Wednesday, August 26, 2009

...the question is, how does it go?

Step 1.

Insert the key card into its slot. The card is more like a thick slab of packaged butter you get at a hotel restaurant.

Step 2.

Step on the brakes and press the start button on the left of the steering wheel.
The engine instantly roars to life then dies down into a low hum. Weird.
Not like an Alfa at all.

Step 3.

Drive like you're insane.

Well no, not really. You see the 2.2 JTS uses a Selespeed gearbox. The Alfa Selespeed system patented by Magneti Marelli is both an automatic and a manual.
In Manual mode, you push the lever up to change to lower gears. Push the lever down to change to upper gears. Your left foot will be happy because there is no clutch to work with!

To go into automatic mode you have to pull the gear lever to the right and hold for 2 seconds. The electronics will then set the car into D.
Drive as usuall, however, Alfa's do not behave like your typical German or Japanese car. In order for the gear to shift up, you need to let go of the accelerator from time to time.

It takes practice because you have to time your right foot in order to synchronise with your gear changes.

At low speeds the car is happy enough to trundle along and not spur you on to go faster. But secretly wishes that you make it run a little when you see a straight empty road ahead by flooring the throttle. 8 seconds is all it takes to get to 100 kmph and should you have a heavy foot, run all 6 gears and you'll find the speedometer reaching 220kmph very quickly. All in a car that weighs 1.6 tonnes!

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