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Driving report Alfa Romeo GTV 6: Great Alfa V6 in an angular Giugiaro dress

Hardy Mutschler
Driving report Alfa Romeo GTV 6
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Some cars also fail because of the demands that their builders place on them. Maybe that was the A lfa Romeo GTV 6 so. Because the new Alfa Coupé with the sedan's V6 should, according to a full-bodied statement by Filippo Surace, Head of Development at the time, 'close the gap that still separates Alfa from Ferrari.' The GTV fared a little like a student who tries hard to meet his parents' expectations, but still fails to bring home only ones.

Ferrari within reach

After all, Ferrari was getting closer at the beginning of the eighties. Also because the performance of the first injection eight-cylinder at Ferrari had sunk to a level that was not too far removed from a well-functioning Alfa six-cylinder. And it was probably least of all due to the engine that the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 wasn't a resounding success. Even today it still knows how to impress in a 20-year-old copy with just over 100,000 kilometers on the clock.

The light metal V6 of the coupé in silver metallic presented here starts up so spontaneously, despite the icy temperatures, as if it hadn't spent the night before the photo session outside. The first few kilometers in the direction of the Gotthardt Tunnel are accordingly cautious. The engine speed remains below 3,000, and your gaze swings between the displays for coolant temperature and oil pressure and the threatening dark clouds of snow over Central Switzerland. As a precaution, Urs Stalder put two spare wheels in the trunk of the Alfa Romeo GTV 6. 'You can mount the winter tires if there is snow before the Gotthardt', the young Alfa mechanic said goodbye to the team. The displays indicate healthy values ​​well before the tunnel, the winter tires can stay in the trunk. The sun is shining in Ticino and the country roads towards Lake Maggiore are dry. The six-cylinder can finally show its sporty talents.

When it comes to elasticity, the GTV leaves Porsche 0944 and Co. behind

From 3,500 revs upwards, the engine really starts to attack. Accompanied by increasingly lustful pipes from the exhaust, it pushes the coupé, which weighs around 1,200 kilograms, vehemently forward. How good the first six-cylinder sports car from AlfaSince the 2600 sprint really works, it was able to prove it in a comparison test in auto motor und sport in 1984.

In terms of top speed and acceleration, it was unable to set itself apart from its competitors Nissan 300 ZX, Porsche 944 and Alpine A 310, but the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 was the hour of elasticity Discipline 40 to 100 km /h in fourth gear and 60 to 120 km /h in fifth, he left the competition well behind.

The Alfa Romeo GTV 6 benefits not only from its harmonious power delivery - between 2,500 and 5,500 revolutions are at least 200 Newton meters - but also from the skillfully coordinated five-speed gearbox. Alfa renounced the prevailing trend at the time towards overly long gear ratios and graduated the gearbox so that the engine can rev up fully. The coupé only reaches its top speed at the maximum speed of 6,300 tours.

High noise level - how nice!

A small disadvantage of this design is the high noise level when driving fast. Whereby the expressions of life of the light metal six-cylinder are only very inadequately described. Depending on the speed and load, its repertoire ranges from bored grumbling to liberated roaring - despite the standard exhaust system and Bosch L-Jetronic. So you always catch yourself turning the gears a little higher than absolutely necessary and underlining the downshift with a small dose of double-declutching.

Auto-motor-und-sport tester Wolfgang König also showed himself impressed by the Alfa drive. He praised 'that unmistakable tone of a thoroughbred, which fans of classic sports cars can hardly resist'. Which of course didn't change the fact that the Porsche 944 scored more points in the drive rating of the comparison test. The main point of criticism of the testers from 1984 can be dealt with calmly today: 'The gear lever has to be pushed noisily and imprecisely over extremely long distances and turns out to be an annoying impertinence.' Of course, the shiftability of the gearbox on the rear axle has not improved today.

