Alfa's drop-dead gorgeous drop-top

IAIN DOOLEY checks out Alfa Romeo's eye-catching drop-top Spider.Engines - For all its flamboyant looks, the Brera Spider's engine range is a modest one.

IAIN DOOLEY checks out Alfa Romeo's eye-catching drop-top Spider.

Engines - For all its flamboyant looks, the Brera Spider's engine range is a modest one. With one four and six-pot petrol unit plus a five-cylinder diesel, the pretty Alfa's trio of engines offers something for everyone. The 2.2 petrol demands to be revved hard, the V6 always howls and the diesel consumes the least amount of fuel.

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Exterior - Typically dramatic in true Alfa style, the drop-top Brera delivers a visual experience unmatched by anything else in its class. The coupe was launched to rave reviews and the Spider is one of those few cars capable of

turning heads in today's jaded society.

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Interior - No less dramatic than its exterior, the Brera Spider's cabin presents front seat occupants with a visual feast of acres of dials, a fuss-free fascia and sumptuous seats. The cabin's modest dimensions only add to the intimate ambience.

Driving - Unlike the stuff produced by the German opposition, the Brera range isn't quite up to 'Ultimate Driving Machine' standards. No matter, because the Alfa is all about cruising around and being seen. The engines are fantastically refined, while the snug cabin adds an interesting feeling of being at one with the car when on the move.

Ownership - It might not be the most spacious but, for those

willing to compromise, there's enough space for some shopping or luggage for a weekend away. Rear visibility isn't brilliant, although after some parking practice you'll be fine.

What to look for - Alfa owners are a good bunch, which is why it's rare to find a car that's been abused. Brera owners are likely to take this to a higher level, what with the car's exclusive aura. That said, kerbed wheels and parking dents should be avoided, while a full history and faultless test drive are essential.

Model history - 2007, Alfa Romeo launches drop-top version of its stylish Brera - the Spider.

Offering same levels of equipment plus familiar Brera engine line-up.

Reasons to buy - Exclusivity, looks, cabin design, engines.

Reasons to beware - Not a driver's car, snug cabin, driving position won't suit everyone.

Pick of the range - Spider 2.2 JTS.

What to pay - 2007 07 �16,050; 2007 57 �16,550; 2008 08 �18,025; 2009 58 �19,150; 2009 09 �19,825; 2009 59 �20,725. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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