Alfa Romeo GTV6 (1981)

From 1974 to 1989, Alfa Romeo sold 135,000 copies of the Alfetta GT / GTV coupe. This car was derived from the Alfetta sedan. Both cars shared the same 1.6 / 1.8 / 2.0 twin-cam engines and a very unique drivetrain: a transaxle incorporating gearbox, clutch and differential mounted at the rear axle to give near perfect balance. Besides, both the coupe and sedan gave up traditional live axle and went for a semi-independent de Dion tube rear suspension. The result was much improved road holding, especially in the case of the coupe. The coupe, designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, was also very beautiful while boosting a real 4-seater cabin. However, it was quite underpowered. Without the addition of the excellent V6 engine, it would have never entered our classic car archives.

In 1981, Alfa Romeo introduced a 2.5-litre V6 into the car. The resultant flagship coupe was named GTV6. To accommodate the bigger engine, the GTV6 got a bonnet with trademark power bulge.

 The new engine immediately won overwhelming praises from motor journalists and car lovers. It was extremely smooth, free-revving and powerful. Equally important, it made great sound. This 60-degree, all-alloy V6 sacrificed Alfa Romeo's traditional twin-cam layout for the cheaper single cam per bank, but the exhaust valves were driven by the camshafts via pushrods so that it maintained the cross-flow combustion chambers. It produced 160 horsepower and 157 lbft of torque, remarkable by the standard of mass production coupes during the early 1980s.

For many years, the V6 was regarded as the best V6 in mass production. Even after the GTV6 died in 1989, the V6 continued to evolve and powered many other Alfa cars, such as 75, 164, 155, GTV/Spider, 156, 166 and 147 GTA. During its 25 years life, it was enlarged to 3-litre and eventually 3.2-litre, with valve gears upgraded to quad-cam and 4 valves per cylinder.

Thanks to the V6, GTV6 could out-survive other Alfetta GT / GTV coupes. When it phased out in 1989, Alfa Romeo no longer had a rear-drive coupe (except the limited edition SZ). A great era came to an end. The next GTV coupe in 1995 would be changed to front-wheel drive…


Year of production
No. produced
GTV6: 21,695 units (all Alfetta coupes: 135,000 units)
Layout, Gearbox
Front-engined, Rwd, 5M
V6, sohc, 2v/cyl
Engine capacity
2492 cc
160 hp
157 lbft
1227 kg
Top speed
132 mph* / 130 mph** / 133 mph***
0-60 mph
8.1 sec* / 8.8 sec** / 8.2 sec***
* Tested by Fast Lane
** Tested by Autocar
*** Tested by Motor

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