Posts Tagged ‘Alfa Romeo’

12 months is not a long time. Only yesterday, it seems, we were waltzing through the airport terminal in Geneva and turning left into the Palexpo to ogle the latest automotive eye-candy. And now it is 2015.

Last year was okay and kind of worth the trip but this year we were gagging to get there. Over 70  new models on display plus the inevitable bunch of interesting concept cars that never see the light of day. So on with the show.

With so much to see we’ll just focus on the cars that were of particular interest to us which means you can exclude most of the mass market offerings.

Cutting to the chase our show hero was the Koenigsegg Regera – ‘robotic’ body panels, 1500 hp, 0-60 mph in minus 2 seconds, brain-mashing top speed, everything about the car is mental. The car is from Sweden and is the antithesis of ABBA. It is Black Sabbath on acid. Everybody now go back to the drawing board.

Koenigsegg Regera

Next up is the Ford GT. Only 250 cars will be made and the launch date is some time in 2016. For a car that looks this good and performance will be up there with the best it is hard to believe that it will cost around £200k. Speculators and investors form an orderly queue now.

Ford GT

Aston Martin. They really are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The brand is bullet-proof, up there with Apple in terms of global recognition and Bond’s perennial favourite weapon of choice. The cars are drop-dead gorgeous and yet they struggle to persuade die-hard Porsche buyers to consider AM as a viable alternative. The GT3 (Aston Martin) is all sold-out – yep 100 cars gone in the blink of an eye without a single car being built so there are some real fans out there. The Vulcan, to be honest, does not look like an Aston Martin. It looks like it came from the planet Vulcan and driven by Mr Spock (RIP). Designed for those who have enough money to have a spare car for track days (at Paul Ricard not Donington) the detail of the car is truly impressive. The rear light assemblies are a work of art and deserve a place in the Louvre. Bravo Aston Martin for surprising all of us!

Aston Martin Vulcan

Yes the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is a concept but the car is real and very likely to be gunning for 911 customers in the very near future. The car on display was rotating gracefully while the crowds gawped and wiped the dribble from their mouths. The EXP is a truly lovely design and there is a little bit of Aston Martin in the profile. The interior is lovely too and you know they will sell zillions of them if they actually start making the car which we think they (VW) will. It is a no-brainer so all they have to do is come up with a sensible name for the car.

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6

If we all accept that the internal combustion engine will one day no longer exist but at the same time pray that we will not be driven around by a car made by Google there is a ray of hope in the form of fuel cell technology from nanoFlowcell AG. The Quantino F is a concept right now and maybe a little too avant-garde for mass market tastes but it bodes well for the future of green motoring. With a range of 1000 kms and a top speed of 200 kph we can all put away the razor blades – cars can survive without petrol.

Quantino F

Other highlights for us were the Alfa Romeo 4c Spider (prettier than the Coupe), Ferrari 488 (even more desirable than a 458), McLaren 675LT (they seem to going from strength to strength), Lamborghini Aventador SV (how can you make an Aventador even more terrifying?), Sergio by Pininfarina (not a game-changer but such a perfect design and future classic), Audi R8 (looks the same but then again doesn’t – if that makes any sense), Lotus (shouldn’t they be dead by now? The Evora and Exige still look damn good), Porsche 911 GT3 RS in orange (they couldn’t have picked a better colour), Porsche Cayman GT4 in yellow (they couldn’t have picked a better colour) and Renault Sport RS 01 (the bastard child of the Caterham/Renault love affair? At the right price this car will sell well).

There are even more exhibits that are probably worth a mention and we did manage to take a few shots of nice cars during our visit to the show so please take a look at our slideshow when you have time.

For now then we have stocked up on Toblerone, Swiss cheese and cuckoo clocks albeit with less Swiss Francs left than last year but roll on 2016 – not sure if it will be as interesting as this year though!

The Geneva Motor Show originally kicked off in 1905 and somehow it is hard to imagine what the event must have looked like back then considering that Ford, Mercedes, Renault and a handful of others were only just pioneering the car as a means of transport for all and sundry.

Somewhere the records might show exactly how many exhibitors were in attendance back then but we can only assume it would be a tiny number compared to the 200-odd that were showing their wares this year which marked the 84th time the event had been held.

Yes we know there are 109 years since 1905 but presumably the odd World War or two got in the way and much of the other political shenanigans that seemed to occupy most of the 20th century contributed to a few of the missing years.

