Alfa's GTA version of the 147 has benefited from some serious body alterations. The result is a car that looks wider, lower and certainly more aggressive.
Alfa's GTA version of the 147 has benefited from some serious body alterations. The result is a car that looks wider, lower and certainly more aggressive.

Front wheelarches are wider to accommodate the familiar GTA telephone dial 17-inch wheels (225/45). An aggressive front airdam and headlights with black detailing put an aggressive and sinister look on the car's face.

At the rear, the GTA has a bigger, more sculptured bumper. The lower part of the 147 GTA's rear end looks completely different from the original model from boot floor level downward. The rear bumper contains a big extractor that is visibly divided by metal panels into one long horizontal opening and two smaller side openings. The extractor serves the aerodynamic function of carrying airflow from the front to the back of the car. The final touch is provided by two large oval exhaust tailpipes. Nine body colours are available.

The interior is given a race-car feel with the addition of a sporty three-spoke steering wheel, gear lever with leather gaiter and aluminium pedal covers and footrests with rubber inserts for better grip. The sports seats are trimmed in leather (either in black or two-tone black/grey). Just like the 156 GTA and other famous Italian sports cars of the past, the seats have a "ridged" horizontal design. The leather inserts of the door panels are of a similar design. The ceiling is grey-black, while the boot trim is completely black. The same applies to the sun visors, courtesy light and pillars. Sill plates have a satinised metal insert bearing the wording GTA. The sporty instrument panel remains much the same, but it has special gauges and a black background.

Standard features include; cruise control, Bose sound system with CD front loader, electric front windows, Bi-zone climate control, electrically adjustable and heated exterior mirrors, heated front seats with lumbar support and electrically adjustable seatbacks, height-adjustable driver's seat and a height- and reach adjustable steering wheel with remote audio controls. The safety package is equally comprehensive. Dual front airbags, front side airbags and window airbags are fitted.

Under the pumped up body are some seriously modified bits of hardware. Double wishbone suspension is used in front and consists of a cast-iron lower arm, a steel strut and a light alloy upper arm. The coaxial spring/damper unit is connected to the body via a flexible mount, and to the lower arm via light alloy fork.

The MacPherson rear suspension has also undergone several technical improvements. The geometry and the constructional details have both been revised. The outcome is a different body attachment position; special spring setting; different shock absorber and bush stiffness; and a bigger anti-roll bar.

The ventilated discs measure 330 mm in front and 276 mm solid discs are used at the back. Brembo brake calipers are used. ABS and EBD are also fitted.

More importantly, however, the 147 GTA features the sophisticated VDC dynamic stability control system. VDC incorporates MSR and ASR(the former moderates brake torque while changing down through the gears while the latter limits wheel slip during acceleration).

VDC cuts in under extreme conditions when car stability is at risk and also helps the driver control the car. Alfa Romeo is adamant that VDC does not intrude on the sporty character of the GTA. Instead, "it allows the driver to enjoy the full satisfaction of controlling the car as long as conditions remain normal and does not cut in until the situation is just about to become critical." VDC is permanently engaged.

At the heart of the 147 GTA is the same 3.2 V6 24 valve engine fitted to the 156 GTA. It develops a mighty 184 kW at 6 200 r/min and 300 N.m of torque at 4 800. Power is routed to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. Combined with the GTA's relatively low weight, the result is explosive performance. Top speed is 246 km/h and the 0-100 km/h dash is a claimed 6,3 seconds.