Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

| 23 Apr 2024
Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Why you’d want an Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Giorgetto Giugiaroʼs stunning styling exercise, unveiled at the Geneva Salon in 2002 with a Maserati V8, was just what Alfa Romeo needed – and when the production Brera was unveiled at Geneva three years later, there was an equally showstopping Spider version, too.

The Spider was designed by Pininfarina and Alfa Centro Stile, using the Breraʼs nose and doors.

Both models were built by Pininfarina, the Spider shorter and lower – though chassis reinforcements and the five-layer, padded soft-top made it 60kg heavier than the Brera.

Both looked amazing and came with a range of engines: what could go wrong?

It was a very competent car, but testers were disappointed: performance and handling were not in the sports-car class the looks suggested.

The car was heavy, underpowered, over-complex in 3.2-litre, four-wheel-drive form and cramped in the rear.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

But Alfa wanted to sell cars, hence offering both Brera and Spider in front-drive with 2.2 four-cylinder petrol and 2.4 five-pot turbodiesel engines, as well as the flagship V6.

It couldnʼt match the performance of the Nissan 350Z, but four-wheel drive made the 3.2 very surefooted and it would prove to have build quality far above that of previous Alfas.

More basic models were available in other markets, but in the UK all had SV spec with a panoramic glass roof, electric sunblind and heated leather seats.

Options included 18in wheels, electric seats, sat-nav and plusher leather.

In 2008 the V6 went front-drive, with all FWD models now fitted with an electronic limited-slip diff.

Special editions came in to boost sales, and Prodrive launched its 500-off S model in 2.2 and 3.2 forms, bizarrely with the glass roof blanked off and a full headlining.

Almost no front-drive V6s were sold in the UK other than the Prodrive S Breras; arguably the Q4 four-wheel drive 3.2 is the ultimate driverʼs car, but some claim the lighter FWD 3.2 is nimbler.

Todayʼs prices show that the S is most favoured, alongside the run-out 1750 TBi.

More reliable and with a better driving position than its predecessors, the Alfa Romeo Brera is an appealing buy; the Spider slightly less so due to its complex soft-top.

The Brera was an executive express, so high-mile diesels are common, but automatics are rare; Spiders tend to be lower mileage, usually petrol and occasionally autos.

Images: James Mann

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider: what to look for

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Trouble spots

Please see above for what to check for before you look at any Alfa Romeo Brera or Spider cars for sale.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider


All the GM/Fiat engines fitted in the Brera and Spider are reliable and impressively specified.

Look for signs of care and regular maintenance, and check the service history for recent replacement of the timing chain (petrol) or cambelt and water pump (diesel).

A full service history is a plus.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider


Check the leather trim for wear, especially on the side bolsters, and all instruments and switchgear for correct operation and function: replacements are scarce.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider


The suspension, steering and brakes work hard on these Alfa Romeo cars and can wear: look out for broken coil springs and listen/feel for any clonks, creaks and slack.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider


M32 manual gearboxes can suffer bearing wear, manifesting itself in whining on the move and crunching into gear.

Budget approximately £1000 for a rebuild.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Wheels and tyres

Check an Alfa Romeo Brera’s tyres for uneven wear indicating tired suspension, wheels for damage or corrosion, and brakes for rusty/scored discs.

Also listen for wheel-bearing noise.

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider: before you buy

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Learn the specifications and relative costs before you decide on your preferred model: relatively modern cars can be expensive to run as classics, with high car tax (2.2 £395, 3.2 £695), or low-emissions-zone charges for diesels.

Parts supply – except for most service items – is drying up, though itʼs encouraging to see specialists and owners rallying round with solutions, such as refurbished electric-window switches.

Bigger jobs, such as replacing the cambelt and water pump on diesels, and the timing chain on petrols, are costly relative to the value of the cars, and a complete exhaust system – especially for the V6 – will be very expensive if you can find one: most are now replaced with custom systems.

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Check for a full service history and evidence itʼs been carried out: unscrupulous garages will just replace the front spark plugs on V6s and leave the rears because they are hard to access.

A misfire may be old plugs, or failing coil packs. Diesels suffer issues with particulate filters.

The Spiderʼs soft-top is a lovely item when fully working, releasing and latching as well as folding automatically.

But it is prone to faults: new ECUs and hydraulic pumps are no longer available, but specialists can repair them.

Check underneath for corrosion, and ensure wheelarch liners are in place and undamaged: they are also unobtainable.

Suspension upper arms, balljoints, springs and wheel bearings all have a limited life: OE items are no longer available and pattern parts donʼt last as well.