Sluggish steering, strong side tilt

But with a bit of getting used to it, you can get along well with it and hardly feel worse than with some rear-engined cars. Especially since, thanks to the elastic motor, you can display a decidedly lazy driving style. It is a little more difficult to deal with the driving behavior of the fast Alfa Romeo GTV 6. The steering is a bit stiff and strangely rubbery in the central position, so that it takes practice to drive a fast, clean line.

And the strong side inclination, together with the understeering self-steering behavior, especially in tight bendslittle sporty driving pleasure. There is more joy in fast passages. Since the Alfa is fed up and neutral. It wasn't until very late that the whimpering 195 tires remind you that this car is getting on a bit. The many stops on the photo trips around Lake offer plenty of time to feel at home in the Alfa Romeo GTV 6. The sitting position gets better the longer you sit in the tight sports seat.

Yes, either the legs are too long or the arms are too short - that is hardly any different with a Ferrari from the 50s. You get used to it, after all, an Italian sports car is not a family van.

Alfa peculiarities and acceptable comfort

Only with the headrests disguised as a tennis racket you don't want to be in Come into contact. As an Alfa friend, you've become humble over the years. One is happy about little things. The Alfa Romeo GTV 6 at least has a height-adjustable steering wheel. And the pedals are arranged in such a way that you can also ride camel boots. The confused heating operation is no longer a nuisance today, and the a little tired window regulators are ticked off as a characteristic of the brand.

At least the comfort is acceptable. The chassis is not set too hard, and the balloon-like tires for today's conditions dampen a lot. Of course, you have to get used to the severe side tilt when cornering quickly. But that was hardly any different with the Giulia sedan. The question remains why the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 was not a success? The award certainly contributed to the fact that only Alfists dyed in the wool could warm up to the GTV.

Price increase of 6,000 marks in four years

When it was launched, it cost around 30,000 marks as much as a Porsche 924, and just four years later the price rose to over 36,000 marks. There was already a full-blown Mercedes for that. The Alfa Romeo GTV 6 - like all Alfa of this era - was also viewed increasingly critically in the specialist press. The quality of the engine was beyond doubt, but the chassis, interior appearance and workmanship were no longer up to date.

The switch to front-wheel drive came with the 164

In addition, Alfa Romeo was about to be integrated into the 1986 Fiat group. Together with Lancia, Alfa was to form a kind of noble division of Fiat. A successor to the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 was not considered. With the presentation of the 164 and its sister models Lancia Thema and Fiat Croma, the signs in the group were finally on front-wheel drive. The Alfetta platform was still a short existence as the Alfa 75 until the introduction of the front-wheel drive 155. A new GTV was only available in 1995. Optionally with a four-cylinder Twinspark, but on a Fiat base enginebuilding up or with the famous V6. The motors, of course, drove the front wheels. After all, the new GTV proved to be durable.

Ticino is still Alfa-Land. From the lowered 75 to the brand new Sprint GT, the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 has countless siblings. Many drivers of older models greet them with a casual wave. But mostly one has the impression that one is not moving more conspicuously in the silver-gray GTV 6 than in a mouse-gray Golf II.

' Hit the gas, I want to hear the engine '

That changes on the way back. It is raining again north of the Alps and a few snowflakes are mixed in. The winter tires on the original aluminum can still remain in the trunk. The heating is better than its reputation, and somewhere behind Lucerne the 1980s Blaupunkt radio suddenly plays SWR 3. Only a few kilometers to the workshop of Urs Stalder and Jürg Moser. It's dark in Zurich. The Alfa Romeo GTV 6 is filled up. The six-cylinder indulged in just under eleven liters of fine super on average per 100 kilometers.

Shortly afterwards, a W 124 station wagon rolls up at a traffic light next to the Alfa. The driver gestures and lowers his passenger window. 'Hit the gas, I want to hear the engine,' he calls out. We like to do it - and take a good 20 meters away from him until the next red phase. It's still raining when we park the Alfa Romeo GTV 6 again. Not an easy farewell after more than 1,000 kilometers. But it would probably be a little harder without your own Alfa six-cylinder in the garage.

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