Alfa Ascari 200 Review:
“A Diesel hot hatch that delivers power and economy on top of its Italian good looks.”
Whilst recently selling my Giulietta Cloverleaf, the boys at Veloces gave me the chance to drive their new prototype, aptly named the ‘Ascari 200’.
I’m 17, and a very lucky 17 year old at that. My first car was a 2012 Giulietta Cloverleaf, and it was a car I truly cut my teeth on. I learnt to drive in it, I even passed my test in it. 6 months of ‘spirited’ driving has been in a Cloverleaf and I am confident enough to say that I know the car and it’s limits. So when I was given the opportunity to test drive the diesel, I jumped at the chance, safe in the knowledge that I’d easily be able to handle the lowered powered car.
Pulling out of the drive, I calmly reached 20mph in 2nd before planting my foot to the floor to compare acceleration. At this speed, a cloverleaf would pick up nicely and would continue to accelerate into 3rd, 4th, etc. The Ascari was different though, it went mad. The wheels screeched as it pounced forward, tyres barely keeping up with the rate of acceleration. I quickly learnt that this car commanded respect, with usable low down power being in abundant supply.
One thing that did impress me was the drivability. In the cloverleaf, you’ve got to have tiny delicate feet to avoid redlining the car whilst slowly pulling away in dynamic mode. The Ascari is much more refined however, and pulls away with some dignity. The only thing that phased me was the heavy, sporty steering, however this was also present on my Cloverleaf and the fact I drive a Jaguar doesn’t particularly help!
Up to 80mph, I’d say the Ascari could keep pace with the Cloverleaf; eventually bhp would defeat torque; however in real life, the Ascari offers a much more usable and practical alternative for daily life. On extended journeys, the car can run at 140bhp delivering a frugal fuel return, and regularly achieves 45 Mpg on brisk long runs. Additionally, road tax is only £30 a year and insurance for someone like me is considerably cheaper than any equivalent.
Handling is impressive, the car feels more agile than the Cloverleaf due to the front strut brace fitted by Veloces and around tight corners, the benefits are clear to see. The sheer torque delivered by the engine at this stage is however a tad overwhelming for the standard gearbox, and the Q2 electronic differential is essential for a donor car to reduce understeer.
The biggest appeal to the Ascari is the personal specification you can choose. This particular one runs 159 19” Ti wheels, which look very tasteful in white. However my favourite is the Brera 19” Prodrives in High gloss black with Brembo callipers. If this is your preference, Veloces will source you the perfect car in your colour and with your accessories, before tailoring it completely around your budget and style.
Did someone say a bespoke 200bhp hot hatch that delivers 45mpg and looks like a Monza track car for under 10k?
If you’re a true Alfisti, this ticks all the boxes.