Hmmm …

… because it’s the first thing that comes to mind.

“It’s an Alfa,” for those un-initiated in the Alfisti, is synonymous with “it’s a piece of shit,” let’s face it. Not to look at mind, but with respect to reliability. It’s the automotive equivalent of marrying a porn star. It’s as sexy as hell but has a penchant for other men who like lube.

Mmmm …

… speaks for itself. I mean look at it. The Alfa Romeo GT is a thing of beauty. On the inside as much as the out. Yes the leather seats are as good as they look and there’s even room for 3 kids, small ones preferably.

But it’s the engine, all 3.2 litre V6 of it, and how it delivers its power that is the hook. You don’t even struggle because the sound then embraces you, the red hide squeezes your love handles and it’s all over red rover. Its exhaust note sounding very much like a woman exhaling on a cigarette.  I can see why you’d want it, but do you need it?

If I were a younger man, say like Nadim, my chauffeur for the next 25 minutes, this car would have to be it. It’s got the lot. I think you can just make out the words chick and magnet on the side.

But I’m not going to ask him to let me drive because, fairs fair, it’s not my place. He’s trying to sell it. If he offers though, I’d bite his arm off.

There are no nasty clunks on upshift, no jarring of the clutch. The power comes on so progressively that I have to check myself for being so used to turbos. The ride is firm but comfortable, and sitting amid the waves of red cow and beaches of tactile black plastic makes this a very nice place to be. I have to admit that for a passenger this is a tidy ride.

Now I must confess that on this occasion necessity stated that I had to bring two of my offspring with me. So perhaps you can understand my reticence to ask to drive. I’m taking liberties enough. I’ve just asked a bloke to drive me around in his impeccably presented motor with two monsters in tow. And he did. Hats off to him.

But why this Alfa?

This is the only GT V6 I can find locally that has the Q2 diff upgrade. And why is that important? Well, other than the fact the original differential was hugely suspect engineering-wise (when it went, it often took large chunks of the engine with it, much like a kidney operation back alley style.) Other than that, the heavier nose and increase in power exposed the limits of traction control and compromised the steering.

The Q2 on the other hand is different

A self-locking front differential which incorporates all the strong points of a front-wheel drive system in terms of active safety, increasing driving enjoyment and control, while providing some of the advantages typical of four-wheel drive, but at a significantly lower cost and weight.

Alfa’s take on its Q2 system

Alfa’s limited-slip diff almost eliminates torque steer and understeer, which for a front driver with 244 horses/177 kW in its nose is no mean feat. And it works too with very few reported issues, if any. Traction and cornering are aided substantially, even in the wet. It’s almost like a 4WD system for a front wheeler. It splits the torque to either wheel according to the road conditions and means you can get on the throttle with more confidence as you exit a corner. So you’re safe in the knowledge that, if the inside tyre spins, the torsen type diff will transfer torque to the off-side wheel and maintain a peachy drive. It even improves the steering and that is what this car should have always been about.

Equally as important is its ability to function. Forums the world over seem unanimous with praise and so far, few problems have been identified. From “it is probably the best upgrade you can do, and definitely worth doing as soon as you can afford it,” to “the GT definitely needs a Q2, as well as protecting against the well talked about diff failure it transforms the way the car drives in all conditions.”

Total costs for the upgrade range between $2-2,500 and whilst you are at it you could have the master cylinder and the clutch checked as the engine needs to come out.

So if you were to scratch that itch and finally say you own an Alfa, is this one to go for? Many would say the 147 GTA is the best, but in my opinion, the GT with the Q2 upgrade looks better, and has the slight edge when it comes to dynamics. It’s fast, it holds the road exceptionally well, and when compared to Alfa’s of old this one won’t be seeing too many blokes behind your back.


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