Is Alfa’s Giuila a credible rival to the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class asks Hannah Gordon
What is it? The heralded return of an executive saloon car from Alfa Romeo, ready to take on the German saloon stalwarts from Mercedes, BMW and Audi.
Who is it aimed at? Company car owners will rejoice at another choice for their trusty long trips around the country, the Alfa Romeo Giulia is also an extremely pretty car that would be perfect for anyone looking for a saloon car offering some Italian flair.
Styling? Alfa Romeo have succeeded in designing a car that appeals to the eye from every angle, the distinct triangle grille is supported with large ducts either side whilst the well known off-centre number plate remains. Lines sweep from the front towards a stocky rear end that includes a stylish and sporty rear diffuser and twin exhausts. The Alfa Romeo Giulia sits low and this gives it a racier look compared to its rivals which look a bit boring compared to this Italian stallion.
Under the bonnet? A small amount of choices are available, a 2.0-litre petrol engine with 200bhp and a 2.2-litre diesel which two power options of 148bhp and 178bhp. The diesel will be the main purchase for most buyers especially with its economy and the test car came with the 178bhp power output. All engines are paired with an 8-speed automatic gearbox, no manual option is available but the gearbox is smooth and the engine makes superb progress especially when in dynamic mode thanks to it rear-wheel-drive set up.
What about inside? The ‘Italian sexiness’ is not only found on the exterior but the interior is well put together and designed to make the driving experience as pleasurable as possible, the seating position is low set but perfect and the steering wheel incorporates a Ferrari-esque start button. The dash flows over an infotainment screen that fits in seamlessly and is operated with a dial near the gear stick, all of the switch gear and dials are facing the driver giving a more focused interior that feels of superb quality. If you require leather seats then pick a higher level trim that includes some beautiful sports seats that hug you in all the right places.
On the road? The Giulia is a superb car to drive thanks mainly to its rear wheel drive set up and puts it head to head with the BMW 3 series. Alfa Romeo have developed the Giulia with a large proportion of aluminium being used which makes it light and handling sharp and responsive. The 8-speed automatic gearbox shifts flawlessly and when paired with the faster 178bhp diesel it makes progress swiftly with a 0-62mph of just over 7 seconds. The DNA system which has three settings of Dynamic, Normal and Advanced economy mean you can customise the cars response and driving style.
What about safety? The Giulia gained a full 5 stars in the Euro NCAP test, as standard the car comes with lane departure warning, emergency autonomous braking, tyre pressure warning and forward collision warning that alerts the driver to objects or pedestrians in the road. A reversing camera and blind spot monitoring system are extras available at an added cost.
What are my options? Plenty of options to choose from such as a Harman Kardon audio upgrade at £950, Aluminium shift paddles on steering column are £275 but are large and cumbersome, the Alfa SDC (Synaptic Dynamic Contrl) suspension which helps with handling is £850. Front and Rear parking sensors will set you back an extra £200 and should the red calipers not be to your taste then painted black or yellow will be an added £325.
Will it break the bank? As the Giulia will appeal to company car buyers its important that the car is economical, the 2.2-litre diesel engine has a combined mpg of 67 miles and a CO2 output of just 109g/km, this also means a Benefit in Kind of 23%. The 2.0-litre petrol version is not as economical with 47.1 mpg combined and a CO2 output of 138g/km.
So the verdict? It is great to see Alfa Romeo back in the executive saloon market and after driving the Giulia the German rivals should be looking over their shoulder. The Giulia is stylish, great to drive and economical, but does have a few flaws including the annoying indicators and Alfa’s reputation of unreliability that will surely put some off. It remains to be seen whether the Giulia can stamp its authority on the saloon market but it would be a shame not to see the Italian beauty gracing the roads of Britain.
Why you’ll buy one? Looks good and is great to drive
Why you won’t? Reliability still a worry
BMW 3 series
Alfa Romeo Giulia
Max speed: 143 mph
0-62 mph: 7.1 seconds
Emissions: 109 g/km
Model price range: from £31,715
No of Doors: 4
Euro NCAP : 5
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 67.3 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 480 litres
6th November, 2017