Attractive styling, great temperament and outstanding automotive engineering: but also top-quality interiors and finish complemented by an ultra-comprehensive electronic and telematic package. These are the distinguishing features that underpin the success of the Alfa 147.
Now imagine an Alfa 147 that maintains these attributes but also offers better performance, better braking capacity and the dynamic performance of a racing car. Imagine the GTA version.This aptly-chosen name identifies a range of vehicles that constitute the absolute quintessence of Brand sporting values. Models with a spirit that harks back to a great tradition of races and victories, coupled with a highly sophisticated, up-to-date engine and mechanical specification.
Today, a few short months after the launch of the 156 GTA and Sportwagon GTA, we welcome the Alfa 147 to the same family: the new car extends the product range of this type of car into a segment typified by a higher proportion of women and young people.The model has been produced with the aim of creating an everyday car that can still offer its driver race-track performance and sensation under the right circumstances. For this reason, apart from a few tweaks to add dynamism and aggression, the body of the Alfa 147 GTA retains the original vehicle’s acclaimed cool, stylish lines. But everything else has been radically changed.
The engine has been swapped for a sizzling 3.2 V6 24v unit. The suspension geometry and settings have been altered. And VDC – a highly sophisticated vehicle dynamic control system – has been added as standard.
The result is a car that is the most powerful and fastest representative of its segment (250 bhp – 184 kW) and capable of thrilling performance: 246 km/h top speed; 6.3 seconds from 0 to 100 km/h and 26.1 to cover a kilometre from a standing start. Not to mention outstanding dynamism, ride and handling. These are the telling differences that ensure your Alfa will deliver a unique driving experience.
On the outside, the Alfa 147 reveals new features that reflect the changes to its chassis and mechanicals. These are also important stylistically because they make the vehicle look broader, closer to the ground and more beefy while still ensuring instant recognisability.
The sophisticated mechanical array had to be complemented by styling that conveys an idea of strength and sportiness in a few brief but telling lines. This had to be achieved without altering the car’s original, stylish shape that is known and loved by our customers. Changes that affected the external appearance had to be limited to parts affected by technical changes to the chassis and mechanicals.
The outcome is the Alfa 147 GTA, an out and out sporty model that borrows the clean, spare design (yet also elegant and full of appeal) that assured the basic model such success. The natural tension set up between the rounded surfaces and ridges is resolved in an ideal balance. The design also hints at historical brand motifs, albeit in a very modern and understated way. For example, the bonnet is drawn out lengthways to suggest a mighty engine apable of far from ordinary verve and alacrity. The tail tapers when viewed from top or side to make the car look more slender and dynamic.
The Alfa 147 GTA has borrowed all these exterior features from the basic model. The new model differs in its broad wings that stand out at the front to accommodate the generous 17 inch wheels (225/45); in the black headlight ground that adds to the air of sportiness and the foglights that have been shifted toward the outside of the car to free the air intakes and allow the mighty power unit to breathe more easily.
The resulting image is of a strong, compact car with mastery of the road and a pronounced personality of its own. This is also borne out by a beefy side view underscored by a new moulding linking the two broad wings. New five-ringed wheels exclusive to the GTA range add a clean, highly engineered feel (customers can also choose the spoked wheels more typical of cars used for motorsport).At the rear, the new version features a bigger bumper. This feature is hardly apparent from the side but is apparent when the car is viewed from behind. The lower part of the 147 GTA’s rear end looks completely different from the original model from boot floor level downward. One reason is that the rear bumper contains a big extractor that is visibly divided by the metal panels into one long horizontal opening and two smaller side openings. The extractor serves the aerodynamic function of carrying airflow from the front of the car to the back of the car, i.e. of extracting the airflow. The final touch is provided by two oval exhaust tailpipes in line with one of the brand’s classic styling cues.
Ten body colours are available on the GTA, including the outstanding Nuvola White, an iridescent shade exclusive to the model.
In a car of great temperament, the interior always revolves around the driver’s cockpit. The Alfa 147 GTA is no exception, as you would expect from a car created for irrepressible performance. The GTA complements the basic Alfa 147 package with a few sporty styling details exclusive to the version.
