They say that you’re not a true petrolhead until you own an Alfa Romeo and I think I understand that now. Ever since I got the Alfa Romeo Giulia Auto I can’t help but fall in love with it more and more every day.
From the moment you lay your eyes on the Giulia you can’t help but fall for its sweeping style lines and its captivating design. The Alfa Romeo Giulia is the Italian marque’s answer to their German rivals like the BMW 320i and the Mercedes Benz C200, but what makes the Giulia more desirable compared to its rivals is that it appeals more to the heart than the brain.
The turbocharged four cylinder engine is sporty, yet refined and emits a pleasant burble as you drive along. It produces 147 kW (which is around 200 horsepower) and 330 Nm of torque and like any other classic Alfa engines, there’s a lot of mid-range torque available. Power tails off around 5000 rpm, making you change up before redline, and when you do reach redline the engine hits a rev limiter. Transmission is smooth and it’s always in the right gear, supplying the right amount of torque to the rear wheels. The brilliant integration of the engine and transmission makes the Giulia easy and convenient to drive around the city and exhilarating on winding coastal roads.
One thing that grabbed my attention was that the idle-stop system was not as responsive. Most of the times that I would stop at a red light I did notice that the car wouldn’t turn off while it was in idle. I personally don’t have any issues with this, I usually turn this off in most cars when I can anyways, but I think it’s still worth mentioning. The fuel consumption figure sat at 10L/100km but it’s probably worth mentioning that my driving style is a bit sharp and I accelerate too much so it probably can do a little bit less than 10L/100km consumption. I have to say though, that driving the Giulia around after a few days I couldn’t help but think that the car might have a drinking problem and I found myself having to fill it up more than I was expecting to.
A noticeable “issue” for me sitting behind the wheel of the Giulia for the first time was how close the gas and brake pedal seemed to be. Driving home that first day was very stressful and I caught myself looking down at my feet double checking that “yes, indeed I am pressing the brake pedal and not gas” multiple times in traffic. Maybe I have wide and big feet, I’m not sure!
I found the ride quality in the Giulia quite comfortable. I probably can’t call the suspension soft, but when potholes were hit, I felt that the suspension absorbed the impact relatively well and kept its occupants at ease. In Dynamic mode however, situation is a little bit different, the suspension firms up and the experience from hitting a pothole becomes not as pleasant.
The steering in the Giulia is very direct and light but it still manages to provide a decent level of feedback, but I think that I would have liked it if the steering was a bit heavier. In Dynamic mode the steering does become heavier and more communicative but it’s not convenient or viable driving the car in Dynamic mode every day.
An issue with the Giulia is that during low-speed manoeuvring, the front tyres scrub and skip about when trying to make tighter turning like reversing out of a drive way. The rear wheels are focused on straight ahead but I’m sure that if the driver really wanted to, they could get the shy Alfa to step out of its comfort zone and stick its rear out. I have to admit though, I haven’t had the guts to provoke the Giulia yet.
Inside the cabin is stylish and is built to an appropriate standard. It is also ergonomic and driver focused. I quite like the way that the display screen has been integrated so well in the dashboard. In most cars the display screen sits on top of the dashboard and it blocks the view out the windshield and it looks a bit like lazy designing, like someone was just like “here, stick this tablet on the front and we’ll call it a day.” Giulia’s functions are all easy to learn and to operate and everything is where it should be.
My biggest issue with the Giulia is the air-conditioning. It simply is not good enough. On hot days having the air-con on maximum does not cool you down and it just doesn’t cut it for summer. The way I would describe the air-conditioning experience is like being coughed on by ants.
There’s only one way to describe the Giulia: perfectly imperfect.
Note: The car mentioned in this review is the Alfa Romeo Giulia fitted with the optional Veloce Pack. Some of features of the Veloce pack includes: active suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels shod with Bridgeston tyres and red brake calipers.