Palexpo, where the event is held, is looking a bit tired and dog-eared these days but the convenience of almost falling off the plane steps into the exhibition centre is very appealing. And for those travelling the one-hour-plus flight from London Gatwick a visit to this particular motor show is a very palatable one indeed.

The smell of continental coffee and croissants is forever present as you walk through the arcade to get to the main entrance for Palexpo and the whiff of Emmental is a gentle reminder that you have arrived in pleasant Switzerland.

All of the accessory and parts suppliers are stuffed into Hall 7 which seems to go on forever until you reach the escalators for the main event on the upper levels. Not sure why the centre has three levels (not floors) because it didn’t appear to be built into the side of a mountain from the outside. Maybe they just like climbing steep things in Swiss land.

On to the cars and most of the main European players attend this event plus the big names from Korea and Japan. Surprisingly though only Qoros appeared to be representing China but gut-feel suggests that is merely the calm before the storm.

Many manufacturers pick Geneva for their first model launches but even this tradition seems to be a declining one. With the growth of new markets around the globe some manufacturers were referring to a ‘European Premiere’ rather than a ‘World Premiere’ for various models.

Wandering around the show and taking in all of the new models on display there was an underlying picture emerging. Cars, for the mass-market at least, are getting ugly. Almost all of the big guns had at least one model that had been subjected to a ‘make-over’ that quite frankly made us squirm. OK the look of a car is a very subjective one but when there are so many Frankensteins on show it prompts a few questions.

Is it the ever-pervasive EU with their daft regulations related to car-design that are having a detrimental affect? Has it become fashionable to be unattractive in the car world? Are the car designers on hallucinatory drugs? Sorry but we are not talking about the odd car here and there which suggests that a very broad-brush is being painted with for some reason or another.

It’s not even worth listing the culprits but you as the reader will decide in due course whether this might be true or not and besides there were enough stunners on show to distract us from the monsters.

Highlights of the show for The Car Spy? Well actually quite a lot but rather than bore you with the finer details we will summarise them for you as follows and follow that up with an album of over 200 images for you to digest. In fact so many shots were taken with the main camera that the battery died (that’s right – no spare with us) but the iPhone 5 made a great substitute that kept us going until the bitter end. So on with the show:-

KAHN – well-established UK make-over artists for premium brands but this year their stand focused on British prime beef from Land Rover in the form of Range Rovers and Defenders. The seriously sumptuous interiors in the Rangies are a sight to behold and the mean, wide-bodied Defenders look like they could scare off gargoyles.

DSCN2110DSCN2104

Mercedes Benz – The new S-Class looks sharp and svelte particularly in Coupe form and the C-Class also earned an extra look – much nicer with bigger wheels though. The model choice is becoming mind-bending with umpteen A’s and B’s too so good luck to anyone looking to buy into that category.

DSCN2112DSCN2114

BMW – the company has now pretty much used up the allocation of numbers from 1 to 8 with the addition of the 2-series and the expansion of the 4-series and again the model choice is dizzying to the head. Prettiest car in the range has to be the 6-series for us especially in Gran Coupe form but sadly the 4-series Gran Coupe looked a bit sterile by comparison. Maybe it was the colour choice for the stand but it just didn’t leave an impression.

DSCN2123DSCN2128

MINI – a car that is fast becoming a contradiction. It is no longer small or mini-like. It is huge. The new nose stretches the car and the Countryman looks as big as an Audi A3. It just doesn’t look cute anymore but the Clubman Concept looked pretty good. Again, not at all small but the proportions look right and if the final version looks similar it should be a winner.

DSCN2135DSCN2139

Morgan – a real antidote to all ‘modern cars’. The stand had a cutaway of one of the models showing the solid ash frame which has been used on Morgans since the beginning of time. Surely the EU will declare it as a fire hazard before long to finally remove from the world one of the few companies to still build a car by human hand using proper craftsmen skills.

DSCN2144DSCN2143

Mansory – Not always a bastion of good taste when it comes to gilding a lily but the metallic turquoise and satin silver Wraith on the stand would have made Rolls Royce proud. It sounds a bit blingy but somehow the colour combination worked very well with the ivory interior and the car deserved a few re-visits from us.

DSCN2152DSCN2154

Rolls Royce – seeing the ‘new’ Ghost up-close gave a chance to see that RR don’t believe in making radical changes to their cars which is a mighty relief amongst a sea of unnecessary nose-jobs. Previous Ghost owners can rest easy – you need (very) sharp eyes to spot the differences.

DSCN2163DSCN2164

Maserati – always a joy to see their cars and not a bad apple amongst them. Star of their stand was the Alfieri concept which proved that cars can still be beautiful. Please make that car Maserati and save us from mediocrity.

