27 February 2006

Alfa's triple triumph at Geneva

New Spider, Brera and 159 Sportwagon are a sight for sore eyes

Alfa Romeo Spider

It's triplets! And these three Alfa bambinos show the Italian firm knows how to wow the Geneva crowds with cars the public can buy.

The undoubted star of the Alfa stand is the Spider convertible.

Based on the same platform as the Brera coupe, which shares stand space with the Spider, the drop-top does away with the rear seats to create space for its folding fabric roof.

Sticking with a fabric roof allows the Spider to maintain decent boot space, roof up or down, which Alfa says is an essential part of the Spider's appeal as a practical everyday car and long-distance tourer.

The dash and seats are the same as in the Brera, which means plenty of space and comfort.

The engines are also the same as for the Brera, so the Spider will come with 2.2 and 3.2 V6 petrols, while a 1.9-litre turbodiesel is hotly tipped to join the range after the Spider's June launch in the UK.

Prices for the Spider will start at around £26,000 for the 2.2 model.

The fine-looking Brera coupe goes on sale in the UK in March with 2.2 and 3.2 V6 engines, and a 200bhp 2.4 turbodiesel version is also expected to go on sale around the same time.

The 2.2-litre petrol model starts the range for around £25,000 and uses front-wheel drive, while the 3.2 V6 employs Alfa's Q4 four-wheel-drive system to make the most of its 260bhp.

Also using four-wheel drive will be the 159 Sportwagon's top 3.2 V6 model.

Hot on the heels of the gorgeous 159 saloon, the Sportwagon is every bit as alluring and uses the same engines, so there's 1.9, 2.2 and 3.2 V6 petrols, and 1.9- and 2.4 litreturbodiesels.

The boot is more of a lifestyle statement than a load swallower, but the Sportwagon does offer more luggage capacity than the previous 156 version.

The Sportwagon comes to the UK in May and should cost around £1,000 more than the equivalent saloon, so expect prices to start at just under £21,000.

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