Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Interesting but full of rubbish

The Mi.To looks great, and is at long last the right size: ie, not a luxo-barge. There's an interesting read behind this link:Martinelli left F1 at the end of 2006, specifically to head up Fiat’s engine department. As such, he’s had a winning hand in Alfa Romeo’s new peach of a petrol plant, a lively lag-less little 16-valve 1.4-litre turbo that also does duty in the Fiat Grande Punto and Bravo, albeit with 4 kW less than Alfa’s 114.

Just beware, it's full of idle rubbish like: Let’s face it: Alfa is not what it used to be. With the exception of the 159, 156, Giulietta and a handful of Quadrifoglio or GTA models, the brand has sadly been scarred over the last 30 years by a long and steady decline.

Obviously not a fan of the amazing Alfasud sedan, ti and Sprint Veloce, the wolf-in-sheep's clothing Alfetta sedan, the Alfetta GT and GTV, the GTV6, the lovely Nuovo Giulietta, the 75 (AKA Milano), the 33ti or almost anything since! OK, the ARNA was a bit sad, and the 145 wasn't all that it could have been, but honestly...! ALFA Romeo must surely wonder what they have to do... isn't the latest crop, the 147, 156, 159 and Brera enough?

Apparently not. Most shocking of all was to find that Alfa had gone soft since its brief mid-’90s renaissance. Steering got dopey, gearchanges sloppy and ride mushy.. "Dopey" steering must refer to the 147's turning circle, not sure what else it could be. Sloppy gearchanges? Has this guy driven a rear-transmission Alfa? That is sloppy. And a mushy ride? Alfas soak up the bumps, and roll. Not as bad a French car, but obviously so. Only the hardened-edge of the GTAs truly eliminates the bodyroll and high-speed comfort of the classic Alfa. Yet they still run fast and corner hard. That is the essence of it.

I can remember swapping from a stiff-as-a-post Ford Escort with "Rally Pack" to a stock 1982 Giulietta and being amazed at the body roll. It put me off until I realised I was going 5-10kmh faster around sharp corners in the dry, twice that in the wet -and much faster again over bumpy roads that I had previously had to slow down on... simply a better suspension setup.

Yet most people when given a car to drive are clots and clods with no finesse and can't see or feel what they have... which is why we shouldn't trust anyone else's opinion, certainly not mine, just your own.

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