The Beauty or the Beast?

In my life I have never driven an Alfa Romeo.

Ever since the 90’s Alfa has been teasing us with hints that it will soon be coming out with the most beautiful car ever. But it made us wait. And wait. Then, eventually in 2006, the covers came off the Alfa Romeo Brera and finally we had it. For four years, Alfa produced its masterpiece, peddling it for around £30,000. But Alfa Romeo’s world seemed to turn upside down and a new design direction resulted in the very different Mito and Giulietta models. The Brera was just too lovely to last. The Company’s more recent launch of the 4C attempted to recapture some of the lost flair of historic Alfa models but, for me, the beauty was in the Brera.

Recently, I’ve been having trouble with my Land Rover Discovery. I’ve had it for just over a year and it’s a lovely big, comfortable beast that was spec’d to the hilt by its first owner and, a few owners down the line, I picked it up for a reasonable price from a nice chap in Aberdeen. However, several thousand pounds of repairs later, I’m beginning to tire of having to switch it off and on again to get from Reverse gear into Drive.

As much as I love the rest of it, it has been too unreliable to serve the purpose I originally bought it for (towing) and I now struggle to justify the expense and inconvenience it causes me.

My problem is, however, that the only car in the world I want to replace it with, is the Alfa Romeo Brera.

You see, Alfa has the unfortunate reputation for making unreliable cars. Beautiful cars, yes, but unreliable. Only last week, a friend of mine had to swerve on the motorway to avoid colliding with an Alfa 166 driver, whose bonnet had suddenly opened and flipped back onto the windscreen.

With the Brera being out of production for a few years, I certainly can’t buy a brand new one, so any that I do buy will probably only be for sale because the last owner ran out of money trying to fix it. My driveway might look better with an Alfa on it, but I fear, like my Land-Rover, it may spend more time at the menders than outside my home. Really the decision comes down to which would have lower repair costs. The Landy or the Alfa?

I suppose I could look at more reliable cars like the fantastic Vauxhall Astra GTC or the sharp looking VW Scirocco but neither of these cars makes me go “oooh” when I see them in traffic.

That’s what the Alfa Brera does, and I love a car that sparks an emotional response. Sadly, I feel that Frustration and Disappointment are among the emotions I’d experience as an Alfa owner.

But maybe a test drive won’t hurt. I’ll keep you posted.

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