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Alfa Romeo 147 GTA

Broadcast dates : 17th April 2005
23rd April 2005

The Alfa Romeo 147 GTA is fitted with electronic traction control and skid assist that allows the driver a fair amount of latitude before it kicks in.

Hendrik was not going for quick lap times. He was deliberately pitching the Alfa into corners, upsetting the carís balance to see how it would react.

He was interested to discover how quickly the tail would step out if the driver lifted off the throttle in mid-corner.

Its quick reaction to driver inputs make it a joy to drive hard.

The dual-tone finish on our test car lifted the mood of the interior.

Now a few years into its life-cycle, the basic 147 cabin retains its sporty, integrated feel, especially with the extra GTA kit.

Audio volume controls on the thick, leather-covered steering wheel are handy, and the three-dial dash with GTA-specific gauges has a classic look.

The rear passengers may not enjoy the high-backed front sports seats, but for the driver they provide much-needed support in fast cornering.

In the interests of weight-saving, a quick-fix puncture kit replaces the traditional spare wheel.

Also to save weight, the GTA is only offered as a three-door, but rear passenger and luggage room is acceptable.
More than anything, though, the Alfa GTA is about driving, enjoying the Italian V6 soul music and the taut chassis.

At stops from a hundred kilometres per hour, the anti-dive geometry kept the nose quite even, despite Hendrik climbing all over the brake pedal. ABS prevents lock-up, but we felt the brake pads may have been abused in previous tests of the car.

Apart from its performance, the GTA is all about detailing and thereís plenty to savour on this special Italian job.

The 17-inch alloy wheels have fat, super-low-profile rubber, and the wheel-arches have been widened to accommodate them.

Extra air intakes flank the heart-shaped grille, these being covered in steel mesh. The mesh-motif extends to the rear of the car, surrounding a pair of big-bore tail pipes.

And what a sound those pipes make!

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