DEREK OGDEN, Marque Motoring
Hey, it’s been a long time between Alfa Romeo automotive Proseccos. It was the Giulietta hatchback of some vintage I last tasted, if I remember correctly, which ended its almost decade-long run last year.
Now the iconic Italian vehicle manufacturer has turned its attention to the mid-size Giulia, adding more sparkle to the five-seater sedan. The outwardly attractive Giulia, which first stepped out several years ago, did lack substance.
The 2021 upgrade has come up with cutting edge engineering, a series of patented technologies and the use of lightweight materials to deliver an exhilarating driving experience. Mechanical specifics include a rear-wheel drive platform, 50:50 optimal weight distribution, a cutting-edge suspension scheme and an exclusive power-to-weight ratio.
These days the Alfa Romeo comes in three variants – the Giulia Sport, selling from $63,950; Giulia Veloce, from $71,450 and Giulia Quadrifoglio, from $138,950, all before on-road costs. Options include twin sunroof, $2255; harman kardon audio, $1255; and metallic paint, $1355. On test was the mid-spec Veloce.
Little change has been made to the already lauded exterior of the Giulia, a mid-size sedan considered by aficionados to be of rare beauty.
One of three new wheel designs on offer, the gun metal finished 19-inch wheels against the Visconti Green bodywork, in a design that mimics the old-style telephone dial, make a fine frame for red brake calipers lurking behind.
Quality materials such as unique Alfa brown leather seat upholstery, door and dashboard trim are matched with premium features such as wireless phone charging, power heated sports seats and a heated steering wheel.
Cabin storage is adequate, with dual cup holders, a sizable bin under the dashboard and a spacious centre armrest with wireless charger underneath. For back-seat passengers there are vents, USB ports, and heated outboard seats.
The new infotainment system has been completely redesigned with an 8.8-inch touchscreen controlled by a new rotary dial on the centre console.
Apple CarPlay or Android Auto on the main display of the Giulia, put useful apps on view.
These include street directions, making calls, sending and receiving messages, or listening to music, without the driver losing focus on the road.
Modern digital instruments – dated hooded dials here – and head-up display, standard on many premium vehicles today, are absent.
ENGINES / TRANSMISSIONS
Power in the Giulia Veloce is provided by a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine serving up 206 kW and 440 Nm through the rear wheels with limited-slip differential, taking the car from zero to 100 km/h in a claimed 5.7 seconds.
The maker also claims fuel economy of 6.1 litres per 100 kilometres on the combined urban / highway cycle. The test car came up with 9 litres per 100 kilometres in the city and 4.8 on a motorway run.
Alfa Romeo’s commitment to vehicle safety is on show, with the Giulia’s advanced safety and security features designed to help keep the driver and passengers out of harm’s way.
Recording an overall score of 98 per cent, the Giulia achieved a five-star ANCAP safety rating with strong performance across all key areas of assessment. Standard features include autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition, plus driver attention monitoring.
Slipping into the driver’s bucket seat, I was immediately at a loss searching the dash for the engine start button. It was on the bloody steering wheel rim, which when you think of it, is ideal: perfectly to hand.
The Ferrari-tuned motor struck up a restrained note that was to continue throughout my time with Giulia until urged on in any of the three Alfa DNA drive modes – dynamic, normal and advanced efficiency – on offer via a wheel on the centre console adjacent to the gear lever.
Dynamic delivers sharper brake and steering–wheel response for sporty performance more attuned to the track; Natural is a more comfortable suspension setting, perfect for the daily urban commute balance in daily driving; Advanced Efficiency maximises energy but takes the wind out of the car’s sails.
While on the subject of transmission controls, the car carries outsize steering wheel-mounted metal paddles, to hand no matter how much the wheel was turned.
Far more accommodating than the ‘toy’ plastic ones found on many models.
Chassis Domain Control works in harmony with a brake-by-wire system. Alfa Link Suspension is a new patented plan which keeps the front wheels perfectly perpendicular
to the ground even in fast cornering, improving steering wheel torque linearity by 20 per cent and reducing understeer.
The rear four-and-a-half links and limited-slip differential provide some of the best-in-class handling while offering luxury comfort.
The mid-size five-seater is drastically short on rear leg room and the sun roof closes in on the taller person. On the other hand, 480 litres of boot space is good to take larger pieces of luggage, even though the narrow opening can be a squeeze.
Already earning plaudits with the classic good looks of a Milan fashion model, now with its additional tech / mech chops, and a new five-year, unlimited kilometre warranty, the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce is an even more attractive proposition.
AT A GLANCE
Alfa Romeo Giulia Sport: $63,950
Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce: $71,450
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio: $138,950
Options: Dual sunroof: $2255
Harman Kardon audio: $1255
Metallic paint: $1355
Note: These prices do not include government or dealer delivery charges. Contact your
local Alfa Romeo dealer for drive-away prices.
SPECIFICATIONS (2.0L Turbo 4-cylinder petrol, 8sp automatic, RWD)
Capacity: 1.995 litres
Configuration: Four cylinders inline
Maximum Power: 206 kW @ 5250 rpm
Maximum Torque: 400 Nm @ 2250 rpm
Fuel Type: 95 RON unleaded petrol
Combined Fuel Cycle (ADR 81/02): 6.1 L/100km
CO2 emissions 141 g / km
DRIVELINE: 8 speed ZF automatic, rear-wheel drive
DIMENSIONS, WEIGHT AND CAPACITIES:
Length: 4643 mm
Wheelbase: 2820 mm
Width: 1860 mm
Height: 1436 mm
Turning Circle: 10.9 metres
Tare Mass:1490 kg
Fuel Tank Capacity: 58 litres
Front: Ventilated disc
Rear: Ventilated disc
Five years / unlimited kilometres