- A​lfa Romeo GTV CUP special edition N.236, first registered in 2002 in Sardinia, Italy. Now it‘s living in Luxembourg with it‘s third owner. 2.0 liter 16 valve Twin spark four cylinder 155 horsepower. Picture c​redit: @alexios_things on instagram

There is no button for that!

T​he 2.0l GTV is lovely to drive

J​eremy clarkson

T​he first time you let yourself gently descend into the cabin of the Alfa Romeo GTV you are graced with a waterfall center consol, a panoramic windscreen for perfect visisbility, a relatively tall driving position and beautiful air conditioning. On the other hand you are holding a key that has the same shade of red as your cheeks when you looked at it for the first time, MOMO branded headrests, you can even spot a rev countour going to 7 thousand RPM and finally a huge, wind sculpted and body coloured gear knob. In the interior it has all of the hardcore sports car essentials with the coziness and style of a five star hotel lounge.

O​nce you turn the key, the familiar sound of a four cylinder visits your ears. But you don‘t care, you look out of the rear view mirror and see the top of the flat boot spoiler, you have an Alfa Romeo badge sitting infront of your chest and an instrument cluster so simple it could be called perfect by some. However the Alfa Romeo doesn‘t represent an average fast car. At low rpm the engine is quiet and the excellent surround sound system is playing your favorite song. With a 5 speed gearbox you can easely have it in a low gear when cruising and the car is timelessly comfortable. Yet you are asking yourself, where is the sport button in this thing? This is an Alfa afterall and it has a spoiler! Well the sport button in this car is descretely put on top of the rev range. Dare to drop it to second and gradualy open the throttle? Don‘t fear because the power doesn‘t bite you like a pensioner‘s terrier, it might even feel soft and underwhelming at first. It gradually increses in bass as the needle rises to higher numbers on the rev counter. As the engine is rising in decibles, the opera of the 16 vavle engine starts shutting down what ever the radio was playing. It turns out you havn‘t heard it all because after five thousand RPM a tenor intake noise joins the hum of the opera unfolding onto the tarmac. At this point the car has reached it‘s full potential, it is an area of sadness knowing you will soon run out of revs. By the time you realize you are going 90km/h through your village in second gear, you get a suddon burst of energy because you remebered that you are driving a manual car and that third gear can make it all happen again. When you shift at the redline of your Alfa Romeo, you have been officially transformed into a petrolhead. To celebrate, select another gear and take it there, again!

T​he steering. The steering wheel is lovely to grab and probably has a soft, gently deploying airbag for you to crash as relaxed as possible. At a roundabout, the hydrolic power steering takes away all of your effort. When you are going fast on a motorway, a gentle tug to the left to overtake trucks and other inconveniences has never been easier. The power steering maybe compared with ordering a cappuccino after nutritious breakfast. Soft, soothing, satisfying. Nontheless this is a sports car rigth? Plus with the Cup package 4 piston Brembo brakes are included, which are painted red! When you decide that crusing shall be a thing of the past and you do exactly what I described in the second paragraph you will notice yourself quickly coming to a corner. Now all of a sudden the aggressive and oversensitive brake peddle make sense when pushed hard. When the moment you have been waiting for arrives, the whole car jumps into the corner like a cat jumping, without much effort, into the owners lap and due to the stiff chassis you won‘t be understeering, if you get it right. Despite the front wheel drive, on a dry roundabout rarely anything will keep up. When you start tugging hard on the steering wheel it blitzes corners. The handling of the Alfa will be quicker then your mind can think but watch out! All of a sudden you are going too fast! The front starts slipping. In your mind you want to let of the accelerator but don‘t because then the back end will pay you a cheeky visit. Just feed the wheel more, more imput means sharper turn in. It is a truly magical feeling of taking a high speed corner whilst the car is perfectly balanced and in control. If I had to describe the steering in one word: Soulfull. To find another front wheel drive car that handles with more precision and flare is rare. Finally the "cup" name is put into action.

C​redit: @alexios_things on instagram

T​o conclude, the Alfa Romeo GTV CUP 916 will not only be a timeless classic due to the goergous looks that inspired many modern cars with "the" edgy center line going through the middle but because it drives how it looks. The fornt end of the car represents the first three thousand revs, relaxing, stylish and leaving you wanting more. Whilst you are taking a journey down the side of the car, you get into the terretory of three to five thousand revs. Now you arrived at the back window, this is where the magic starts. The back end of this car reflects excactly what the drivier feels and surrpassing five thousand rpm. However there can not be beauty without flaws. As a "car" the Alfa Romeo is bearly usable, it can get you to work easly but as soon as it sees a carpark you quickly change your mind having brought it here. Whilst you are trying not to scratch the rims due to the shocking turning circle you start screaming at the car to turn more. Finally the tiniest boot is blocked by the spare wheel making it even more minuscule and basically no more usable then carrying a pizza box. If we ignore the dreadful practicality and sometimes questionable interior build quality we end up with the beautiful duality of having a comfortable cruiser and a quick sports car that isn‘t segregated with buttons and settings, it is all beautifully engineered into the components of the car, which define it at the end.

C​redit: @alexios_things on instagram

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