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PranK    1,092
Alfa Romeo Giulia

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For years now, the midsize sedan segment has been predominantly overflowed with BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Classes and Audi A4s. The odd Lexus or Infiniti mixed things up a bit, but nowhere near enough to make the sector as exciting as it should be. Most of the big names were satisfied with the way things were, introducing little to no changes year in and year out. Recently, however, one manufacturer begged to differ. They offered something so wild and unique that it suddenly gave every other big car maker reason to worry about.

Introduction

Yes, we are of course talking about the new Giulia. When it comes to exciting cars, Alfa Romeo has been out of the game for over a decade now. Starting in the mid to late 1990s and running all the way through most of the 2000s, Alfa has been making boring and dull mainstream cars for the average buyer. The 159 was alright design-wise, but it lacked any sort of driving excitement or character. The small MiTo introduced an improvement in Alfa’s styling department, but it was the Giulietta hinting that an all-new Alfa Romeo was just around the corner.

Then, as quickly as Alfa vanished back in the early 2000s, they were suddenly back. Alfa’s move to introduce the flagship Giulia first proved to be nothing short of a stroke of genius. The Giulia Quadrifoglio didn’t just rival BMW’s M3, Audi’s RS4 and Merc’s C63, but it completely wiped the floor with them. The Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 produces a monster 505 horsepower and it’s actually available with a proper six-speed manual. Naturally, only a small percentage of all Giulias will be Quadrifoglio versions, so what about the standard car? The ordinary sedan most of us, the average users, are going to purchase?

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Exterior

If looks are any indication, even the ‘ordinary’ Giulia is not ordinary at all. Following the aggressive Quadrifoglio boasting massively flared arches and quad tailpipes, most of us safely presumed lower versions would be a slight letdown. Not so. Most of the styling cues we saw in the QV are still here. Up front, you get the same triangular centre grille even down to the small chrome outline. The massive corner vents carry over to the base trims. Given that the diesels don’t need the extra cooling, we think they’re there just for looks alone. Props to Alfa for that one.

The front spoiler found on the QV isn’t present in base models, leaving a flat bottom up front, but it still looks mega. The hood is identical though, and so are the headlights. Moving to the side, it’s even more difficult to differentiate the QV from the base car. Apart from the clover badges indicating that it’s a QV, the only other difference is the lack of a small vent on the fender in base trims. Round the back, we find taillights identical to those on the QV but a spoiler-less decklid. The rear diffuser is still there, but it’s been significantly toned down. The large quad tailpipes have been substituted with dual chrome exhaust tips, one on each side.

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The end result is nothing short of breathtaking. The 3-Series and the A4 don’t stand a chance against the Alfa’s looks. The new C-Class looks good, but it’s elegant and understated. The Cadillac ATS is, well, the worst of the bunch, and the only car which can really go toe-to-toe with the Alfa, at least styling-wise, is the facelifted Jaguar XE. So, a handsome Brit, or a fiery, beautiful Italian?

Interior

The cabin features something Alfa likes to call the “human-machine interface”. Simply put, most of the controls are angled towards the driver, putting the most amount of emphasis on him. The basic controls such as the start and the radio buttons are on the steering wheel for ease of access. The console features an Alfa DNA button for changing the settings and a controller for the 8.8-inch Connect 3D Nav infotainment system. Alfa managed to completely nail the ergonomics in the Giulia’s cabin.

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On the whole, it feels like an interior which has been put together quite well. It’s minimalistic and somewhat docile compared to the exterior, but it does everything it needs to do. You can definitely tell it isn’t quite up to par with something like the C-Class, but it’s not too far off. It feels sporty, so matching it up against the luxurious cabin of the C-Class seems almost silly. The 3-Series is probably closer.

Engine and Performance

Sadly, the 2.9-litre V6 can only be found in the Quadrifoglio. Base Giulias get three different engine choices. The 2.2-liter diesel makes 110 kW and 131 kW, depending on the trim, but all non-European countries get petrol variants only. It’s a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged unit featuring a MultiAir electro-hydraulic valve actuator system, direct injection, and a 2-in-1 supercharging system. European models make 146 kW and 329 Nm of torque, with U.S. and Australian editions pushing out 206 kW and 400 Nm of torque. It sprints to 100 km/h in just 5.7 seconds and will top out at 240 km/h.

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Underneath, the Giulia boasts double wishbone suspension with a semi-virtual steering axis and an innovative 4.5-link suspension solving toe adjustment for the rear. The rear cross member is aluminium/plastic composite, making it extremely light and stiff. The driveshaft is made out of carbon fibre (to reduce unsprung weight) and the suspension frames are entirely aluminium too. Alfa did an astounding job in making the Giulia as light and stiff as possible, and it really shows in the way the car drives.

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There’s a lot of compliance and give in the dampers, but body roll is kept to a minimum. The steering wheel offers a tonne of feedback, making the car feel sportier even than BMW’s best. It’s light on its feet and incredibly agile, something we didn’t expect from Alfa’s first attempt at a sporty midsize sedan.

Conclusion

Alfa managed to beat the Germans at their own game, something no one has managed in a very, very long time. The Giulia is the current midsize sedan benchmark all other manufacturers should be aiming to top. The interior isn’t as good as some the Giulia’s rivals, but it more than makes up for it in all other key aspects. Well done Alfa.

 

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deongster    141

Cuore Sportivo Alfa Romeo.. I grew up with Alfa romeos - always have and always will love it... its in my blood...

This would be my next car if i can afford it...

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