2019 Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce quick review

Hot on the heels of the manic 375kW Alfa Giulia QV is the Giulia Veloce. Is it an also-ran or is there potential to usurp the range hero?

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Alfa Romeo is currently part-way through its revitalisation program that’s meant to bring the brand back to the forefront of buyer’s minds – especially in the premium sedan segment in which the Giulia you see before you resides.

As the first model that started this new phase for the manufacturer, the Giulia is arguably the brand’s greatest asset, so how has does it fare in today’s money? Does it have the right stuff to prise buyers away from the dominant Mercedes-Benz C-Class and BMW 3 Series, not to mention the Lexus IS, Audi A4 and Jaguar XE?

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What is it?

The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a four-door, five-seat sedan built on the manufacturer’s Giorgio platform, which was designed to kick-off Alfa’s mid-decade $8 billion investment to reinvigorate the brand. 

Specifically, the Giulia Veloce specification sits underneath the headline-grabbing Giulia QV as its compatriot, but also as a competitor to the likes of the BMW 330i and Mercedes-Benz C300.

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It’s sporty enough to be able to enjoy yourself on a challenging back road, while conversely being a bit of a sleeper in terms of design and stature. 

How much is the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce?

$72,900 is the price you’ll have to pay for the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce. A minor shift in pricing from last year sees the 2019 model now $1000 more expensive than before, yet Alfa has added extra equipment as standard to compensate for the price bump. 

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Besides that, it's literally half the price of the top-dog Giulia QV - yet possesses about eight-tenths of the same visual appeal as its high-performance sibling. For many, that alone will signify good value.

Few options exist for the Giulia Veloce, other than a $750 alarm system, $1500 Harman/Kardon premium sound system, $2200 dual pane sunroof, $700 painted brake calipers and various other paint options between $1300 and $3500.

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Who is it for?

The Alfa Romeo Giulia appeals to the design-conscious premium sedan market, with the brand still trading heavily on its traditions of style and performance. And so it should, having deeply rooted history in, and a reputation for making cars with soul is an aspect that is somewhat lacking in today’s premium sedan segment.

While the BMW 330i, Mercedes-Benz C300 and Audi A4 45TFSI are all fantastic cars in their own right, the Alfa Romeo Giulia does things a little differently – and that’s a good thing.

Is the Giulia Veloce easy to live with?

The Giulia is a practical sedan that caters for a maximum of five people, but is generally suited toward couples rather than families, and small-statured couples at that. While generally feeling comfortable in segment competitors, this 195cm tall tester had difficulty getting cosy in the driver’s seat and especially had trouble in the back.

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The best a manufacturer can do is to make a car that suits everyone, and while some excel in this department, it feels as though Alfa Romeo slightly missed the ergonomic mark with the Giulia. And while we’re on the few negatives, some of the interior fit and finish could be improved, like the harsh, reflective plastics below the belt line and some sharp plastic edges about the cabin - especially on the gear selector, a key touch-point.

Material quality is otherwise good though, with a lovely leather-wrapped steering wheel taking pride of place, flanked by a leather-topped dash and sturdy metal paddle shifters. The seats hug you nicely without being too pinchy, and the door closes with a solid thunk.

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The Giulia uses an 8.8-inch infotainment screen that is simple to use, and blends in neatly with the black dash when off. While it won’t take long for you to get your bearings around the system, it could do with a couple of extra shortcut buttons so you could skip between maps and radio, for example, without having to transit between them via the home screen.

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How well does the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce drive?

On the road is really where the Giulia package shines brightest. It features a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a healthy 206kW of power and 400Nm or torque, and it’s the torque figure that really stands out in everyday driving. The engine has enough low-rpm punch to easily deal with everyday driving, making it feel relaxed and civilised when you're enduring the daily schlep.

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However, get away from city congestion and the 'DNA' (Dynamic/Natural/All-weather) driving mode switch can extract the most out of the car when you want a sportier, more engaging type of drive. In Dynamic, the suspension, steering and throttle/transmission calibration become sharper, meatier and more responsive, dramatically changing the character of Alfa's sedan. 

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The Giulia utilises a ZF 8-speed transmission that works fairly well most of the time, but can jerk about a bit at slow speeds. Shifts become crisp and quick when up higher in the power band, however, and that complements the car's athletic image well.

Speaking of athleticism, the Veloce's steering is light and sharp, with well-poised body control when changing direction. The adaptive suspension of the Veloce also offers comfortable cruising in Natural mode, while firming things up nicely for a stiffer, more active ride control in Dynamic. Alfa helpfully also provides an extra button in the centre of the DNA dial to slacken off the dampers - handy when the curvy road you want to attack is also a bumpy one.

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Overall, the Giulia is a hoot to drive around twisty roads and can even excite its driver about town.

The verdict

While the Giulia QV came and wowed the world on first introduction, the Giulia Veloce is the quiet achiever of the range, offering plenty of everyday performance, but for half the price.

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The Giulia Veloce operates in a segment that’s also occupied by some of the best car makers in the world with resources and experience far beyond Alfa Romeo. Yet, it still feels more than worthy of being cross-shopped against any of its German rivals - especially if you value driver engagement and handsome exterior design.

While it does have a few niggles to work out on the interior, the way it makes you feel is still pleasant, and driving the Giulia should put a smile on your face too.

Click on the image gallery at the top for more photos of the Alfa Romeo Giulia Veloce.

 

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