Alfa Romeo Australia has bolstered its small-car range with the addition of an automatic transmission and a diesel engine to its Giulietta line-up.
Priced from $38,990 before on-road costs, the entry-level petrol model with the new six-speed dual-clutch gearbox is $2000 more expensive than the existing six-speed manual model. The new diesel with the same transmission is priced identically to the performance-oriented QV at $41,990.
The base model is powered by the 125kW/250Nm 1.4-litre turbocharged MultiAir petrol engine. Equipped with the dual-clutch transmission, which Alfa Romeo calls ‘TCT’, the self-shifting Giulietta is both faster and more efficient than the manual model, accelerating from 0-100km/h in 7.7 seconds and using 5.2 litres of fuel per 100km.
As expected, the diesel model is the efficiency leader, but surprisingly gives little away to the petrol in terms of performance. The 2.0-litre JTDM-2 engine produces 125kW of power and 350Nm of torque, helping it complete the sprint in 7.9 seconds, while sipping 4.5L/100km on the combined cycle.
The diesel and the 1.4-litre petrol models are equipped identically, with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and taillights, front and rear fog lights, rear parking sensors, auto headlights and wipers, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, leather-wrapped steering wheel, Bluetooth with voice control and a six-speaker audio system with USB port.
The Giulietta QV adds 18-inch alloys and other racy exterior appointments, along with a unique sports suspension tune, leather upholstery with red stitching, tinted windows and aluminium interior highlights, and an upgraded Bose stereo.
Alfa Romeo Australia says the new TCT variants should account for approximately 85 per cent of Giulietta sales, and expects sales of the premium small model to expand towards 3000 units in 2012. Last year, the Italian brand sold 526 manual Giuliettas in Australia, and delivered an additional 26 in January.
2012 Alfa Romeo Giulietta manufacturer’s list prices (excluding government and dealer charges):