Alfa Romeo GT Q2

The clever Q2 set-up maximises the GT's traction and transforms the handling

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

The clever Q2 set-up maximises the GT’s front-wheel-drive traction, but the new diff isn’t available on the model in the range that could do with it most – the powerful 240bhp 3.2-litre V6. However, this diesel variant offers a better blend of performance and economy, while the limited-slip diff transforms the coupé into one of the best-handling cars in the class.

Gone are the days when the only way of controlling a powerful car was to make it rear or four-wheel drive. Alfa Romeo engineers have come up with a system that can tame the most potent diesel version of its front-wheel-drive GT coupé.

We’ve already been impressed by the firm’s new Q2 differential in the 147 hatchback, but how does it rate in the bigger GT?

The torque-sensing Torsen unit constantly adjusts the amount of power directed to each of the front wheels to suit conditions – and the results are impressive. It doesn’t matter if you’re mid-corner when the 16-valve oil-burner delivers its 305Nm surge of torque, because the Q2’s clever mechan­icals help to maintain traction and prevent the power from disappearing in a cloud of useless wheelspin.

As a result, you find yourself accelerating harder and earlier than before, making full use of the free-revving diesel unit. The system also improves stability under braking, and is very smooth in operation, so there’s no snatching of the steering wheel or the sudden lightness that signals a loss of grip.

The rest of the charismatic GT’s drive­train remains unchanged, which means you get a six-speed manual gearbox and impressive performance matched with decent economy. Crucially, the spacious four-seater cabin and 320-litre boot are also unaltered, although the pretty styling has been enhanced.

As well as the clever differential, buyers also get a range of cosmetic tweaks to set the Q2 apart from the standard car. Most obvious are the five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, but twin chrome exhausts and a satin finish on the grille and door mirrors also distinguish the newcomer. A small Q2 badge on the tailgate and lower stance – thanks to tweaked suspension – provide more discreet clues.

The £1,000 premium the Q2 is likely to command above the standard car is also easier to bear when you consider the interior upgrades. As well as black leather upholstery with red stitching, buyers also get stylish metal sill protectors, classy anthracite trim on the dash and steering wheel controls for the uprated stereo.

Ultimately, the new Q2 differential makes a greater impact in the smaller, more nimble 147 hatch, but it’s still a welcome addition that gives a boost to the stylish GT range.

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