mechanicals are sweet enough for me to ignore the bland looks.

How come we are just hearing this now? The 2009 model year (which happens in 2008) is not too far off. If Alfa was building new engines, don't you think we would've heard about it by now? Wouldn't the design of these new powerplants at least be public by now? Either we will pleasantly suprised by something as huge as this very very soon or its all just hot air if you ask me.
Nothing I read says 2009. They are all saying 2010 at least. But I agree, that they have a lot of work to do in a very short time frame. However, the question remains, "How stupid are they?" The current cars will die a quick death in this market. They'd have to be pretty stupid to not see that. Therefore, they have only two choices: lose weight and develop a great new engine or stay home.
 

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How come we are just hearing this now?
We aren't. This has been public knowledge for just about a year now, at least.

http://www.alfabb.com/bb/forums/showpost.php?p=234910&postcount=23

Given that the news was reported at least a year ago, this project has been in the works for quite a while already - possibly or even probably since before the launch of the 159 in anticipation of the problems they knew were there, yet couldn't economically rectify at the time.
 

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Fixing the engines would be the easiest thing. Alfa should start there. If its going to happen at all they should release more information than they have though. What are the specs of these new engines? Will they help decrease some of the weight problems with the current range? Where are the details?

And another thing, does anyone else here find it funny that Alfa/Fiat is concerned with the weight and feel of the new cars because they don't feel "Alfa" enough? Why wasn't Fiat concerned with the feel of an Alfa Romeo when they went fwd with all of the cars? That alone makes me wonder how seriously they will take this weight/engine issue in the months to come. I do hope that when the news does come however, it is good.
 

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I don't know if 'fixing' the engine issue is easy or not. I have no idea how much work it is to develop a new engine but I don't suppose it is easy and certainly not cheap. Just take a look at how long the Nord and the Busso were in production.

At the end of the day it all comes down to how much you have to invest and Fiat has been cash strapped for quite a number of years. Now, however, things are looking up. They have managed to bring cars to market which people actually want to buy. The Grande Punto, Panda and now the new Stilo and certainly the 500 are selling very well and despite all the misgivings of this BB the 159 is also a healthy seller although not the runaway success the 156 was.

The 156 needed to be replaced but at the time there was no money to do it with and a GM partnership with solutions (albeit none too good). I think the people at AR did very well with what they had to go with. The 159 is a very stylish car, well put together and despite the Holden origins of the engines they are actually quite good despite what all of us purists would like to see. The Premium platform seemed like a good idea at the time - modular, flexible and all of that but the weight issue has killed off the advantages and it is apparently quite expensive to build. However, again, it is what they had to work with at the time and developing an all new platform is not cheap and GM helped paying for the Premium only to abandon it (due to cost?).

Now that the Fiat group is on a very healthy road to recovery investments can be made. The Junior will probably come along soonish (on the Grande Punto platform which is a good one), the 169 is in development but who knows what that will become? The 149? I think that the facelifted/Mk II version of the 159, due in a couple of years will not only be cosmetically updated but include new engines and a reworked platform.

This all IMHO.
 

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Why wasn't Fiat concerned with the feel of an Alfa Romeo when they went fwd with all of the cars?
That was 20 years ago, it's ancient history in the auto world. Hopefully the new management has learned from that mistake. The 8C suggests they have.
 
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