Evo’s designer recently blogged on what makes a petrolhead (read it here). Having mused over Clarkson’s point that to be a true car nut, you need to – at one point or another – own an Alfa Romeo, our Shorrock shunned the curly-haired one’s thoughts.
It’s one of Clarkson’s opinions I actually find myself nodding along with, though. Traditionally Alfas have majored on character and emotion, cars that pull you into them before slapping you in the face with unpolished dynamics and fragile build. That raw mix of personality and pain makes a car undeniably compelling, one that arguably only hardcore petrolheads have the patience to explore.
The 147 GTA is a case in point. Its gorgeous looks and sonorous V6 engine gloss over a host of inherent flaws. I want one, even though I know I shouldn’t.
It’s a car I thought a lot about on the launch of the Alfa Giulietta a fortnight ago (first drive here). The two cars feel like polar opposites; the new Golf-fighter looks and feels conventional, has a clever and efficient engine, and drives as well as most things in its class. It’s very good. And yet I can't love it. There are no glaring flaws or problems you’d have to learn your way around. You could buy one without false justifications, without the knowledge you were taking leave of your senses or risking a world of expense and despair.
It’s not a petrolhead’s car. Does that mean it’s not a proper Alfa?