Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta

19 Apr, 2010 11:12am Matt Davis

Auto Express gets exclusive access to Pininfarina’s showstopping new Spider. Does it deliver on the promise of its sensational looks?


THE UK loves Alfas and open-tops, so if bosses build this car, they would have no shortage of buyers. But first, the company needs to repair its image, and work to improve its cars’ poor residual values. Even so, our drive suggests the Fiat Group needs to find the resources to make the 2uettottanta. If it did, the car wouldn’t appear until 2013 – but we’ll wait however long it takes for it to come up with a great new Alfa to replace the less than wonderful Spider.

It’s pronounced ‘duet-o-tanta’ – and rarely has a name meant so much for Italian sports cars. The 2uettottanta is Pininfarina’s beautiful Alfa Romeo-badged star of the Geneva Motor Show back in March.

But the complex name is more than just a ploy to draw crowds to the stands. It pays tribute to the firm’s glorious past, plus looks to the future – and Auto Express got behind the wheel during an exclusive photoshoot.

First, we should explain that tongue-twisting badge. The 2 refers to the two-seater configuration, the 2uetto to the influence of Alfa’s classic Duetto model and ottanta – 80 in Italian – to the number of years Pininfarina has been coming up with such stunners.

We drove the 2uettottanta fresh from its show debut, and there were no seatbelts fitted. But our time with the car wasn’t so much about pushing it hard on the open road – instead, we were keen just to get a taste of the car insiders say points to the look of the next-generation Spider.

Contrary to speculation, Pininfarina says the Mazda MX-5-sized newcomer is production ready. It’s also keen to scotch rumours that it’s based on the 8C Competizione, pointing out that the underpinnings are not from a current Alfa model.

Power comes from an all-new 1.8-litre turbocharged engine, while the 2,500mm wheelbase is identical to that of the four-wheel-drive Fiat Sedici and Suzuki SX4.

The bodywork’s soft curves are set off perfectly by the bold metallic paint. Red is the colour, of course, and the 2uettottanta features a blood-like shade that sparkles in the sunshine during our drive.

The form-fitting sports seats give outstanding support, and our arms are held at a perfect distance for us to clutch the small 14.2-inch-diameter retro-styled three-spoke steering wheel.

It’s a special place to sit. The driving position is low to the ground and the seatback steeply raked. Plus, with your backside suspended inches above the tarmac, it feels just as unique as an original Duetto spider.

As there’s no roof, and only a slender windscreen surround, visibility is excellent, while the car is incredibly aerodynamic.The major controls are placed logically around the steering column and on the central tunnel, as well as across the upper dash.

As you’d expect, the detailing is simply sensational, with glowing white Alfa Romeo badges on the centre of the speedometer and rev counter needles.
The gearlever is finished in machined aluminium billet, and is great to hold. Beautifully integrated into its design is the bright red start button.

But while we love the cabin’s architecture, we should mention that not everything you see here will make production. The thin, column-mounted paddleshifters for the seven-speed TCT twin-clutch box are only for show. Another little jewel that feels too finely finished to make dealers is the new design for the lever of Alfa’s DNA adaptive chassis system – it’s unlikely to stand up to daily use.

On the other hand, the seatbelt appendages, extending off the outside edges of the flying buttresses, are a really pleasing touch. They embrace you as you settle back into the seats, and are likely to make production.

Overall, the 2uettottanta’s cabin is as accommodating as the latest BMW Z4’s, and the swooping lines are not unlike those of the blue propeller car.

Under the bonnet, the turbocharged engine is very much showroom-ready – it’s set to feature in the Giulietta Cloverleaf, which goes on sale in the summer. Amazingly, this ultra-efficient 232bhp 1.7-litre four-cylinder motor delivers just as much power as the gas-guzzling old 3.2-litre V6 in the 147 GTA.

Alfa says the finished version of the 2uettottanta will use this same unit, as it targets class-leading rivals such as the Porsche Boxster and Audi TT Roadster. In the two-door – which tips the scales at a featherweight 1,220kg – it promises a 0-62mph sprint time of less than six seconds.

This impressive power output will be delivered to the rear wheels through the slick-shifting TCT box. Add that to the gorgeous barchetta styling, plus the detailing inside and out, and the 2uettottanta will make summer anywhere in the world like something from an Italian romance.

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Utterly, utterly beautiful looking car...

