Street-Spotted: Alfa Romeo GTV Coupe

alfa romeo gtv
Street-Spotted: Alfa Romeo GTVAutoweek

In 2024 you still have a good chance of spotting an Alfa Romeo on the streets of this country. But perhaps not this Alfa Romeo.

That's because the GTV never officially made it here, and has only become eligible for importation in the past four years.

Alfa Romeo left the US in 1995, just a couple of years after the long-lived Spider was finally allowed to retire, enduring facelifts up until the last moment.

But as the Spider was sent upstate to a farm where it could run around with all the other aged Italian cars, Alfa Romeo was really down to just the 164 sedan when it came to sales, after the Milano/75 exited the stage.


The new-generation GTV and Spider were the duo that arrived smack in the middle of the 1990s, but neither made it stateside despite arguably holding the greatest promise for reviving the brand's fortunes on this side of the Atlantic.

Collectively known as the Type 916 among the Alfisti, the duo ushered in an entirely new design direction, serving up a wedge-like profile along with softened angles. The Pininfarina design is unmistakably a product of the mid-‘90s.

alfa romeo gtv
The coupe and Spider arrived in the mid 1990s to revitalize Alfa’s range of affordable sports cars, but they also arrived just as Alfa left the US.Autoweek

But the design of the GTV solidified much earlier, having been previewed in 1991 by the Proteo concept in Geneva.

Of course, technologically it was several generations ahead of the recently departed Spider.

"The theme of the sports coupe is one of the most fascinating," the GTV's UK brochure said at the time. "It has always been the realm of Italian stylists and Alfa Romeo cars. The line of the Alfa GTV is born out of cooperation with Pininfarina—joint research and design activities that have created unmistakable styling."

Okay, so this UK brochure sounds extremely translated from Italian. Can we have some more extremely obvious observations?

"The car has a wedge shape, with deep grooves along the sides. The tracks are wide and the wings are generous to underline its muscular strength," the UK brochure adds.

The wedge shape is pretty noticeable, we have to admit, and it will remind most of our readers of the Acura Integra of the time. In fact, this Alfa was even parked next to an Integra when we spotted it in this field of parked cars.

The real question is: Would it have been a competitor to the Integra were it offered stateside at the time?

The answer is probably no, as the two buyer demographics would have probably been decades apart in age. Integra shoppers weren't going to an Alfa Romeo dealership even before Alfa left the US.

But in test drives of the time the GTV racked up quite a few plaudits and awards, especially for its handling, if not straight-line blasts from red lights.

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The Pininfarina design has aged pretty well over the past 30 years, we’d argue.Autoweek

While the smaller engines on the menu included 1.8- and 2.0-liter inline-fours, the real stars of the lineup were the 3.0- and 3.2-liter V6 engines, though a turbocharged 2.0-liter V6 was also offered during the model's run, as strange as that setup looks on paper.

Overall, the timing of the engine options in the lineup were pretty complex, and not all were available in all model years and not all were intended for every pocket, especially in countries with hefty taxes for engine displacement.

But tuners came to the rescue, offering to sweeten the suspension and the output of the inline-four models, with companies like Autodelta in the UK offering a 30-hp bump for the 2.0-liter inline-four, bringing the total up to 180 hp.

The 24-valve V6 models are more sought-after examples these days, serving up north of 200 hp, or 237 hp in the case of the 3.2-liter version. But the more affordable inline-four examples could also be worth a look if you don't want to spend top lira, and if you were importing one mostly for its design and handling.

Is this a car that one would import for its performance and handling, or for the Pininfarina design? Let us know what you think in the comments below.