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Tradeoffs: The Alfa Romeo GTV vs. BMW 2002

September 24, 2011 by Matt

Alfa Alpha Romeo 1750 2000 GTV Orange

To paraphrase Jeremy Clarkson, you can’t call yourself a true car buff until you’ve experienced Alfa Romeo ownership. In that case, Mr. Clarkson, I’ll take one of these: a ’67-’76 1750/2000 GTV coupe.

Coming, as I do, from a BMW background, I can’t help but compare and contrast the GTV and its Bavarian contemporary, the vaunted BMW 2002.

Alfa Alpha Romeo 1750 2000 GTV Rear Back Trunk Green

There are quite a few similarities: Round headlights with a brand-specific element in the center of the grille, dimensions are within a few inches of each other, front-mounted 4-cylinder engines of almost identical capacity, rear-wheel-drive and manual transmissions. The GTV’s and 2002’s model runs mirrored each other, and they were both somewhat transitional models, bridging a gap between the their manufacturers’ truly old-school vehicles and their newer offerings, technology-wise. Most significantly, they were both prized for their excellent chassis tuning and balance, which in both cases delivered superior handling—arguably the highlight of both cars.

Alfa Alpha Romeo 1750 2000 GTV Interior Inside Cockpit

As numerous and significant as the similarities are, it’s their differences that define the cars not only with respect to each other, but to the automotive world at large. Perhaps the most obvious is the styling: The 2002’s boxy, sober yet confident styling holds a certain appeal, but the GTV is on another plane entirely. Designed by Bertone, the proportions and details are not only spot-on, they’re downright seductive. The BMW is a car you glance at and smile; the Alfa encourages long, contemplative leers. The interiors are a similar story: The 2002’s is more forward-looking and plastic, whereas the GTV is a romantic throwback with its wood trim and fancifully upswept shifter base. And both cars are well-known for their reliability—the BMW for its bulletproof durability and the Alfa for its lack of it.

So, which to choose? The clichéd decision is embodied in the similarities and differences between the GTV and 2002: Everything else being equal, would you rather have matter-of-fact German functionality or Italian passion and élan? For me, knowing how much character BMW still managed to pack into their little mold-breaker, it would be a truly difficult choice.

Filed under: Alfa Romeo

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