Alfa Romeo Brera: PH Used Buying Guide

When talk turns to concept cars that made it into production relatively unscathed, the usual candidates are the Audi TT and Porsche Boxster. Yet the Alfa Romeo Brera arrived in 2005 with few exterior visual changes from the 2002 concept other than normal doors in place of the show car's scissor items.

The Brera caused quite a stir thanks to its looks, promising all of the Alfa pizzazz with seating for four. It might have been a bit later to the coupe market than the likes of the Mazda RX-8 and TT, but you couldn't fault its style. It was also keenly priced from a shade under £25,000 for the entry-point 2.2-litre petrol engine with 185hp.

Keener drivers would be more drawn to the 3.2-litre V6 version that boasted 260hp and four-wheel drive as standard. A 0-60mph time of 6.8 seconds wasn't quite as exciting as the appearance of the car or the noise from under the bonnet, but there was some compensation in the Brera being better built than previous Alfas. While some will scoff that isn't very hard to achieve, specialists reckon the Brera is very durable.

Recognising the need to attract company car drivers, Alfa Romeo also offered its new coupe with a turbodiesel engine, though it couldn't help itself but fit the five-cylinder 2.4-litre JTD unit. With 200hp and 295lb ft of torque, it was brisk rather than outright fast, though 41.5mpg combined economy was decidedly average next to a BMW 320d coupe.

To answer some complaints about the handling being too staid, Alfa Romeo turned to Prodrive for help and launched the S versions in 2008. With lighter, stiffer suspension, sports exhaust and 19-inch alloy wheels as standard, it turned the Brera into the car it should have been from launch. These models remain the most sought after now.

2010 rung the changes for the Brera range when Alfa introduced a front-wheel drive V6 model. However, the big news lay elsewhere with the arrival of the 1750 TBi engine. It came with 200hp, direct injection and a turbo to take the Brera from 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds and without the nose-heavy handling of the V6. It could even turn in an average of 34.9mpg to make it the best of the bunch then and now.

At the same time, the 2.4 diesel was dropped in favour of the 2.0-litre JTD M with 170hp and 266lb ft of torque, which was more than the V6 could muster. The 51.4mpg fuel economy made the Brera much more appealing as an everyday prospect, while in-gear performance was also strong enough to live with the sporty looks.

The 2.4-litre turbodiesel is the least desirable Brera in today's market and you can find reasonable examples from £3,000. Following that is the 2.2-litre petrol that starts at around £3,500, while a well cared for V6 is likely to cost from £6,000. Finding a 1750 TBi or 2.0 JTD M will be your biggest problem as few were sold and owners now tend to hang on to them. Expect to pay from £6,000 for either.

Inspired? Search used Alfa Romeo Breras for sale

Alfa Romeo Brera: Common Problems and Faults

Bodywork and interior

Cars painted red seem more prone to stone chips than other hues, so inspect the bonnet, front bumper and wings.

Look for signs of rust on the front subframe where the undertray sits close to it.

Electric windows can become erratic, but can be reset by holding the button for 10 seconds, winding the window up and then holding the button for another 10 seconds.Rear seats are cramped, but later cars have front seats with a reprofiled back to give more space for rear occupants' knees.

Dash trim is easily scratched by other keys on the ignition key's fob.

Engine and transmission

Diesel engine has a cambelt that Alfa says should be changed at 90,000 miles, However, the water pump can seize before that, so best to change belt and pump at 60,000 miles.

Timing chains in the petrol engines can stretch, so budget between £750 and £1,000 for a replacement.

Diesel engine's inlet manifold valve cans stick.

The oil filter on the 2.2 JTS engine can become clogged with sludge that causes it to collapse. Specialists recommend changing the filter at 12,000-mile intervals.

Bearings fail in the petrol cars' GM-sourced manual gearbox.

Suspension and steering

Steering racks fail, so check front tyres for uneven wear and listen for knocks from the front end. These symptoms could also point to worn ball joints or front wishbones bushes, which are a cheaper and easier fix.

Broken springs are common. Rear wheel lower hub bushes wear, so look for uneven tread wear on the tyres.

Wheels, tyres and brakes

Check for uneven tyre wear that points to worn suspension bushes. A full geometry set-up is worthwhile on any Brera you buy.

Specification: Alfa Romeo Brera
Engine 1,742/2,198/3,195/1,956/2,387cc 4/5 inline/V6
Transmission 6-speed man/auto
Power (hp) 200/185/260/170/200@5,000/6,500
Torque (lb ft) 236/170/237/266/295@1,400/4,500
MPG 34.9/30.1/24.6/51.4/41.5
CO2 189/218/266/145/197g/km
Price new: from £24,995
Price now: £3,000 upwards

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Comments (62) Join the discussion on the forum

  • Paddy78 14 Jun 2018

    I lusted after one of these before I bought my 350Z about 7 years ago. They seemed good value for money and look absolutely stunning. I couldn't get over how slow the V6 seemed though considering that is wasn't any more efficient or cheaper than the alternatives. I know that 0-60 times are not what this car is about, but to me a V6 coupe should have a bit more shove.

  • GTEYE 14 Jun 2018

    As I recall, the problem with the Brera and the Spider was weight - they were too heavy which blunted the performance, and ecomomy.

    A pity, as a decently specified Spider is still a stunning looking car, more so than the Brera IMHO, which always looked a bit bulky from the rear 3/4 angle.

  • court 14 Jun 2018

    Shame the TBi is so rare as it turned up late in the model cycle. HML puts the amount at 65 Breras and 38 Spiders.

  • JMF894 14 Jun 2018

    Lovely looks, too much weight. I would also suggest they are more a 2+2 than a 4 seater!

  • RicksAlfas 14 Jun 2018

    I had an early 2.4. Silver with blue and tobacco leather. Thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a real grand tourer - comfortable and long legged. It was not a pointy, darty sportscar, but it never set out to be one.

    One very peculiar problem I had with it - there had to be at least one didn't there?! The exhausts got unbelievably hot when they did a DPF regeneration and it melted the plastic valance under the tailpipes. I had an interesting discussion with Alfa who "weren't sure if it was a warranty job". biggrin

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