The all new Alfa Romeo Giulia

With Liam Bird


Alfa Romeo’s UK press department’s decision to spec their all-new Giulia with a subtle silver paint-job instead of the more traditional and flamboyant rosso-corsa (that’s Italian – it translates as racing red) speaks volumes.

Of course you can order a bright red Giulia, and should you wish, you can have one with a fire-breathing 510bhp Ferrari engine too, but the chances are that you (or should that be your fleet manager) will be far more likely to buy one with a 2.2 litre turbo-diesel engine instead. Not only is the diesel version – they’re available with either 148 bhp or 178 bhp – significantly cheaper and far more frugal all-round, but they’ve been fitted to the Giulia so it instantly becomes a direct rival to the likes of BMW’s 320D, Audi’s A4 TDi and Jaguar’s diesel XE. They are of course executive saloons, and everyone knows that these come in sober colours. Alfa Romeo is trying to steal sales from the establishment.

Subdued boardroom hues aside, there’s no escaping the fact the Giulia is a very handsome car; curvy and muscular in equal measure and more than capable of turning more than just a head or two – it’s very much the stylish sporting saloon.

And that’s exactly how Alfa Romeo has made it feel. You sit low, in heavily bolstered and very Italian looking leather seats. Ahead sit deeply podded and cowled white on black instruments and beyond that, the view over the Giulia’s curvy bonnet. The driving position is excellent: it’s a very comfy place to be, and although this interior isn’t going to rival the likes of either BMW or Audi in the quality stakes – the sat-nav’s screen definition is far too low for starters – it’s far better executed ergonomically than may have been expected.

The starter button sits on the steering wheel, press it in and…

Well, it sounds unmistakably diesel. At idle there’s simply no hiding it. Once warmed through though, the all-aluminium engine quietens down quite remarkably. There’s a little chatter from under the bonnet, a bit of wind noise from around the mirrors, and a rumble from the run-flat tyres on broken surfaces, but that’s about it. The 8-speed gearbox seamlessly shifts ratios should you not want to trouble yourself or the shiny aluminium shift paddles, and there’s a lovely compliancy to the ride that’s long missing in anything offered by Bavaria. Granted “our” car came equipped with optional adaptive dampers but even in their stiffest of settings the Giulia doesn’t resort to pummelling its occupants like an AMG, an RS, and SVR or an M-Sport would.

Needless to say then, progress can be swift. And even more so if you rotate the DNA switch – a modern Alfa trademark that lets you select from three driving modes – Dynamic, Normal or All-Weather – around to the D setting, and thus instantly sharpening both the throttle response and the steering. It all just feels so well-judged, stable and balanced.

You might not be quite so amused and entertained however by Alfa’s Romeo’s fuel economy claims. They say the Giula will do 67.3 mpg on the combined cycle. On my Saturday afternoon circumnavigation of North Wales I struggled to get two-thirds of that. 44.4 mpg was the best I saw over 300 miles. And honestly, I wasn’t going that fast.

The Giulia’s a bit pricier than its more established rivals too. And of course there are the residuals to think about.

Perhaps though that’s a small price to pay for a car that wears such an evocative badge, looks as good as it does, and entertains so readily. If you like to really drive your executive saloon trust me, the Giulia is the business!

ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2.2 Turbo Diesel 180hp SUPER

Engine: 2,143 4Cyl 16V turbo-diesel

Transmission: 8 speed Automatic with manual mode. Rear Wheel Drive

Power: 178 bhp @ 3,750 rpm

Torque: 332 lbft @ 1,750 rpm

0-62MPH: 7.9 Sec

Max Speed: 143 mph

CO2: 109 g/km

MPG: 67.3 combined

Price: from £33,315

Many thanks to Catrina Alfa Romeo’s UK Press office for the loan of the Giulia





























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