The Alfa Romeo Giulia is tailor-made for anyone bored with the oh-so-familiar line-up of German executive saloons in their company car list.
Few car-making countries offer a finer-looking four-wheeled breath of fresh air compared to Italians. Unlike any of its predecessors, the Giulia should not be disregarded as an oddball or irrational option, even if it is a niche one; there is more material to back up the style that time around.
Constructed on a new rear-wheel-drive platform, the Giulia is the first installment in a range overhaul which, Alfa Romeo asserts, will put each one of its versions in a class-leading position for handling and performance.
This change from front to rear-wheel driveway enables the car to sit comfortably next to rivals like the BMW 3 Series, and Mercedes C-Class compared to older 159 did while using lightweight aluminum from the car’s structure and bodywork ought to be good news for efficacy. Remember also, that besides BMW and Mercedes, the Giulia is taking on our former Car of the Year in Audi’s A4, and the Jaguar XE, also.
The engine range consists of 2.2-liter diesel with 148 or 178bhp, two 2.0-liter turbocharged petrol with 197bhp or 276bhp, and a range-topping twin-turbo V6 Quadrifoglio variant with 503bhp. All include an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard; there is no option of a manual.
The Giulia combines a smooth, eloquent ride with well-balanced managing — the latter distinguishing it from it is not as between rivals like the Audi A4.
Lower-end variations of this Giulia come on 16 and 17in alloy wheels, while the top-of-the-range Quadrifoglio version rides on 19in wheels, stiffer springs, and elastic dampers. Although there’s tons of difference in the driving adventures of entry-level and high-tech versions, even the 2.2-liter petrol has swift handling responses and can be enjoyed through corners, and the Giulia’s steering is quick and guides on all versions, delivering great straight-line stability.
The diesel engines are a bit rough, but they do quieten down in a cruise and pull quite hard through the middle of the rev range, where the eight-speed automatic gearbox keeps the motor most of the time.
Alfa’s 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is much more potent, sounds better and revs more easily. Its more active and willing repertoire is a much better fit for your car’s handling compared to diesel-engined versions. In reality, it is more fun to drive fast than its rivals from BMW, Mercedes, and Audi, even though it can not quite match the dynamic prowess of Jaguar’s XE. The 280 Veloce is faster than the typical petrol option, but it does not turn the Giulia to a snarling sports car.
The Quadrifoglio version competes with other super-saloons like the BMW M3, and it contains the taut and flexible handling characteristics of a real sporting good, although brake pedal feel could have been better in the case we drove. The Alfa’s V6 engine has lots of personalities, but it does not feel quite as dominant in the actual world as that 503bhp suggests. Over short sprints, however, it is guaranteed to put a grin on your face.
The Giulia’s driver’s seat is set low and permits you to embrace a hunkered-down position facing well-positioned pedals and a widely adjustable steering wheel with a pleasingly slim rim.
There is quite a noticeable gap in substance richness between entry-level automobiles and high-value cases fitted with Alfa’s Luxury package; just the latter obtaining the leather-wrapped dash pads and wood veneers which the car needs to bear comparison with the likes of the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class. Regardless of the trim level, the Giulia features some quite cheap-feeling buttons — on its dashboard especially — which do not belong in any automobile sold at a premium cost. Its regular steering wheel and optional paddles feel much more convenient.
The infotainment system is controlled with a rotary controller and relayed through an 8.8in color screen that looks as if from nowhere behind a smoke display. Just average graphics quality, a slightly dim screen and a little muddled and confusing menu performance down it, however.
Entry-level cars get dual-zone climate control and cruise control as standard, but it is well worth updating to’Giulia Super’ trim level for the sake of part-leather chairs, wheel-mounted paddle shifters for the eight-speed gearbox and the more opulent touches in the cabin. In this spec, the Giulia feels like more of a game because of its predominantly German contest.
Space & practicality
The Alfa Romeo Giulia is not the simplest of executive saloons to climb into, using a rather low roofline and low-set chairs, but as soon as you are in, the automobile caters to full-sized adults reasonably well in both rows. The front seats are very wide, adjustable and widely comfortable, and both shoulder space and elbow room are great. There is an assortment of cubbyholes for storing your odds and ends, too, including a sizeable space beneath the center armrest and the conventional glove box.
From the back, there is a competitive quantity of leg room for the course — as far as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Jaguar XE, and Mercedes C-class provide — and there is space for feet under the front seats. Head area is adequate but not outstanding.
The Giulia’s boot has the same on-paper capacity figure as the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series. However, although the Giulia’s boot is competitive in the class, the A4’s has better accessibility and a more consistently square form.
Split-folding (40/20/40) rear seats are optional on the standard car and Super, but they are standard-fit from Speciale and over. If you are purchasing an entry-level vehicle and want them, you will want to look at the options list.
Cost & verdict
The Giulia may lose out on standard full-leather chairs. However, it does include a complete suite of security gear such as forward collision alert, lane departure warning, and autonomous emergency braking as standard, which many of its rivals make you pay extra for. What is more, the Giulia undercuts its direct rivals from BMW, Audi, and Mercedes on cost. Additionally, it has aggressive CO2 emissions (in diesel form) and agreeable company car tax obligations. Residuals might not be as powerful as those of its German competition, but they are far better than they were for Alfa Romeos of old.
Alfa Romeo currently only provides a two-year, unlimited-mileage guarantee on its new cars, which is about the shortest warranty of any mainstream car today and does not bring much peace of mind. The trader network’s customer support also brings decidedly mixed reviews from Alfa owners. The company does include three years of roadside assistance cover to the vehicle, however.