This Alfa Brera Spider was kindly offered for testing by Road and Race Automotive, and is currently for sale there.

It’s a question as old as time itself. The greatest mystery to have baffled mankind for as long as memory and records can stretch back. First observed in the earliest cave drawings of the most primitive man, the question that still burns today. What is the perfect daily for a petrolhead?

Well to answer this question we need to break it down further into component parts. In other words, what makes a great daily? It has to be reasonably practical. The fuel consumption should be reasonable. Maintenance costs can’t be crippling. It should be comfortable and refined. Cupholders are a must. As is air conditioning and a decent stereo.


thousands of cars that could easily tick all these boxes

A quick look through Autotrader or Gumtree will reveal literally thousands of cars that could easily tick all these boxes. However, most of these cars would absolutely crush the soul of any self-respecting petrolhead. We need cars that are interesting. Something beautiful. It should make a good noise. Preferably something you won’t see on the road every day. A car with soul. Preferably it would have a badge from a brand with real pedigree. Above all, it should feel good to drive.

Few brands have more pedigree than Alfa Romeo. They come standard with three bucket loads filled to the brim with emozione after all. Not many cars can win a beauty contest when pitted against something as utterly gorgeous as the Brera Spider. Especially in the sub R300k price bracket. With the 2.2 JTS, fuel consumption and running costs are not going to break the bank. With enough imagination, you could convince yourself that it is practical too, since there is a boot and some space behind the front seats – besides, when was the last time you had someone in the back of your car?

The Brera has personality

We appear then, to have found the answer for petrolheads looking for a new daily. This particular example in it’s absolutely flawless black paint is simply stunning from every angle. The front end with triple element light clusters each side and the iconic Alfa shield grille in the middle is beautiful. It looks special and different, like it has personality and wasn’t just designed to meet some market requirements. In side profile it looks rakish and athletic, like a proper sportscar. The rear is dominated by light clusters that echo the design of the front lights and of course the quad exhausts peering through the bumper.

Sadly though, if you were expecting a nice fruity exhaust note from those 4 pipes, you may be disappointed when you fire up the 4-cylinder engine in this car. On the plus side though, the engine is very smooth and incredibly quiet when cruising or driving slowly. The only noises it really makes are some grunting induction noises when you stand on the loud pedal. Perhaps it’s the best of both worlds; makes induction noise when you want to play, but it’s quiet and refined when you’re just trying to get from A to B.

Performance is perfectly adequate from the 2.2, but that’s not the point of this car anyway. Of far greater importance, is the way it feels. The engine is responsive and eager in its delivery. The gears are very precise and rowing through the box is a pleasure. At the same time, it’s a very easy power train to use, making it perfect for a daily driver.

In the Brera you can feel what the front wheels are doing

Steering feel on front wheel drive cars is generally awful because the only thing you can feel through the wheel is usually the engine tugging at the front wheels as they scramble for all the available grip. In the Brera though, the engine feels a little muted through the wheel, which means you can actually feel what the front wheels are doing. This, coupled with a nicely judged and weighty steering, makes it very easy to accurately place the car on the road.

Settle into a cruise and slot the lever into 6th and the car is very quiet, relaxed and refined inside. And not just for a ragtop convertible – It’s genuinely quiet and comfortable to be in.

The interior is a very nicely designed space, filled with a nice mix of shapes, textures, flowing lines and circles. Those 3 small gauges in the centre console are a particularly nice touch. The main instruments are a perfect reminder of why I still prefer physical dials to the digital displays of most new cars. Alfa have always been particularly good at making good looking leather seats, and the units fitted to the Brera Spider are a stunning example of that.


With around 68 000km on the clock the interior seems to have also held up very well, showing almost no signs of wear in heavy traffic areas such as door handles, steering wheel and gear knob. The matt silver panel does show a little bit of colour fading, but everything is very well put together. Build quality would appear to be very good and there were no squeaks or rattles in the cabin.

the Brera could handle far more power

If you put your foot down it will become obvious that not only is this an excellent front drive chassis, but that it could handle far more power than it has with this 2.2 litre engine. But what it lacks in outright power, it makes up for in playfulness. The car feels light and nimble around corners and through traffic. Would it be nice to have more power available? Yes obviously! Does it absolutely need it? No, especially not when used as a daily where fuel consumption is probably more important.

Ultimately though, you arrive at your destination turning heads as you park. You step out of your Brera Spider look as suave and sophisticated as an Italian James Bond. You slam the door shut and as you walk away from the car, you turn to glance back at your chariot. It is absolutely a work of art. It’s simply a beautiful car that could potentially, put a smile on your face every single day.


So there you have it, question answered. What would be a great daily for a petrolhead? The Alfa Romeo Brera Spider.

Carbs and Coffee – Solving the world’s most perplexing mysteries since 2017. You’re welcome.

Thanks again to Road and Race Automotive for supporting Carbs and Coffee

If you have missed any of our features over the festive season, you can catch up on everything HERE and click HERE to see what our columnists have had to say!

3 thoughts on “Alfa Brera Spider – And a question as old as time

  1. Rob says:

    I have a 3.2 v6 what a car . Smile a mile

  2. Neil says:

    Soundsabout right to me. To solve the problem with low power, I bought the 3.2 V6. Great engine note and a fair amount of oomph.

  3. Zizi says:

    Thoughtful article. The thing to twig is that in 2.2 JTS form the Spider is not an out and out performance sports car, rather
    a boulevardier or GT at which it excels. Good boot space and ( for the bolder ) additional space in hood stowage area when the
    hood is up and superb seats, AC and driving position. Hood down the aerodynamics are good so you can press on and arrive
    at destination without looking as if you just walked through a hedge.

    I agree it looks best in Rosso but there are so few around it’s a matter of any colour you can get!

    Downsides – electric hood can play up and best to invest in a spare hood flap motor while still available – easy to replace.
    Generally the real downside is that on an engine which does like oil is facing up to the heart surgery ( and cost ) of replacing the oil filter –
    and timing belts. The installation seems to have been designed by a sado – masochist or, more cynically, by someone
    who had a shrewd eye to maintaining main dealer profitability. Still a classy compact well built soft top which is easy to live with!

Comments are closed.