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Driving report: Alfa Romeo 75 TS: Cuore Sportivo in Tetra Pak optics

Alfa Romeo
Alfa Romeo 75 2.0 Twin Spark in the driving report
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I The big one is still blinking red lamp. In the middle of the instrument panel, it clearly warns of defects. Today: the bottom lights. Tomorrow: maybe the ABS? The red lights of the Alfa Control System always have something to report. And as with the news channel CNN, a new horror report will definitely appear next time.

Weird: the Alfa Romeo 75

The main thing is different, was probably the motto of the Alfa design kitchen Centro Stile in the 80s. The window lifters are integrated into the roof console, the handbrake handle is shaped into an unergonomic 'U'. If it weren't for the classic Milanese coat of arms in the center of the steering wheel, you could almost forget you're sitting in an Alfa.

Turning the ignition key brings back a piece of an ideal world. After a few engine revolutions, the Alfa heart pounds with an unmistakable sound. The two-liter engine immediately picks up the gas and willingly revs up - but not too high, the four-cylinder is still cold. Cold Alfamotoren are better woken up gently like a dormouse and carefully heated up the large oil supply on a low level. Anyone who demands the pithy sound at high speeds before breakfast will soon have their heart broken: Inevitably, an expensive bill threatens if it goes off lightly only for the replacement of the cylinder head gasket.

After a few kilometers, however, the temperature display indicates that the lubricant is fully operational. Fredy Stricker, first owner of the car since 1989, also gives his approval from the passenger seat - the rev counter becomes an Alfa indulgence indicator. On a scale from idle to 7,000, the sense of hearing switches to pleasant below 3,000, and from 4,000 the corners of the mouth move towards the ears. The enjoyment races beyond the yellow area at 5,800 tours and stops in the red sector at 6,200 tours.

The Twin Spark engine of the Alfa 75 inspires with torque and revving

But the long-stroke Twin Spark engine looks like its famous Bialbero predecessors in Spider, Bertone and Relatives not exactly powerless even in the lower speed range. Last but not least, the type designation is responsible for the lively character of the engineDouble ignition included: Instead of planting a spark plug in the middle of the combustion chamber as usual, the Milanese engineers donated two igniters per cylinder to the aluminum engine.

The eight candles are enthroned in a line on the narrow cylinder head and ignite the injected gasoline mixture more efficiently and reliably. The principle of double ignition was already in use at Alfa in 1913 and reached its sporting climax in the GTA in the 1960s.

The second driving force is called the phase adjuster. What is widespread nowadays belonged to the high-tech area in 1987: the intake camshaft is electronically controlled and rotated by seven degrees, thus ensuring optimum cylinder filling in every speed range. The effort was worth it: 148 hp from a two-liter displacement is still a respectable figure today.

The Twin Spark engine was actually developed for the flagship 164, but reached series production too early and found its first home under the hood of the last Alfa rear-wheel drive sedan. That was not only a stroke of luck for the 75th, but an important step in Alfa's success story in the following years.

The limit range of the transaxle Alfa seems unreachable

In 1986 the ailing state-owned company was swallowed up by Fiat, and the then Fiat boss Vittorio Ghidella ordered an immediate facelift. With the upgrading and improvement of the 75 and the launch of the front-wheel drive top model 164, the Milanese were technically up to date and made the leap into profitability.

Back behind the wheel. On the way in the Swiss Pre-Alps, the pass road winds in ever tighter bends. When cornering quickly, the body leans quite far to the side. However, the rear De-Dion axle ensures precise guidance of the rear wheels and lets the 75 go its way undeterred. Fast, long curves whet the athlete's appetite for more, the limit area seems inaccessible. As with the Alfetta, the gearbox is at the rear and is interlocked with the rear axle. The result is, on the one hand, a wobbly gearshift, on the other hand, a neutral weight balance.

With the precise power steering, the compact sedan can also be steered lightly around tight corners, whereby the angular Italian initially stays on course and then slides slowly over the front axle. A strong throttle pushes the stern to oversteer and the Alfa back on course; cautious natures simply take off the gas in such situations.

The V6 versions of the Alfa Romeo 75 have almost 200 hp

For steeper drift angles, however, the 2.0 Twin Spark presses too little steam into the five-speed gearbox. Spectacular transverse drives belong in the territory of the Turbo presented in 1986. AsThe homologation vehicle for the European Touring Car Championship put pressure on the well-known 1.8-liter Bialbero. Bosch injection, Garrett turbocharger and sports transmission - there are 155, later 165 HP, and the trade journal sport auto noted: 'A hearty throttle allows the rear to pivot easily and at any time to the outer edge of the curve.'

Let's turn to the Twin Spark again, the Turbo is in short supply anyway. The same applies to the three-liter V6 top versions of the Alfa 75. With 186 to 192 hp and full equipment, they are ideal for a quick shower, and the few original specimens are already popular with collectors. The Twin Spark, however, are often rejected and cannibalized in the shadow of their brothers or, because of the tempting price tags, end up with buyers with a penchant for aerodynamic aids.

The birthday child Alfa 75 - its name recalls the 75th anniversary of Alfa Romeo in 1985 - has earned his pension in honor. The type shown, for example - with 115,000 gentle kilometers and without a scratch - still impresses with its engine and roadholding. No rumbling noises from the suspension, no faded paint.

The practical sides of the Alfa Romeo 75
sports sedan

The trunk, for example, has a capacity of 500 liters, so that its owner uses the Twin Spark almost every day. But will the 75 ever be recognized as a classic by the Alfisti? No question about it: the facts of rear-wheel drive, Alfa engine and road holding speak for themselves. For the time being, the 75 remains the last rear-wheel drive Alfa sedan. The Tetra-Pak look is a matter of taste, but it also has its pleasing sides, the time may just not be right for it.

In one point, however, the Alfa 75 does not seamlessly follow the classic legacy of its ancestors on: He wears a dress made of galvanized sheet metal and defies Alfa-untypical brown decay.

More about 100 years of Alfa can be found on our sister site topgear-autoguide.com - with current car tests , News and stories about the Alfa Romeo brand.

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