These include a brand-new three-spoked steering wheel, gear lever with leather gaiter and surrounds in Puma grey, a darker shade than that of other Alfa 147 versions. The out and out sporty pedals include aluminium pedal covers and footrests with rubber inserts and ergonomic shapes. These are complemented by a mat in the central storage compartment made out of metalluro with rubber detailing.The seats are sports-configured and cloth trimmed. The model offers three exclusive colours: red, silver and blue. Leather upholstery is also an option: this comes in one shade (black) or as a two-tone combination. The latter offer black leather side bands while the central cushion and backrest insert may be in natural, grey or blue as required by the customer. The seat design displays the horizontal ridged design made famous by so many Italian sports cars of the past. The front seats come with a built-in head-restraint and adjustable seat. They are divided by an armrest with storage compartment. The rear seat offers the same sports configuration but all the comfort of a true five-seater.
The Alfa 147 GTA interiors may also be distinguished from other model versions by other features. The door panels, for example, come with cloth and leather inserts that reflect the same motifs and colours as the central part of the seats. The ceiling is grey-black, while the boot trim is completely black. The same applies to the sun visors, courtesy light and pillars. One more distinctive trait that has become a standard feature on the Alfa 147 GTA is a mat fastened mechanically to the carpet. The sill plates come with a satinised metal insert bearing the wording GTA in bright metal.
The control panel also displays new features, with special gauges and a black background. The reading scales also look different, while a screen on the multifunction display shows engine oil temperature.
The Alfa 147 GTA suspension layout is based on the formidable combination of high double wishbones at the front (the only car in its segment to offer this configuration) and an advanced MacPherson arrangement at the rear. This engineering option has already brought the Alfa 147 great success and has been specially adapted to the upgraded features of the new car to assure the Alfa 147 GTA outstanding dynamic performance coupled with superlative comfort.
The suspension is the final outcome of a long and thorough development process carried out on the basic layout with the aim of achieving the highest levels of driveability and handling. These features allow the person behind the wheel maximum mastery of the new car’s great sports performance for the best possible results on the road. From the customer’s viewpoint, the new version:
# is responsive;
# is smooth and accurate in its steering;
# is very stable and easy to control even when close to the grip limit;
# features highly contained body movements;
# and offers great comfort in all service and road surface conditions.
The Alfa 147 GTA offers its drivers the great control typical of front wheel drive cars plus outstanding sportiness and driving precision. This is particularly evident over mixed routes. The credit for this goes first and foremost to the high double wishbone front suspension. The new front suspension was developed specifically for the model by the Fiat Research Centre and Alfa Romeo Research. It departs from the configuration used on the Alfa 147 in offering a reinforced lower beam, lower ride, new shock absorber and spring settings, a special wheel strut that is fastened to the steering link in a different position – and a larger diameter stabiliser bar.
These engineering improvements increase the dynamic performance of the high double wishbone suspension – known as a quadrilateral suspension because the arms (two overlapping triangles with their bases hinged to the car body and their tips to the wheel unit) create a four-sided figure.The device structure consists of a cast iron lower arm, a steel strut and an upper light alloy arm. The coaxial spring-shock absorber unit is connected to the body via a flexible mount and to the lower arm via a light alloy fork. For reasons of space and structural stiffness, the upper arm is jointed to an aluminium shell (anchored to the body) which acts as a support to the upper spring-shock absorber attachment. From a dynamic viewpoint, the high double wishbone layout ideally combines broad wheel travel with outstanding control of tyre service conditions. This is achieved because the upper arm is located higher than the wheel centre: this means that the area between wheel and power unit accessories can be exploited to the full. And more. Other benefits of this configuration include excellent tyre grip, improved traction even under extreme conditions, a self-alignment effect proportional to the side acceleration applied on a bend, greater steering precision and sensitivity, gradual and even steering wheel effort to the grip limit – and also cancelling of lift (lifting of the front during acceleration) and antidive effect (dipping of the front end when braking).
Great attention has also been devoted to the absorption of minor roughness. Hence the choice of fluid dynamic bushes to hinge the upper triangle to the shell; split gaskets and bushes in Teflon loaded with fibreglass for the shock absorber stems – plus a Teflon seal for the shock absorber piston.
The rear suspension has also undergone many technical improvements. The geometry and the constructional details of the tried and tested MacPherson configuration have both been revised. The outcome is a different body attachment position; special spring setting; different shock absorber and bush stiffness; antiroll bar with bigger diameter.
