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Alfa fans have been a bit disappointed that the Italian automaker reportedly decided to push back the debut of the highly anticipated upcoming Junior model past the upcoming Geneva Motor Show, and Bertone's unveiling of the BAT 11 concept remains up in the air, but just the same, Alfa Romeo will have plenty to show us next week. In addition to debuting the production – and we use that term loosely, considering only 500 will be made – version of the 8C Spider, Alfa will be unveiling updated versions of its unspeakably gorgeous Brera and Spider models.
Thankfully, the Italians know better than to attempt improving on a masterpiece, so Alfa hasn't messed with the award-winning design to any great extent. The wheels, brake calipers and suspension components have been replaced with lighter-weight aluminum versions, which should help address the cars' lamentably underwhelming performance relative to its design by taking a chunk out of its unsprung weight. The subtle changes continue inside, where redesigned seats offer a sportier and more ergonomic driving position, another drawback often reported on the first-generation model. The dashboard has been updated as well to integrate a new dual-zone climate control system and a new sat-nav unit. Meanwhile, underhood, a new 185hp 2.2-liter four joins the 260hp 3.2-liter six and 210hp 2.4-liter JTDM turbodiesel, mater to a variety of six-speed transmissions in various degrees of automation. All in all, Alfa seems to be addressing some of the shortcomings of its most head-turning standard-production models, and has hopefully found a new sweet spot. Check out the press release after the jump for all the details on the 2008 Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider, and the galleries below for images inside and out.
[Source: Alfa Romeo]
Alfa Brera MY 08 and Alfa Spider MY 08
The new Alfa Spider and Alfa Brera models offer the public a greater optimized range and significant interior improvements in the fields of comfort and on-board well-being. To render the cars even more beautiful, some new aesthetic touches have been introduced, such as the new chassis colour Ice White and a 18" spoked wheel with a sporty dark finish.
The greatest change though is in the driving compartments which are even more welcoming and sophisticated, thanks to the use of high-quality materials and innovative solutions. For example, the black interior (from roof to carpet) confers a strong sporty feel to the vehicle. A feel strengthened by the introduction of new front seats (introduced to the Alfa Brera MY 08 also) in a "sporty" arrangement which offer a more ergonomic holding for increased driving pleasure and comfort. Among other things, the electronic seats have a new button which simplifies the back adjustment. To further improve on-board comfort, at the centre of the dashboard we find the integrated satellite navigation system, and all the commands for dual-zone climate control. Carried out in a refined design, from today the displays have a more immediate and intuitive graphical interface, as well as a new arrangement of dials for climate control.
Changes have also been made to the painting on the dash, control panel and sporty steering-wheel, so conferring a plucky look to the entire body. This does not detract in any way from the special elegance that has always distinguished these two vehicles. The inserts in the dashboard and door panel, as well as the handle and opening lever are in a new metallic paint. At the same time, the radio display, gearshift and steering-wheel are made in high-quality material such as carbon-fibre or aluminium. The interior furnishings are available in a new soft and black material with metallic glints and two types of upholstery: Pelle Frau and the prized Poltrona Frau, characterized by the unique and soft comfort, available in black, leather and red-purple. The leather upholstery on the seats can be matched to the dashboard and panels, which are lined in Frau leather with sporty stitchings in tune with the seats.
The interior shows off sporty pedals lined in aluminium, externally the rear logo si fitted with a "push" system for an immediate and easy opening of the trunk. The rear and front brake calipers are in red aluminium.
Lastly, the optimization of the 2008 range foresees a unique rich set of arrangements. These include: VDC, 7 airbags, dual-zone climate control, radio commands on the driving-wheel, cruise control and 17" alloy wheels. The range of optionals on offer is also broad: xenon headlights, 18" or 19" alloy wheels, infomobility services with commands on the steering wheel, Hi-Fi Bose®sound system, Blue&Me, Blue&Me Nav, CD-changer and a sensor to alert insufficient tyre pressure.
Further changes in the 2008 range, is the optimization of the model structure, for the improvement of comfort and dynamism. For example, in comparison to previous models the alloy wheels have been lightened via optimization of the properties of aluminium alloy. For larger dimensions, "flow-forming" technology has been used. The front suspension brackets has been made in aluminium. In the same manner, the stabilizing bar is of the tubular kind, whilst the front-brake calipers (on the 4-cylinder models) are in mono-block aluminium. All these design changes have reduced the total weight of the vehicle by several kilos.
The heart and real strength of every Alfa model is the engine. Beneath the beautiful design and feisty personality, both the Alfa Brera and Alfa Spider are fitted with advanced and excellent motors of outstanding performance: the two "petrol" JTS (2.2 with 185 Cv and 3.2 V6 with 260 CV) direct injection engines are both mated to an automatic 6-speed gearshift. Also on offer, the automatic Q-Tronic shift which is exclusive to the 3,2 litre, whilst the self-shifting Selespeed is available for the 2,2 litre models. In addition, the two Alfa Romeo models offer a 2.4 JTDM 20v, the plucky Multijet turbodiesel with two power ranges: 210 CV (mated to an automatic 6-speed gearshift) and 200 CV (offered with Q-Tronic).
As well as the "Alfa Romeo temperament" provided by the engines, the two new cars guarantee excellent dynamic performances, thanks to the high wishbone front suspensions and Multilink in the rear. The Alfa Brera MY 08 and Alfa Spider MY 08 offer the chance to have the 3.2 litre version, with only front traction, allowing a top speed of 250 km/h.
In terms of safety, the Alfa Brera MY 08 and Alfa Spider MY 08 have many innovative electronic instruments for dynamic control of the car's behaviour (from braking to traction). They are implemented to raise yet further the dynamic limits, hence not intrusively for the driver, but all to the advantage of safety. The use of these gadgets has been studied with aim of improving as much as possible driving pleasure. It's in this arena that the brand new "Electronic Q2" system is fitted to the entire range of the Brera MY 08 and Spider MY 08 models.
Both the new Alfa Romeo models become true reference points in their sector. Thanks primarily to the numerous renewals which have been listed up to now, as well as the different features which distinguish the two vehicles. The new Alfa Brera MY 08 is a coupè of great prestige, that arouses strong emotions, guaranteeing the greatest driving pleasure, drawing inspiration from the brand name's historical legacy in this field. One has only to remember the 1900 SS, Giulietta Sprint, Alfetta and the Giulia Sprint GT.
However, within the Alfa Romeo tradition, the Spider has always been in high-relief, representing the "free and exciting" expression of cars. It's in this spirit that the Alfa Spider MY 2008 renews itself, as the natural evolution of Spider's developed by Alfa Romeo in it's long history. A confirmation of the Spider's "essential and simple" character, united to the technological superiority that distinguishes the "new Alfa generation".