DSCN2166DSCN2167

Alfa Romeo – The 4c was much in evidence especially since the Spider is on its way and a white example took centre stage on their stand. Even prettier than the Coupe (without that slightly awkward kink around the B-pillar) it would be unfair to call it a mini-Ferrari but we will anyhow.

DSCN2176DSCN2173

RUF – how do you make a 911 go faster? Take it to the guys in Pfaffenhausen and they will work their magic to produce a Porsche that will embarrass most other Porsches. No real surprises on their stand this year apart from a canary yellow RCT which is basically a two-wheel-drive Turbo and in terms of power neatly parks itself between Porsche’s ‘basic’ Turbo and the Turbo S model. Alois Ruf also had his own personal Connaught Green 964-based RCT which sadly is not (and maybe never will be) for sale.

DSCN2190DSCN2187

Lexus – The RCF GT3. Seriously mental. Enough said. The LF-NX concept. Looks great. They won’t make it.

DSCN2200DSCN2206

Honda – Type R Concept. Just do it Honda and where is the NSX? We are getting very impatient.

DSCN2215DSCN2217

Renault  – A Twizy in Formula 1 guise. So mad-looking they would sell them by the bucket-load if the company accountants were put into solitary confinement.

DSCN2225DSCN2229

Skoda – Vision C concept. There was little bit of Audi A7 going on from certain angles but the Skoda version would be a hell of a lot cheaper to buy and probably one of the best-looking cars to come out of the Czech factory ever.

DSCN2236DSCN2238

Gumpert – a brave company that made a comeback from collapse a while back and while their outlandishness should be applauded it is hard to see how the cars will fit in with a new landscape of P1’s, 918’s and LaFerraris. Outdated is probably the word now. The ‘Explosion’ concept is pointless too quite frankly and totally at-odds with the image of Gumpert.

DSCN2241DSCN2242

Koenigsegg – same comments as Gumpert. In order to survive they need to attract customers away from the new-technology kids on the block but seemingly some people must be buying them.

DSCN2248IMG_0685

Audi – The new TT is definitely better-looking than the out-going model. There are shades of the original model in the design which is hard to pin-down in any particular aspect but the new car looks good from every angle. The more powerful versions will also increase desirability. An original RS2 Avant was also featured on the stand which looked a tad old-fashioned next to the current generation RS4 but has nonetheless confirmed its classic status in the history books.

DSCN2251IMG_0639

Porsche – where was the 918? Not invited to Geneva apparently but the 919 on the stand attracted a big enough crowd anyway. The 911 Targa looks great in the flesh and should be far more popular than Targa models of old.

IMG_0641IMG_0645

Lamborghini – The Huracan was the car hogging the spotlight on the stand and rightly so too. Not as dramatic-looking as the Aventador but a car that will be purchased surely by looks alone. This car will make buying a 458 a much harder decision from now on. Nice choice of colours on the stand too.

IMG_0650IMG_0646

Zonda – the maddest, baddest car-maker of them all. Carry on as usual guys.

IMG_0656IMG_0660

Touring – the Disco Volante (or Flying Saucer) just makes you want to stare at it all of the time. A strange but intriguing shape that draws the eye around the car and although on this outing the car was painted in a metallic green with gold detailing it was as stunning as ever. It is certainly a design that will be talked about for years to come.

IMG_0682IMG_0683

McLaren – the 650S was having its first public showing and in spite of the presence of an ice-blue P1 on the stand it was pulling its fair share of attention. A curious mix of (almost) P1 front-end and (slightly updated) 12c rear-end the car is tipped to be a big seller for the company. Can’t help feeling that the Spider version pulls it off better than the Coupe – the 12c stays in production by the way.

IMG_0665IMG_0672

Subaru – the VIZIV2 concept showed that the designers in the back-office haven’t completely lost their way with some pretty dull shapes that have come out of the factory over the past couple of years. Hopefully this concept will point them back in the right direction.

IMG_0700IMG_0705

Aston Martin – just like Maserati the company still manages to pull a crowd with some of the prettiest sports cars and GT’s available. No big announcements from the company apart from a range of bespoke options for all of the models using the moniker ‘Q’. Might as well milk the Bond connection for all it is worth.

