The Alfa Romeo Giulia is a mid-size luxury sedan made in Italy and aimed at the established German stronghold of luxury executive cars from BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz.
A range of four model variants in Australia starts with the simply named Giulia, at a retail price of $58,895. It is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 147kW and 330Nm.
- Design – Slightly wider and longer than the BMW 3 Series, and with a lower roofline, Giulia’s Italian curves are beautiful to look at. What’s more, the plain Giulia model on handsome smaller diameter wheels doesn’t look underdone from the outside as some base models tend to do.
- Drivetrain – Engine performance from the 2.0-litre turbo isn’t firecracker strong (like the M3-rivalling Giulia QV), but it does a refined job of moving it along while maintaining admirable economy of a claimed 6.0L/100km. It pairs well with a smooth, eight-speed automatic gearbox.
- Ride – Giulia’s excellent ride comfort highlights the sophisticated engineering in this platform. It soaks up road imperfections naturally, which gives the car a premium feel.
- Dynamics – Once the Giulia’s fast and reactive steering has been adjusted to, its balanced rear-drive dynamics make it enjoyable to drive quickly. It has strong grip front and rear and holds together cohesively when driven hard on tight sections of road.
- Practicality – When compared to Alfas of old, the Giulia should be applauded for its thoughtful ergonomics and usefulness. Rear leg- and head-room is acceptable for adults and it has a competitively sized boot.
- Equipment – Standard features include leather trim, cruise control, rear parking sensors, a reversing camera, bi-xenon headlights, keyless start, stop/start, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and rain-sensing wipers. Standard active safety comprises forward collision warning, autonomous emergency braking, pedestrian recognition and lane-departure warning systems.
- Seats – In entry-level guise the Giulia’s front seats aren’t as comfortable or as supportive as is desirable in a premium sedan. In particular the seat bases are a little too firm and flat for long distance comfort. Optional Sports seats available at additional cost in higher grade models are better.
- Brakes – Alfa Romeo has employed a ‘brake-by-wire’ system for all Giulia models, which means the brake pedal is connected to the calipers by a computer. In practice this gives the pedal a slightly spongey feel that makes it difficult to modulate smoothly at low speeds. Like the sharp steering, it can be adjusted to over time, but unlike the steering this is a point of difference it could do without.
- Finishes – Though well designed, the base model Giulia’s cabin features lots of monochromatic black on black surfaces that don’t look or feel as nice as those in more expensive versions of the model. The most affordable Giulia lacks some of the upmarket touches of its equivalent rivals.
ANY RIVALS I SHOULD CONSIDER
Alfa Romeo Giulia is up against a broad range of accomplished mid-sizers including the BMW 320i ($63,400), Mercedes-Benz C200 ($61,400), Audi A4 2.0 TFSI ($60,900), Jaguar XE 20t Prestige ($60,400) and Lexus IS200t Luxury ($59,340). The Alfa Romeo is a worthy competitor and deserves a look if you are in the market.