The Alfa Romeo Diva Was A Beautiful Concept Ahead Of Its Time

The Alfa Romeo brand is no stranger to producing some of the automotive industry's best-looking and thought-provoking production cars and concept vehicles. Although Alfas have a lingering stigma regarding day-to-day reliability, dyed-in-the-wool enthusiasts mainly buy an Alfa for how it looks. Its concept cars are no ugly ducklings either, as the brand is renowned for its hand-bitingly gorgeous experimental vehicles. Cars like the 1964 Canguro, the Alfa Romeo Giulia 1600 Sport, and the unforgettable Alfa Romeo 2uettottanta from 2010 (essentially an update of the 1966 Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider) still linger in the hearts and minds of Alfistis worldwide.

However, there's a particular Alfa Romeo concept car from 2006 that not only looks the part but was used as a platform for breakthrough innovations and production methods used today (per Classic Driver). We're talking about the gorgeous Alfa Romeo Diva concept, one of the best Alfa Romeo concept cars in the automaker's 112-year (and counting) history.

Alfa Romeo Diva concept: homage to the world's most beautiful car

We can argue all day about the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale being the world's most beautiful car, but it's hard to put into words the beauty and majesty of those curvy haunches, gullwing doors, and vintage race car-inspired headlights. The Tipo 33 is also rare, with only 18 units built from 1967 to 1969. With such exclusivity, the Tipo 33 is also one of the most expensive vintage Alfa Romeos, commanding prices up to $9.7 million (€10 million) per Motorified.

Since the Alfa Romeo Diva pays homage to the Tipo 33 Stradale, it had some pretty big shoes to fill and did it quite nicely. The Diva's exquisite countenance results from a partnership between Alfa Romeo Stile, the Elasis research center of the Fiat Group, and the Espera automotive design school led by Franco Sbarro. The latter is known for conceptualizing the weirdest concept cars (per Goodwood) that breach the fine line between beauty and quirkiness. Still, the universe aligned for both forces to create the Diva concept car, one of the best-looking concepts we wish became a reality.

All the right moves, except for the engine

The Alfa Romeo Diva has some elements that evoke the glorious persona of the Tipo 33 Stradale. It's just as small and compact as a Fiat Punto, but it squats with aggression courtesy of its voluminous, delicately caressed body panels. It also has gullwing doors (with windows that extend to the roof), A-pillar-mounted side mirrors, and an F1-inspired snout with a double-decker front diffuser and bumper. Meanwhile, the rear styling harks back to classic Alfas with central-mounted dual exhausts and round taillights.

The Diva may resemble the short-lived Alfa Romeo 4C while sharing the same rear mid-engine layout, but the former has a mightier 3.6-liter Busso V6 that pumps out 290 horsepower. Connected to a six-speed Selespeed semi-automatic transmission sending power to the rear wheels, the Diva could accelerate from zero to 60 mph in five seconds thanks to its reinforced carbon fiber chassis derived from the Alfa 159 sedan. It also came with electronic suspension and electrically adjustable brakes.

But then again, the Busso V6 was in production from 1979 to 2005, making it seriously outdated to cope with modern emissions and homologation requirements. Classic Driver adds that the engine was too heavy and contributed significantly to the Diva concept's over 1,000 kg (2,205 pounds) weight, a sacrilege compared to the Tipo 33 Stradale's 700 kilos (1,543 pounds). Alfa never meant to push the green light for production, but the Diva is a reminder that beauty is always part of the plan when conceptualizing an Alfa Romeo.