Everyone wants a bargin.
Otherwise there would be no Macro, Tesco value, or Vauxhall.
So when daydreaming of Italian hypercars such as Lambo’s and Zondas (notice I didn’t say Ferrari) and you happen upon a 200bhp+ Italian coupe, what should stop you?
Well I’m lucky enough to have 2 of the Italian beauties currently residing on our drive.
First off a Fiat coupe turbo 20v. Styled by the pen of ‘flame surfacing’ Chris jingle jangle Bangle the car is like marmite. Either you love it or hate it.
But you cannot argue that it invokes some passion within you.
So already its plan is working, its getting under your skin.
Opening the hidden handles on the door pillars reveals an Italian interior. You know the sort, beautiful, stylish and about as well constructed as the theory of religion.
Swoops of tan leather and a very neat body colour dash trim make you feel like you’re in something special. The fisher price door handles do not.
Twist the key and the 20v inline 5 cylinder catches with awkward idle, with hints of group b Quattro about it.
The gearstick throw is notchy, but doesn’t impede proceedings as you move off.
Plant the throttle though and any concerns of the quality of the Christmas cracker stitches are pushed to the headrest.
0-60 in 6.5 doesn’t do the 220bhp car justice.
As the 25-60mph seems to happen in 2 seconds. Such is the kick of the turbo.
Rather uncouth for such a pretty car to hit you soo hard and in one big lump, that can cause problems modulating corners.
But it is rather addictive.
Brakes are the same Brembo Calipers as the Alfa, and have a slightly vague feel to them, but work well when needed.
The ride is soft but comforting, which indicates good damping, with minimal body roll.
At £2.5k for a tatty 20v the cars are well worth a look, but should they really be half the price of the bigger brother, the Alfa GTV.
Styled by Pininferina the car looks odd at best with the large slice rising to the flanks adding to its drama.
This is not going to be confused with a focus.
No door handles here, just a button, with releases the door enough to put your fingers down the beautifully crafted slot, to open the door.
Inside is the same flair and style, but this time material have been chosen that might actually outlast the warranty.
Typically as with the coupe, the seating is all wrong (Italians having one arm and one leg longer than the other apparently). Add to this the Momo leather park bench seat support, and already you’re disappointed.
However twist the bright red key and the big 3.0 24v V6 catches into a menacing deep tickover.
Nothing, but nothing sounds like an Italian V6.
Except perhaps the orgasm calls of Jessica Alba.
The V6 is soo progressive and soo smooth, that next to the fireworks of the Turbo, it almost feels tame.
But the car is so easy to modulate, so easy to push that’s its easier to hustle.
Even if the seat cause you to keep the windows up for fear of falling out.
At £4k for the Alfa its almost twice that of a fiat coupe.
It offers less rear legroom, a small padded shoe box for a boot. Its more thirsty and has complicated suspension that cannibals itself every 3 miles.
But this car makes you feel special.
The noise the looks and the special glow it leaves cannot be bought.
So to summarise, if you fancy a weekend floosie, buy the alfa.
It will steal your money, make you cry and make your friends jealous.
The fiat will do 90% of the above, but will also make your tea and wash your socks.
Its not a drivers car. its an owners car. BIG difference.