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Bellissimo Alfa

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To drag customers away from purchasing an Audi A4, Mercedes C-class or others in this segment you need a solid offering. Mediocre just won’t do. Alfa Romeo is hoping it has the recipe for success with its latest Alfa Romeo Giulia. If the offering has some genuine Italian flare then customers may just be persuaded to try something different, but it needs to be good to put Alfa Romeo back in contention within this segment. So, has Alfa cracked it and delivered a genuine alternative?

Well first impressions are good and it certainly drives well with some fun handling. It’s both interesting and engaging. Our test model was the 2.2-litre diesel with 180hp and 450Nm of torque and it delivered more than enough power for everyday needs. The four-cylinder engine is new and made in Italy and throughout my time with the car I found the eight-speed auto box which is the only transmission option very good. There are also large chunky real metal paddles on the inside so a very nice touch I thought and they have a great feel to them, compared to what a lot of manufacturers offer. The Giulia is the first rear wheel drive offering in twenty years from the brand and the first thing you notice when behind the wheel is the quick accurate steering which livens up back road journeys. The car feels balanced and well poised with the suspension being able to absorb the roughness of a back road but also offering the comfort needed on a calm motorway journey.

The range is made up of two diesel offerings. Our version or another 2.2-litre version with 150hp. A 2.0-litre petrol option is available with 200hp. There is another option if you consider the 510hp V6 Bi-Turbo Ferrari developed engine of the Giulia Quadrifoglio. Realistically our test model will be an ideal option for both economy and power so I suspect the 2.2-litre JTD 180hp to be the popular choice among buyers. The diesel is a little noisy at idle but the same goes for many others within the segment to be fair. Both diesel options have the same economy so it’s really only the pricing that may sway you either way.

Step inside and you’ll be greeted with plenty of space for front seat passengers. The Giulia has a long wheelbase and this means excellent rear legroom for those in the back. The same goes for head room. Driving position is good and comfortable with pedals and steering wheel well positioned. Long journeys should be something to enjoy in the Giulia. The steering wheel is very comfortable and comes with a neat Ferrari inspired ignition button. A nice little touch I feel. The interior is a nice and comfortable place to spend time in, however it doesn’t match its German rivals. It is a leap forward for the brand and can only get better though. The infotainment system is logical to use with good sat nav and a rotary operating dial like you find in a BMW but doesn’t have the same resolution quality or match its competition for functionality. Each version of the Giulia has Bluetooth and USB connectivity, DAB radio and option of 6.5 inches and 7 inch screens. The boot space is identical to its German rivals but the opening a little narrower. The rear seats can be folded to make extra space if needed although check with your local dealer as this is potentially an optional extra.

The Euro NCAP is the industry standard crash test organisation and it awarded the Giulia five stars out of five. All models come with lane departure warning and an autonomous emergency braking system that monitors the road ahead and can warn the driver if an impact with either another car or a pedestrian is imminent. If the driver fails to respond the car can then brake itself to avoid a collision. Adaptive cruise control and blind spot monitors are available as options.

Conclusion
I previously owned an Alfa Romeo V6 GTV years ago so do have a soft spot for the brand but have remained very fair in assessing this new offering. This has been a long time coming and I think Alfa Romeo has a solid car with the Giulia. It matches rivals in many areas and is playing catch up in others such as its interior storage space, some better quality interior switchgear needed which is a little frustrating as where it falls down is only on minor things that realistically could have been sorted but on the plus side it’s a more stylish car than the competition giving customers something different. It drives very well, is solidly built and is comfortable along with being priced just right. If you’re looking at the usual suspects take time out to drive the Giulia as it really is worth a test drive and rather than blend in you will have something very unique with stunning looks that also drives well.

Technical Specification
Model Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 JTD 180hp Super Sport
Engine Size 2.2-litre four-cylinder
Fuel Type Diesel
Power 180hp
Torque 450Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) 7.1 seconds
Top Speed 230 km/h
Consumption 4.2/100km or 67.3 mpg
CO2 Emissions 109g/km
Road Tax €190 per year (A3)
Base Price €39,995
Our Test Model €43,996