IMG_0714IMG_0709

Jaguar – probably the loudest stand at the show with a huge screen presenting a short film full of expensive actors, Union Jacks and loud, growly V8’s. One thing Jaguar no longer is and that is understated. The F-Type Coupe of course featured star-billing and deservedly so – it is a very handsome car indeed and could easily hold a candle to the Astons only a spitting distance away. The new XFR-S Sportwagon made an appearance in very un-Jaguar bright blue but if that is where the company thinks its market is then who are we to argue? After all they are still the profitable car-maker in the world.

IMG_0721IMG_0719

There were dozens of other smaller exhibits worth a mention too but it’s time for a glass of wine and some Swiss cheese now. Ah yes, they also make very nice chocolate too so we’ll have some of that for desserts. In the meantime enjoy our album of images from the show.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The New Alfa Romeo 4C

Posted: February 12, 2013 by The Car Spy in Alfa Romeo, New Cars, New Models
Tags: , , , ,

Alfa Romeo is getting ready to launch its new mid-engined sports car the 4C at the forthcoming Geneva Show and information from the company’s Press Release today highlights the following features of the new car:-

  • The engine will be a new all-aluminium petrol 4 cylinder 1750 Turbo – power as yet undisclosed
  • Two seats, rear-wheel-drive
  • Chassis constructed in carbon fibre to allow a power to weight ration of less than 4 kgs per horsepower
  • Compact body design less than 4 metres in length
  • Alfa TCT automatic twin dry clutch transmission
  • New Alfa DNA selector with four settings – Dynamic, Natural, All Weather and Race

Pricing is still to be confirmed by the company as are the anticipated delivery lead times although we would expect the car to be in the showrooms well before the end of 2013.

Rumours are that the company will only be producing 400 of the new 4C which would be a shame because just like the 8C before it the new car may well be consigned to the history books as a on-off limited edition from Alfa Romeo. Word is that the car will cost no more than £50,000 which will pitch it right at the Cayman, Boxster, Elise and Evora segment of the market.

Typically the design cues are all Alfa Romeo and there will be no mistaking this car’s place of birth although we can’t help noticing a hint of the Lotus Evora from the A-pillar of the similarly raked windscreen to the air-intakes to the rear of the doors. Maybe it has something to do with the mid-engined layout. Anyway it sure is a pretty car and we cant wait to get our hands on one.

To be kept informed of the new Alfa Romeo 4C give The Car Spy a call on 01732 760699 or email sales@thecarspy.net

The Alfa Romeo SZ is an enigma. The marmite of all cars. A love or hate motor car. We happen to love it.

This car was produced in 1989 which means it was actually designed from an idea in a designer’s head around five years earlier. That means that as a concept it is at least 27 years old which is astonishing for a car that if it were launched at Geneva today would blow everything else into the weeds.

The Alfa Romeo SZ (Sprint Zagato) or ES-30 (Experimental Sportscar 3.0 litre) is a limited production sports car that was built between 1989 and 1991 in partnership with Zagato, Alfa Romeo and Fiat. A total of 1036 SV’s were produced which is a shame because Alfa quite likely could have sold an awful lot more. The fact that it didn’t makes it that much more desirable.

It was unveiled as the ES-30 in 1989 Geneva Motor Show as a prototype by Zagato and although the car was mainly built by them they had no involvement in the mechanical architecture.

Robert Opron of the Fiat design studio was responsible for the initial sketches while Antonio Castellana was largely responsible for the final styling details and interior. Only the ‘Z’ logo of Zagato was kept. The car had unusual headlights positioned in a trio on each side – a styling used more subtly on later Alfa Romeos which still look very cool today

Mechanically and engine-wise the car was based on the Alfa Romeo 75 and SV production was carried out by Zagato near the Alfa factory in Arese. The thermoplastic injection moulded composite body panels were produced by Carplast in Italy and Stratime Cappelo Systems in France.

The SZ was originally equipped with Pirelli P Zero tyres (front 205/55 ZR 16, rear 225/50 ZR 16) and is able to sustain over 1.1 G in cornering. Some drivers have measured a cornering force of 1.4 G which is pretty good even by the standards of 2012 and most reviewers rated the car as a top performer for its handling abilities.

The powerplant in the SZ is the venerable 3.0 light alloy V6 12V which was tuned by Alfa’s motor sport department Alfa Corse. The engine’s compression ratio was enlarged to 10:1, the double overhead camshafts received a sharper cam profile and the Bosch Motronic engine management system was reprogrammed. This meant the maximum power output was raised by at least 20 hp to 210 hp @ 6200 rpm and maximum torque was stated as 245 Nm @ 4500 rpm.

