AN ITALIAN NAMED GIULIA (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Alfa Romeo is a far more competitive proposition these days. For proof of that, you've only to look at this car - the Giulia. Jonathan Crouch reports on the improved version.
Ten Second Reviewword count: 58
Alfa Romeo's Giulia claims to embody the core elements which have made this Milanese marque one of the world's best-loved automotive brands. Distinctive Italian design, innovative powertrains, perfect weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best weight-to-power ratio in the class all promise much as this car goes up against models like Audi's A4 and BMW's 3 Series.
Backgroundword count: 279
At launch in 2017, the Giulia premium compact executive sports saloon was the first completely new mainstream Alfa we'd seen since the Giulietta in 2010. And it was the first rear wheel drive contender the marque had sold since the 75 model went out of production back in 1992. That was the last car to be developed by Alfa Romeo before Fiat took control of the company. Which is significant because prior to 2017, all the products launched by the brand had been front-driven and, to put it politely, very Fiat-orientated. To some extent, that explained the relative lack of success of the two sports saloons the firm had brought us prior to this Giulia's launch - the 156 of 1998 and the 159 of 2006. These stylish contenders had some, but unfortunately not all, of the basic elements really needed for a car of this kind: an ideally weighted rear-wheel drive chassis, superb handling, emotive looks and crisp, characterful high performance engines. Alfa itself knew this, having originally established these fundamentals in what could be seen as the very first car of this kind to be launched on the market, the original 'Type 105' Giulia model, which sold between 1962 and 1978. In reviving this famous badge, the brand also hoped to revive the unique appeal that once made its products so appealing and different. Certainly, the prospects seem promising with this modern Giulia. Can this car combine Alfa passion with the kind of sensible formula needed to make it a really credible alternative to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 models that dominate this segment? Let's check out this revised version and find out.
Driving Experienceword count: 301
Alfa knows it must bring it's a-game when it comes to engine technology in mainstream models, if it's to effectively take on German rivals. There are no significant changes to this improved Giulia beneath the bonnet - which is surprising given that most rivals are now offering various degrees of electrification. Still, thanks to perfect 50/50 weight distribution, a best in class power-to-weight ratio and innovative engine and driver technologies, the Giulia embodies everything a true Alfa Romeo should. Not only that, but this Italian contender remains one of the lightest mid-size saloons in the sector thanks to lightweight body structure and a carbon fibre driveshaft. The suspension sees a double wishbone set-up feature at the front, with a multi-link axle at the rear. There's also a clever semi-virtual steering axis set-up which optimises the filtering effect and guarantees rapid, accurate steering by keeping a constant caster trail in corners. Plus the Giulia continues to serve up plenty of Alfa character, featuring a soundtrack that Chief Engineer Roberto Fedeli says was created working in concert with musicians, who helped perfect this car's addictive engine note. There's no longer a diesel option, so the engine line-up is built around a 2.0-litre petrol unit producing 200 or 280hp. Or the twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 used in the top Quadrifoglio super saloon variant, this latter unit putting out 510hp. The Giulia gets a rear-wheel drive set-up, complete with classic 50:50 weight distribution and all models have to be ordered with auto transmission, an 8-speed unit. Pulling power is strong, whichever powerplant you select. The top turbocharged petrol unit offers 330Nm of torque. The range features a limited amount of 'Level 2' semi-autonomous driving tech - things like 'Lane keeping assist', 'Active blind spot' assistance, 'Active cruise control', a 'Traffic jam assistant' and 'Driver attention assist'.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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