The GTA’s MacPherson suspension also adopts innovative construction features. For example, the coil springs not only offer a different stiffness and lower ride to those of the Alfa 147 but also rest on a lower and upper plate with an interposed rubber ring to reduce noise levels. And a stabiliser bar (connected directly to the shock absorber via plastic connecting rods and jointed on steel ball joints) with a Cellasto upper end travel block (closed cell polyurethane
that maintains its flexible properties over time). The double-acting hydraulic shock-absorbers, also new, are pressurised and built in high strength steel with reduced thickness. Lastly, the side levers, suspension arm and rear beam bushes are all made especially for the Alfa 147 GTA. The upper shock absorber attachment also displays a new tapered block fastening system. Assembly is easier and the system is more reliable because the attachment need not be bolted to the body.
These significant technical innovations and features are bound to improve performance and driving comfort still further. Suffice it to say that the modified rear suspension can absorb obstacles more easily because the wheels withdraw lengthways to keep the car on its trajectory. The system also assures maximum directional stability when the car meets obstacles such as tram lines, dilation joints on motorway bridges. And more. The Alfa 147 GTA rear suspension increases the smoothness and alacrity of steering response and means the car is more able to align itself automatically, even under extreme conditions. This is achieved by ensuring the wheel steers consistently under side load. Not to mention the fact that the Alfa 147 GTA gains negative wheel camber during roll due to the new rear suspension. In other words, cornering grip is increased to ensure the roll centre position is more accurate to improve the car’s general balance.
The Alfa 147 GTA power unit is the same 3.2 V6 24 valve engine fitted to the Alfa 156 and Alfa Sportwagon GTA. It is a spirited, well-rounded engine as befits a six-cylinder unit and is derived from the now classic three-litre V6 24 valve unit fitted to top of the range Alfa 166 and GTV models.
The Alfa 147 GTA engine differs from its predecessor in certain respects. First and foremost, power has been increased by making radical mechanical changes. The power could simply have been increased by adjusting the timing, fuel system and electronics. But instead the engineers changed the crankshaft and pistons on the GTA to increase the cylinder capacity to 3.2 litres and lengthened the stroke to 78 millimetres. This was done with one very specific aim: to
ensure absolute performance and high power and torque peaks combined with smooth, gradual delivery from low speeds. For this reason, the 3.2 V6 24v unit can deliver thrilling performance – and that means a top speed of 246 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h in 6.3 seconds – but can also be used as an everyday car. The self-confessed goal of the GTA is this: to offer sensations unique to a racing car yet still be perfectly serviceable for everyday use.
The 3.2 V6 24v unit fitted to the Alfa 147 GTA develops 250 bhp at 6200 rpm with a maximum torque of 300 kgm (30.6 kgm) at 4800 rpm. These figures are all it takes to achieve exciting performances and are complemented by a torque curve that permits high values at low speeds. The car can also travel in sixth gear at less than 2000 rpm and unleash speed spurts without changing gear. Extremely satisfying behaviour, therefore, even during daily use.
The increased cylinder capacity naturally required further changes. For example, the control unit software has been rewritten, the cooling system has been upgraded with the addition of an engine oil radiator – and the intake and exhaust ports have been tuned by applying a new timing pattern.
The transmission has also been reinforced: the half-axles are new, while the clutch is bigger and the six-speed gearbox offers new, sturdier components. The current manual gearbox will be joined in 2003 by a Selespeed version. Developed by Magneti Marelli, this sophisticated device has a Formula 1-derived operating system that makes for swifter gear shifts at both low and high speeds. The 3.2 V6 24 valve unit fitted on the Alfa 147 GTA already meets the tough Euro
Alfa Romeo 147 GTA
Engine & transmission
Layout: Front Engine / FWD
Displacement (cm3): 3179
Power (bhp): 250@6200
Torque (nm): 300@4800
Gearbox: 6-Speed Manual, Selespeed automatic with paddle shift
Acceleration 0-100 km/h: 6.3 sec
Acceleration 0-200 km/h: n/a
1/4 mile: n/a
Top speed: 246 km/h
Dimensions & Weight
Weight: 1434 Kg