After a year of intensive suspension and chassis development at Prodrive, the world-leading motorsport specialist, the result is a sports coupe that subtly enhances all that is good about the original Alfa Romeo Brera, while bestowing it with outstanding driver feedback and handling.
Power comes from a choice of two existing direct injection petrol engines - the 185 bhp 2.2 JTS and the 260 bhp 3.2 V6 JTS.
Briefed to make the Alfa Romeo Brera S less of a long-distance tourer and more sporty on UK roads, the engineering team at Prodrive developed a unique suspension set-up. Prodrive engineers meticulously experimented with spring rates and ride heights to match the reduced weights of the 2008 model year Alfa Breras. Then followed an extensive damper tuning exercise to achieve the desired ride/handling balance and steering response required by driving enthusiasts in the UK.
The sports car driving experience is achieved by reducing roll and pitch, flattening the cornering attitude, and subsequently instilling confidence-inspiring steering.
To reduce roll and pitch and achieve an even flatter cornering attitude, Prodrive commissioned bespoke Eibach coil springs and Bilstein dampers.
Spring rates are increased by over 50 per cent compared to the standard Alfa Brera, giving the car a more nimble and agile feel, while the specially tuned gas-filled mono-tube dampers give tighter body control. A careful balance has been created to maintain good compliance over ridges and bumps in the road.
At the same time, the suspension static geometry has also been revised to optimise steering and handling. These changes, together with new 19" alloy wheels and Pirelli PZero Nero tyres, have created a more responsive turn-in to corners, with increased driver feedback, allowing the driver to explore the dynamic limits of the car.
To further enhance suspension geometry, the cars have been lowered by 10 mm front and rear. This lower centre of gravity helps reduce roll and improve cornering and braking performance. In addition, the lowered suspension gives the Alfa Romeo Brera S a more purposeful stance.
At each corner of the Alfa Romeo Brera S, unique Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione-inspired, lightweight 19" alloy wheels have been fitted. Although the wheels are eye-catching, the all-new design was commissioned by Prodrive primarily for performance, rather than just cosmetic appeal. The reason is unsprung weight - the weight carried by the car on the 'road side' of the spring and shock absorber. This plays a significant role in the way the car steers, handles and transmits feedback to the driver.
The lighter the wheel, the better it tracks undulations in the road surface without requiring heavy damping to control it. The unsprung weight has been further reduced by the adoption of hollow anti-roll bars and aluminium suspension components from the Factory.
As a result, the weight of both Alfa Romeo Brera S models is lower than the rest of the range. The front-wheel drive 3.2 V6 JTS is almost 100 kg lighter than the Q4 version and the 2.2 JTS version weighs 35 kg less.
The Alfa Romeo Brera S also sounds different from the standard range. The original characteristic growl of the V6 has been enhanced by careful redesign of the rear silencers. Thanks to a Holmholtz resonator connected in tandem with each silencer, the 2.2 JTS model now emits a sportier yet refined burble.
The exhaust has been altered to mirror the shape of the rear lights. Finished with chrome embellishers, they feature a Prodrive logo on the tailpipe exterior. This is just one of several subtle exterior enhancements to the award-winning Alfa Romeo Brera, including Prodrive branded front stone deflectors, and a bespoke red 'S' or 'SV6' on the C-pillar.
Inside the 3.2 V6 JTS Alfa Romeo Brera S, changes are more obvious. Not only are the supportive sports seats upholstered in soft black Frau® leather with red stitching, so are the dashboard fascia, door panels, steering wheel and gearlever. The centre console and instruments are faced in a dark finish. This interior can also be specified on the 2.2 JTS version.
Foot pedals are fashioned from drilled aluminium and the headrest recess houses a limited edition Brera S aluminium plate, featuring the flags of Italy and Britain.
For the record, the 2.2 JTS and 3.2 V6 JTS Alfa Romeo Brera S can reach 62 mph from rest in 8.6 and 7.0 seconds respectively, on the way to maximum speeds of 139 and 155 mph.