Alfa Romeo Giulia: The Italian Alternative

By Geoff Maxted on 1 March, 2018

Resurrecting famous car names from the past is a good thing. There are too many motors known only by numbers. Where’s the automotive romance in that? Remember the gloriously sexy 1967 Giulia Sprint GT Veloce? Well, it’s 21stCentury namesake doesn’t conjure quite that much boy’s-bedroom-wall-poster lust but there’s no doubting it is a beautiful-looking car.

This is a ‘Super’ version and definitely a car you would look back at across a car park even in this rather unexciting shade of Silverstone Grey. It looks fast standing still. The neat integration of the front-to-back features – headlights, tail lamps, exhaust – make for a comprehensive design that pretty much beats all-comers on the car catwalk. The test car had optional run-flat tyres but they didn’t spoil the ride as some can do.

On The Road

Beauty is power but looks alone don’t butter those parsnips. There has to be some beef under the bonnet and, although our featured rear-wheel drive car is a diesel it accelerates fast, is a spirited ride and, overall, a fine-handling car.

Steering on the elegant wheel is ideal, weighting up as the speed increases. This is thanks to a new front suspension design delivering an a responsive pin-sharp road feel. Like Dr Strangelove your hand will automatically reach for the rotary DNA drive dial and turn it to Dynamic and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. The Alfa Romeo Giulia demands to be driven.

The 2.2L diesel (there’s a good range of alternatives) delivers maximum torque from 1,750rpm which, when combined with the perfectly mated ZF eight-speed automatic, gives the Giulia the legs to press on and overtake efficiently and safely. Obviously you don’t get the aural treats that come with overtly sporting motors; this car quietly gets on with the job, the engine just a murmur.

You can get faster versions of this vehicle but with this model payback comes in the guise of very acceptable fuel consumption which business users will appreciate. I saw an average of 48mpg although Alfa’s official figure is over 60mpg. Emissions are very acceptable too at just 109g/km which means a BIK rate at the time of writing at 21%. With wearying inevitability, expect that to change this April but at least you get a lot of car. It’s well featured as standard certainly but the snag is those optional extras are just so desirable that buyers might as well bite the bullet and load up. This one costs £40k.

Italian Interior

Inside, there is no mistaking that Italian influence. It’s very attractive. Leather seats that have contrast stitching sit low in the cabin hinting again at the performance heritage. It’s a characterful dashboard with it’s driver-focused swooping design and neat, efficient layout.

Of course, this being an Alfa Romeo there are a couple of quirks and disappointments. For a car that has prestige pretensions, the overall finish in the cabin isn’t quite up there with the posh German brands. Also, the door pockets (and it’s surprising how important these can be) are just too small. Although a big car externally, it does feel a little confined inside, not cramped, just more of a four than a five seater. The boot is good and deep but being a saloon not as handy as a hatch.

Should You Buy One?

This writer has owned two Alfa’s before so what do you think? Of course, I would. That’s the thing about Alfa Romeo; they can give you grief but are so beautiful you keep coming back for more, like a cuckolded husband.

Anyway; what would you prefer? A standard euro-box or some wilful excitement? With all the technology thrust at us in life, what do you want from your car? If we just allow our automotive passions to be usurped by driver-less vehicles, ride sharing with kebab-munching strangers and other ‘socially acceptable’ mundane transport what’s the point of cars at all? Go for it.

Geoff Maxted