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider price guide


  • 3.2S & TBi: £4000/8000/14,000*
  • 2.2S & Italia: £2000/5000/12,000*
  • 3.2: £1000/4000/9000*
  • 2.2 & 2.4TD: £700/2750/8000*

Early cars worth c25% less

*Prices correct at date of original publication

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider history

2005 Production Brera launched: FWD 2.2 petrol and 2.4 turbodiesel, and 4WD 3.2 V6 petrol (with Q-tronic auto option)

2006 Spider production begins

2007 2.4 turbodiesel option for Spider

2008 V6 now FWD, all get electronic limited-slip diff; ti trim (19in alloys, stiffer suspension); 2.2 Selespeed and 2.4TD Q-tronic options; UK-only Prodrive Brera S (500 built); Spider Limited Edition, 2.2 only; Mille Miglia Spider special edition (11 built)

2009 200bhp 1750 TBi turbo petrol and 170bhp 2.0 turbodiesel added; Italia Independent special edition (900 of each)

2010 Production ends

The owner’s view

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

James Gladwyn has had his V6 S 11 years: “The previous owner had done 63,000 miles in three years,” he recalls, “but it had a full service history and had only been used for long trips.

“I’ve added 36,000 miles. I also only use it for longer journeys and, with UK road tax at £695, keep it on SORN when I’m not using it.

“I try to keep on top of any issues with the car myself: I de-rusted and painted the rear Bilstein dampers (new ones are £1000!) and Hammerited the rear subframe.

“I had to have a front wing replaced, and the front subframe treated against rust.

“I’ve always loved Italian cars – I’ve had a Fiat X1/9 and an Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf in the past – but I have never before owned a car about which people come over to me and say, ‘What a beautiful car, what is it?’

“It’s great to drive and, although running costs are high, it hasn’t depreciated.”

Also consider

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider
Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

The Nissan 350Z (left) and Audi TT are alternative buys to an Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

Audi TT Mk1

Golf-based with 1.8 turbo or 3.2 V6, FWD or 4WD, the TT Coupé and Roadster are great-looking, quick and good value, with parts inexpensive and plentiful. V6 is faster than the Brera, too.

Sold 1998-2006 • No. built 275,339 • Price now £750-12,000*

Nissan 350Z

Coupé and Roadster outperformed and outsold the Alfa, with powerful 3.5 V6, macho looks and rear-drive. Durable, but beware track-abused cars and lower-spec Japanese imports.

Sold 2002-’09 • No. built c250,000 • Price now £3-12,500*

*Prices correct at date of original publication

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider: the Classic & Sports Car verdict

Classic & Sports Car – Buyer’s guide: Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider

These are great-looking cars that are enjoyable to drive and generally reliable.

Prices are all over the place because some dealers don’t know the specifications, so shop carefully: values for Brera and Spider are similar.

Cars that have been regularly used, serviced and garaged are the best buys; V6s are costly to tax and diesels incur emissions-zone charges, so choose accordingly.



  • Both the Alfa Romeo Brera and Spider boast stunning looks and rarity
  • Well supported by specialists and clubs
  • Servicing is straightforward
  • Reliability is good



  • Parts supply is poor for non-service parts
  • Tax is expensive for V6s
  • More costly jobs such as cambelt/timing-chain replacement are often neglected

Alfa Romeo Brera & Spider specifications

  • Sold/no built 2005-’11/21,661 Brera, 12,363 Spider
  • Construction steel monocoque
  • Engine all-alloy, dohc petrol 1742/2198cc 16v VVT ‘four’ (turbo on 1742cc) or 3195cc 24v V6, or iron-block, alloy-head, dohc turbodiesel 2387cc 20v ‘five’ or 1956cc 16v ‘four’, electronic direct fuel injection
  • Max power 169bhp @ 4000rpm to 260bhp @ 6300rpm
  • Max torque 170lb ft @ 4500rpm to 325lb ft @ 1500rpm
  • Transmission six-speed manual or auto, FWD/4WD
  • Suspension independent, at front by double wishbones, anti-roll bar rear multi-link; coil springs, telescopic dampers f/r
  • Steering power-assisted rack and pinion
  • Brakes vented front, vented or solid rear discs, with servo and ABS
  • Length 14ft 5-5¾in (4393-4410mm)
  • Width 6ft (1830mm)
  • Height 4ft 4-4¾in (1318-1341mm)
  • Wheelbase 8ft 3½in (2528mm)
  • Weight 3240-3726lb (1470-1690kg)
  • 0-60mph 9.1-6.8 secs
  • Top speed 134-155mph
  • Mpg 20-52
  • Price new £25,440-33,120 (2010)


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