Road test / Alfa Romeo
Saturday 02 March 1996
Into the range-topping Cloverleaf goes the 150bhp two-litre twin-spark straight four which, along with fab styling, forms the foundation of the current Alfa renaissance. On to that is bolted a new five-speed gearbox, while the suspension is lowered by 10mm all round, fattet rubber is fitted and the steering improved.
Around town, sufficient low-rev urge and a blacklash-free driveline make the Cloverleaf a doddle to drive, while out on the windy bits the engine reaches eagerly for 6500rpm with a pleasing mechanical fizz. Responsive and refined, it is swift and handles even better than its booted sister, the 146ti. A cracking motor car.
Alfa Romeo 145 Cloverleaf pounds 14,884.40
2.0 litre straight-four engine, 150bhp, five-speed manual gearbox. Top speed 130 mph, 0-100 kmh (62mph) 8.4 sec, average fuel consumption 34.2 mpg
Volkswagon Golf 2.0 GTi 16v 3-door, pounds 15,575
Honda Civic. 1.6VTi 3 door, pounds 15,495
Peugeot 30C XSi 2.0 3-door, pounds 13,910
Ford Escort RS 2000, pounds 13,995
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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