The rear wheel drive SZ had a top speed of at least 245 kph and a zero to 100 kph time of around 7 seconds.  Not exactly blistering by today’s standards but quick enough in the real world. The looks and the noise more than compensate.

So if you eventually fall in love with the SZ the next problem you face is trying to find one because there aren’t that many around to choose from. Don’t get fussy about colours either because they came only in red with a grey roof and a tan interior which is probably the best colour combination you could choose for the SZ anyhow.

However, we do know of a privately owned example with only 7000 miles on the clock that is looking for a new home. This is car number 410 built in 1991 that is original and has covered 7000 miles with two owners. Offers in excess of £32000 are invited for this stunning car. See the images in the slide show below.

For further details please call The Car Spy on 01732 760699 or email sales@thecarspy.net

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finished in white with black upholstery, carpets and hood this very rare and particularly pretty 1956 Giulietta Spider is fitted with a 1290cc Veloce engine and five speed gearbox and twin Weber carburettors.

This delightful car was delivered new in November 1956 to Hoffmans in New York and returned to Europe in 1988. It received a full restoration between 1989 and 1995 in which, according to a listing in the file, every component was restored or replaced and which cost around £20,000.

This Alfa has not been used much in recent years and so is having a gentle re-commission in the workshop. It remains in excellent condition with some minor marks on the paintwork, some chrome deterioration on the grille and scuffed seat backs are the main areas requiring attention.

A special sports car which runs and drives beautifully. Can you imagine the reaction to this car when it was launched in the 1950’s? With such an advanced design it must have looked like a spaceship compared to similar cars of the time! Offered on sale at £27995.

P.S. Have you seen the BBC2 series ‘Two Greedy Italians’? Well the stars of the show are driving a simlar car on a gastronomic tour of Italy and the Alfa looks stunning in its own back yard! Check it out.

Click here for a slide show of over 20 images

For further information please call us on 01474 854490 or email sales@thecarspy.net

Click here for Flickr Slide Show

The Alfa Romeo 8C Spider is a beautiful car, the type that makes you just gawp, stare and dribble for long periods. A troupe of naked dancers would not avert your eyes from this car’s glorious curves. It will be remembered as an all-time great from Alfa which is wherein lies the source of our angst.

OK Alfa have produced some pretty decent looking cars over the years and a few duds too – how about the 1980’s Arna based on a Nissan Cherry? The 8C however, is an iconic piece of automotive design and yet they decided to only produce 500 each of the Coupe and the Spider. They built over 50,000 of the dreadful Arna for goodness sake! 

Presumably there is method in their madness while in the meantime every 8C owner can sit pretty smug knowing that there are only 499 other similar works of art out there for posterity. So how about the other numbers then?

Well for starters it has a 4.7 litre V8 lump sprinkled with Ferrari-dust that musters up a rampant 450 horses. This gets the 8C to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds and allows for a top speed of around 180 mph. So it’s fast then. But then it is the sort of car that looks like it’s going fast even when it is standing still. Nice.

We’ve recently had the chance to photograph a gorgeous Competizione Red 8C Spider which belongs to somebody who has now decided to sell his pride and joy. This stunning 2010 8C Spider which has covered less than 500 miles is featured on our website and can be viewed by clicking here.

Click here for a slideshow of over 20 images!

For further details please give us a call on ++44 (0)1474 854490 or email sales@thecarspy.net

Wolfgang Egger. He’s the one to blame. It’s his fault for designing a car you would want to live in after selling your house. Your partner would understand and the kids of course. Especially if it was a red one. They look so damn good in that colour. Why is it that Ferrari and Alfa have a particular affinity with the fiery hue? Mind you, the 8C can also be painted black or yellow and it still looks totally brilliant! The problem is that only 500 of these stunners will be leaving Modena and they are getting snapped-up like chicken drumsticks in a pool of crocodiles. Allocations have been made on a country-by-country basis and here in the UK we understand that no more than 41 examples will be available. For the record this car can scorch to 60 mph in 4 seconds and where allowed (i.e. nowhere except a racetrack) will max out at 180 mph. This is all down to a modifed version of Maserati’s V8 producing 450 galloping stallions of pulling power (GSPP) matched to a lightning-fast pair of paddle-shift controls located behind the steering-wheel. Oh and it’s made of carbon-fibre. Nice one Wolfgang! By the way, this gentleman is now head of design at Audi. The future looks bright at Ingolstadt. In the meantime if you want to get your hands on an Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione give us a call on ++44 (0)1474 854490. The car can still be specifed as you wish but you will need to move quickly to jump the queue for this future collector’s piece.