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Alfa Romeo Giulia

Rear-ing to take on the competitors
By David Walshe
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The Giulia from Alfa Romeo has taken a bit of time to arrive. A rear wheel drive Alfa is something to savor and being an Alfa fan and an owner of four of them in I was eagerly awaiting my chance to drive it.

The day arrived for collection. After getting the keys I headed to the car park where it was sited. To identify it I pressed the unlock button and the car that winked its indicators at me was….white. My heart sank. I get that white is very much the “in” colour these days but on an Alfa? I immediately slayed the myth, (one I don’t subscribe to in any shape or form) that women are only brought to the garage when a new car is being bought to pick the colour, by my own colour reaction. Colour for all of us is important. I was expecting a car with a red hue.

Paint colour aside, there are 14 to choose from, the shape of the metal it covered is beautiful and only to be expected of an Alfa Romeo. In the sector it is the distinctive looking car but, and this is a big but, it does seem to have taken on board the need to look a bit like its rivals to attract the buyers of the likes of the A4, 3 Series and C Class. And it needs to appeal to those drivers and buyers if it is to make a return on the investment made in it by Alfa, which is considerable. That investment has delivered a new platform that is also being used by the Stelvio – an Alfa SUV. It is a timely reminder of Dolores O'Riordan and her first album – “Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?” More power to Alfa Romeo I say and this serious drive to win customers will, I believe, increase sales.

I sat in and set myself up for driving – seat, steering wheel and three mirrors. My sense that reacted first was smell. Car companies go to great efforts to imbue their cars with a pleasant smell. The Giulia does not disappoint. It is also a reaction that can happen subconsciously and you can form an opinion based on smell even if you are unaware how you came to that decision. Anyway, next sense to be pleased was sight. The interior is fantastic looking. Its welcomingly different with a tidy central infotainment display and for the driver there were clear, driver centric dials. The leather seats are glorious too. The overall impression of the interior is very good but still behind the big three. The one thing that I thought they would have got right was the feel of the automatic drive selector. It just didn’t reward the touch and for something that is touched a lot this is an oversight. The car has a black and silver Alfa badge on the steering wheel that to me, is a mistake. The Alfa badge is a thing of beauty and should always be in colour. There is a start button on the steering wheel which is kinda cool though. There boot is huge at 480 ltrs and very practical despite being a saloon. I did note that for a car in Super Sport trim there were no folding mirrors, no reversing camera, no electric seats or adaptive cruise control or blindspot technology which in a car costing €45,245 in the Super Sport trim is a bit of an ask. The trim levels are very close in price so a bit of homework will allow you get what you want in standard form with a good options selection depending on your wallet. In diesel there is only €2,171 of a difference between the first 4 levels, Giulia, Super, Super Sport/Lux. There is a Veloce, petrol only model and a mesmerizing supercar equivalent, the Quadrifoglio. 

The car has a 2.2jtd diesel engine and it’s safe to say we are over the diesel engine in an Alfa Romeo debate. There is a petrol engine too but the expectation is, despite all you have heard, that most sales will be in diesel. It had 180bhp to play with and it was more than enough. The car only comes to Ireland with an automatic gearbox – another Alfa sin myth. Alfa decided that in the executive sector where this car will do battle it is the required gearbox. No complains from me. However, in most automatic cars I’ve driven before, the paddles were rarely, if ever, used. Not in this car. They are huge and simply beg to be used. Used they were. I never stopped using them. My enjoyment of the car was enhanced by them and I’d say I used the paddles in

this car more than I’ve used paddles in all the cars I’ve ever driven before. The paddle action coupled with my pedal action provided real sporty gear changes and the car responded accordingly. 0-100km/hr is a fast 6.8 seconds.

The Giulia allows Alfa put it up to their German neighbours. There is no buyer regret to worry about for having chosen an Alfa as the car is of high quality, has stunning looks and ample performance. Alfa’s efforts should be rewarded with buyers and I for one can’t see why the Giulia should not be on the every A4/3/C buyers list.


Alfa Romeo Giulia

36 months