Alfa Romeo GTV 2.0

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I HAVE been driving this 2-litre coupé which is the former GTV 2000 cosmetically modified to make it virtually the GTV-6, but with the well-proven four-cylinder twin-cam engine replacing the 2 ½-litre vee-six of this larger-engined coupe. Using twin-choke carburation, a more than adequate 130 (DIN) b.h.p. is produced at a modest 5,400 r.p.m. from this 84 x 88.5 mm., 1,962 c.c. power unit.

Once again I asked myself how can any keen driver resist an Alfa? The supple suspension irons out road irregularities without impairing the excellent roadholding, which is maintained in the rain by the Pirelli P6 tyres, the steering is taut, the engine responsive and with that inimitable note of eager liveliness, and on the GTV there is the advanced De Dion back axle and disc braking all round, the rear discs being inboard.

he interior exudes high quality and the front seats, adjustable for height unwell as fore and aft position and squab angle, are truly comfortable. The three square-faced instruments cover oil-pressure, engine temperature, fuel contents with warning light, with four further warning lights (for alternator not charging, ventilator-blower in use, choke out and low brake fluid or handbrake) incorporated on the right of the panel with these gauges, tachometer and smaller speedometer to the left, but all neatly net before the driver. The triple stalk-controls are so contrived as not to be confusing, but the polished wooden rim of the steering wheel, while handsome, is very slippery, likewise the similar gear lever knob controlling a somewhat ponderous 5-speed gearbox with sensibly spaced ratios.

This is very definitely a car to enjoy. Alfa Romeo claim 118 m.p.h. from it, but it seemed more apt to check fuel-consumption. This came out at 27.3 m.p.g. under much the same road conditions in which I recorded 23.2 m.p.g. from the GTV-6, with judicious use of that fifth gear which the engine will pull down to about 30 m.p.h. This time, I was able to enjoy a sunroof, with a plastic handle, but very easy to open and close, giving cool air with a complete absence of wind buffeting. Everything about the GTV 2.0 is nicely devised, including wind-up head restraints on the front seam and matching hand-throttle and choke controls on the fascia. The price of £8,150 brings this Alfa Romeo into competition with other cars which under-cut the GTV-6, and most drivers will find the performance quite sufficient, even exhilarating, while welcoming the improved fuel economy (the tank holds 54 litres). The only fault was a “short” in the breaker serving the loud horn, which blew continually after a touch on the button, and later came on of its own accord, when we thought we had cured the trouble. I did not go to the Pope’s visit to Cardiff or elsewhere, but had I done so it would have been very embarrassing had this happened just as John Paul II had been about to speak (and instant police action would have resulted, though if the car had been locked, what could they have done?) Perhaps as this car was made not all that far from Rome, it might have been excused? — W.B.