The expansion of CarAdvice into a new Melbourne base called for the Victorian team's first long-termer - enter the Alfa Romeo Giulietta.
Finished in classic Alfa Red, our new resident is the flagship Alfa Romeo Giulietta Quadrifoglio Verde or QV.
Literally meaning green four-leaf clover, the legendary symbol has been used to identify some of the Italian marque's sportiest production models since the 1960s – not to mention race cars as far back as 1923.
With a list price of $39,150, the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV is the only variant in its range to feature the 173kW/340Nm turbocharged 1.75-litre four-cylinder engine.
Helping to relay its sporting heritage, the front-wheel-drive Giulietta QV is not only exclusively tied to a six-speed manual transmission, but has also had its powerplant pinched by Alfa’s new rear-wheel-drive 4C sports car – albeit with outputs upped 3kW and 10Nm.
A significant price increase over the $24,550 entry-level Giulietta with its 88kW/206Nm 1.4-litre turbo-four, the QV does come stacked with equipment.
Apart from the obvious QV sportiva badge and logo, the top-spec Giulietta can be spotted from a distance by its tinted windows, chrome-plated window frames, satin silver wing mirrors, tinted headlights, sports suspension, rear parking sensors, twin exhaust, red brake calipers and 18-inch alloy wheels.
A look inside reveals a 10-speaker Bose audio with Bluetooth connectivity and voice control, TomTom Navigation system (if clipped into its dash-top mount), black and dark brushed aluminium interior accents, a dark headliner, dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rear view mirror, red-stitched leather and microfibre seats and matching red-stitched leather sports steering wheel, aluminium sports pedals and aluminium kick plates.
But if you are after a sense of what jumping into a brand new Alfa Romeo is like, it’s best described as follows: "Ciao, and welcome to Italy!"
You’ve seen movies, read books and heard many a yarn from friends who have been before. A feast for the senses whereever you go - history, beauty and style abound. It all sounds wonderful.
Then you arrive for yourself and it’s a bit of a culture shock. Everything is in Italian. The things you're used to seeing or having close to hand are either not there or presented in such a way that makes you think it would’ve been better if they hadn’t tried at all.
The beauty and excitement is there, the thrill and ambience are accounted for - but you’re just not sure it’s the right choice for you.
This is the initial impression of our little Alfa. From the loud lock and unlock beep and now old-style turn-key start, to the Benzina (fuel), Acqua (water) and Giri x 1000 (rpm) gauges, the Giulietta is different and proud of it.
By the end of the first week, much like taking a trip to the old boot in the real world, we start coming to grips with the language, etiquette and processes of this little slice of Italia and begin to better enjoy our time behind the wide and slightly odd-shaped steering wheel.
After only a short time with the Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV, CA Melbourne is already feeling a little bit Italian. Like the car, we’re a little louder, a little thirstier and a little more short-tempered than perhaps we should be, but no doubt the better for it.
The Giulietta is not a Volkswagen Golf or a Toyota Corolla. It’s not intuitive and we’ve had to get our communal head around the menu and stereo functions and the world’s most frustrating Bluetooth system. But its exterior styling has already attracted a number of people on the street (mostly females) to come over and ask about it – a feat those same rivals would struggle to achieve.
Claiming a 0-100km time of 7.2 seconds, the engine is plenty punchy too, in either of the variable DNA driving style system’s Normal or Dynamic modes, and the gearbox is a joy to use – even if the aftermarket-style gear knob is a little oversized and the clutch a tad touchy.
A little dulled in its feedback, the well-weighted steering in Normal mode already feels more comfortable and easier to live with day to day than the overly heavy and no more communicative Dynamic mode, while the Alfa’s sporty ride is yet to hit the point where we find it unpleasant or irritating.
The interior is also growing on us, despite a couple of ‘quality’ issues around trim fitment, though, the lack of Bluetooth audio streaming is already a sore point among the team.
Fuel use is hovering about 3.6 litres per 100km above its claimed 7.6L/100km figure at 11.2L/100km - but as we write this, that seems to be starting to improve as we get used to the car (and perhaps, it gets used to us).
We’ll keep you updated with our Alfa Romeo affair and are looking forward to getting to know the Giulietta QV better, all while enjoying the daily commute to and from Richmond ... via Tuscany of course.
Alfa Romeo Giulietta QV
Date acquired: March 2014
Odometer reading: 2951km
Distance travelled at time of writing: 1298km
Consumption at time of writing: 11.2L/100km