It could drive like a pig and it would still sell on its jaw-dropping looks alone!

the usual problem of where to put the front numberplate crops up yet again for Alfa - it's going to ruin those great looks!

In a word STUNNING!!!

So beautifully stunning, words are superfluous!

VX220 with christmas lights

Superb space age looks a genuine advance in looks and a welcome sire for sore eyes if it can deliver? Interior not for me but what the hell, I was brought up in leather seats and real wood so I will never be happy with the minimal appearance but with our climate it looks practical inside so I guess its about right?

Alfa have done it again

Don't quite get the ongoing dig against Alfa from clickpw re 'alfa letting you down'... I drive the new spider, have had it for 2 years and its never put a foot wrong, I,ve had a fair few alfas and they've all been gems, What would you rather drive; a beemer like the rest of the world or something a little different?

Alfa make great cars.

Concepts look great - however they usually churn out to be processed meat. Hope this one lives to tell its tale and make sure you buy every single one before hairdressers get it.

This is a wonderful machine. Fast, beautiful and i bet it does 40 mpg. This performance car has everything going for it.

It will look different in showroom ready form i.e. where are the bumper shut lines, where are the head lights?

Please don't bring back tacky pop up lights.

I'll put the deposite down now if you promise me a 3.2 litre.

god it looks good- lets hope it isn't a repeat of the Brera- great looks, rubbish drive

In the name of all that is holy, why would anyone want a great lump of a 3.2 V6 in this beautiful, sweet, sensibly dimensioned, balanced car? High tech, high performance1750 sounds perfect...agile, fun. vervy, just like Alfas used to be. Magic!

I know this goes against everybody else on this page...but...I'm not sold on it. My first impression of the exterior was that it reminds me of one of those cheap fibreglass kit cars. It's got one of those classic kit car shapes. It also reminded me a little of a 66' and 76' Corvette ( I love Corvettes)...but this! The 8C is still my fave. Anyway.

Has hints of Toyota FT86, BMW Z4 at the front

At first glance i honestly thought this was a 90's concept car of some sort-its a design that will look dated sooner,i love the bespoke interior especially the digital readings in the dials though

I've had several Alfas and never had a problem of any sort. Am I just lucky? The 2uettottanta looks just great (without the front number plate). Why do we need them? Motorcycles don't have front number plates!

Have run Alfas for years with no problems. This gorgeous lady would fit nicely into my current stable of 2004, 1996 and 1967 regularly serviced and cared for, therefore reliable Alfas.

Hey this is an Alfa's gorgeous what more do you need..............?

LOVE IT !!!! the itallians do it again ,,in the stlying department ,,but the reliablity is the problem ..but i still want one...!!!!!

This is so stunning where are Alfa getting all these designs from?
The only car i would swap my BRERA for!!!

I have owned an Alfa 156, th efacelift version 2.0 JTS. It was beautiful- the only family saloon on the "sub zero" section of Top Gear's cool wall. But like all post -Alfa 155's the looks are slightly ruined by the compulsory front number plates. And for this car it would be sacrilege. Maybe they would be allowed above the badge facing skyward as on old British sports cars. Or challenge the powers that be to lose the requirement for front no. plates.

Beautiful prototype. Production version to be seen. But worse of all: we are all exited and want it badly, especially in the US. But FIAT/Chrysler management are not making comittments - just show offs and teasers like this. And since the times of the rich driving ALFA's are long gone - latest since the years when we as plebians had to hope not to fall through rust holes in the floor or elsewhere- one ALFA machine has to be effordable. ALFA's can not compete with their (lacking) performance, so it has to be beauty. And maybe a bit high tech for weight savings. In the meantime I keep shagging my MONTREAL V8 besides Mercedes as daily drivers for reliability. Dont get me wrong: it is simply great design. Will we ever see it on the road????

i am ready to buy one.

Key specs

* Price: £26,500 (est)
* Engine: 1.7 4cyl turbo, 232bhp
* Transmission: Seven-speed TCT dual-clutch, rear-wheel drive
* 0-62/top spd: 5.8s (est)/155mph
* Econ/CO2: 35mpg/175g/km
* Equipment: Adaptive headlights, electronic limited-slip diff, DNA adaptive chassis, ceramic brake discs, 19-inch Cloverleaf wheels
* On sale: 2013 (est)