Alfa Romeo Giulia
Alfa Romeo have been on something of a product offensive recently. It wasn’t that long ago that, after the sad demise of the excellent 8C, they only offered a small hatchback (Mito), a medium hatchback (Giulietta) or a 2-seater sports car that split opinions in the shape of the 4C.
Not any more, though. They now sell an SUV that’s going down well (Stelvio) and what we have here, their latest mid-size saloon; the Giulia.
Just. So. Pretty
The first thing that you’ll not fail to notice about the Giulia is the styling. It’s stunning. Whilst the Germans have apparently got themselves embroiled in something of a bun-fight with their equivalent D-segment offerings, adding shouty grilles and power bulges etc, Alfa Romeo have been busy quietly doing what they do best. They’ve gone and designed what is, and no arguments here, far and away the prettiest car in class. It’s achingly beautiful. You WILL look back when you leave the Giulia in a car park, especially if you go for the slightly larger wheels which leaves it sitting perfectly on its haunches.
Starting at the rear, there’s minimal overhang with a relatively short boot lid before the rear window gently slopes upwards. The front window line is an even more gentle rake, all of which emphasises the length of the bonnet and adds a slippery, coupe-esque air to what’s essentially a 4-door saloon.
There’s plenty of gentle, undulating lines in the bodywork, the most noticeable one being the scoop running from the front wheel arch to the rear door handle. You won’t find a sharp fold, crease or fin anywhere though, everything just seems to meld together seamlessly. What Alfa have done with the front of the Giulia, though, is add just a touch of aggression. There’s the signature triangular grille flanked by some pretty serious looking headlights and the registration plate mounted to one side; it’s only Alfa Romeo that seem to get away with non-symmetrical design features.
Is the Giulia’s interior any good, though?
Alfa interiors have usually lived up to the bodywork in terms of flair and eye-catching shapes, and this Giulia is no different. You sit low down, closer to the ground than you might expect, feeling cosseted by the buttresses flanking transmission tunnel. The instrument binnacles are circular pods, echoing Alfa Romeos of old. The dials are ‘proper’ needles and faces, too, but now they give a couple of heartbeat tempo flashes when you get in; it’s a play on an existing concept, but we like it nonetheless.
The way the 8.8” infotainment system blends seamlessly into the curved dashboard is sheer class and the system itself is easy to use via the now familiar click-wheel. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto have recently been added to the options list at £250; I’d always tick this box but you could live quite happily with the standard system.
So, the interior is visually impressive. Yeah, it’s an Alfa Romeo, nothing new there. What might surprise you, though, is how well screwed together it feels. Traditionally an area where all Italian carmakers fall down is preventing pieces of interior trim randomly falling off/snapping. I challenge anyone to find a switch, dial or any other tactile area in the Giulia that feels less than the level of solidarity you’d want for this money. It seems they’re finally starting to take interior quality seriously and the blend of style and refinement is endearing.
Giulia trims and engines
You can have your Giulia in either standard Giulia, Super, Speciale, Tecnica or Veloce flavour, with either a 150 or 180bhp 2.2l diesel or the 200bhp 2.0l petrol engine, all mated to an 8 speed ZF automatic transmission. There is, of course, the Quadrifogolio too, but that’s for another time. This is the Giulia Super and it comes with DAB, 17” wheels, rear parking sensors, automatic lights and wipers, auto emergency brake and lane departure warning.
There’s a second click-wheel on all Giulias with d,n & a options. It’s slightly tenuous but they stand for dynamic, natural & advanced efficiency respectively, altering the steering, transmission and suspension where possible. Yes, Alfa Romeo have shoe-horned ‘DNA’ into their cars, but this is one of the few occasions where the difference between each mode is genuinely noticeable.
Petrol or diesel Giulia?
The Super is the only Giulia that’s available with all three engines, the cheapest of which being the petrol at £31,575. It’s not the price of the petrol that’s its redeeming feature, though, it’s how damn good it feels. Admittedly our test car was fitted with the optional Performance Pack which might sound a tad steep at £1,950, but if you want to explore the full potential of your Giulia, frankly it’s a no-brainer.
For your money, the Performance Pack gives you paddle shifts, adaptive suspension an a limited slip differential. You can keep your paddle shifts; they’re fixed in place and therefore so big that they actually get in the way of the indicator & wiper stalks. The adaptive suspension and LSD, however, are worth every penny. Put the Alfa in dynamic mode and these performance add ons bring the Giulia to life; you’ll honestly be wondering how a sub £35K 4-door saloon can feel so utterly uninhibited. The steering is weighted perfectly, reacting to every input without ever feeling jittery and the whole car just feels so well balanced. Dynamic mode also allows the rear wheels to step out just enough to get the heart rate up before intervening as enthusiasm potentially outweighs skill.
Should I buy a Giulia?
You could, of course, spend silly amounts of money speccing your Giulia, but if you don’t fancy hyper-miling and can justify the petrol, the Super with the Performance Pack and 18” wheels could be all the car you’d ever need.
By Ben Harrington
Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.0 Turbo Petrol 200bhp Super Specifications:
Engine – 2.0l 4-cyl petrol, Layout – Front engine, RWD, Transmission – 8-speed automatic, Power – 200bhp, Acceleration – 0-62mph – 6.6s, Maximum Speed – 146mph, Maximum Torque – 330Nm @ 1750 rpm, Economy – 47.9 mpg combined, Emissions – 138g/km CO2, Price – £31,575 OTR, £43,390 as tested
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is available now. For full details go to; www.alfaromeo.co.uk