They say that you’re not a true petrolhead until you own an Alfa Romeo and I think I understand that now. Ever since the Alfa Romeo Giulia drove into my life, I can’t help but fall in love with her more and more every day. Before we drive into the full review, it’s worth mentioning that our Alfa is the Giulia Auto with the optional Veloce pack.
From the moment you lay your eyes on the Giulia you can’t help but fall for her sweeping style lines, her captivating design, the iconic Alfa Romeo alloy wheels and the red brake calipers. The design of this car is like a fine wine, it’s elegant and intellectually satisfying. What I mean by that is that it has the ability to satisfy you on a hedonistic and intellectual level. Even after six months I’m still captivated by its charming design and extremely good looks.
The turbocharged four cylinder engine is sporty, yet refined and it has a pleasant burble as you drive along.
It produces 147kW (197 horsepower) and 330Nm of torque and like other classic Alfa engines, there’s a lot of mid-range torque available. Power tails off around 5000rpm, 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.
I’m afraid though, that the Giulia might have a drinking problem since I found myself having to fill her up more than I was expecting. After a few days of city driving the fuel consumption sat at 10 litres per 100 kilometres. During road trips it still does 8.5L/100km which is alright but I wonder whether the consumption is this high in her German rivals like the C200 and 320i.
I have heard from a few other Giulia owners that they find the ride quality in the Giulia to be a little bit hard and I disagree with them. The best way to determine the comfort level of a car in Sydney is to drive it on the World’s Worst Road, Parramatta Road, which is filled with cracked asphalt and unavoidable potholes. I have to say that the suspension works very hard to absorb the impact and to keep its occupants at ease. Even in Dynamic mode when the suspension firms up, I’ve driven on Parramatta Road and I’ve found it to be comfortable.
The steering in the Giulia is very direct and light and it still manages to provide a decent level of feedback. In Dynamic mode the steering does become heavier and more communicative, which I like but it’s not reasonable to drive the car in Dynamic mode to get a carrot from the grocery store.
An issue that the Giulia has, is that during low-speed manoeuvring, the front tyres scrub and skip about when trying to make tighter turning, such as when reversing out of a drive way.
Inside the cabin is stylish and is built to a good 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 just said “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.
Two downsides that the interior has, are its seats and the air conditioning. The seats aren’t very comfortable. For me the shape of the seats encourages bad sitting position no matter how I adjust it, so when I take the Alfa for longer trips I end up with mild back and shoulder pains for the rest of the day. The other major issue; the air-conditioning. It simply is not good enough. On hot days having the air con set on maximum does not cool you down and it just doesn’t cut it for summer. It’s like getting coughed on by ants.
There are two noticeable points about the Giulia as well. Point one is how close the brake and gas pedal seem the first time that you drive the Giulia! There were a few times that I caught myself multiple times in traffic, looking down at my feet, double checking that “yes indeed, I am pressing the brake pedal and not gas.”
Point two is the start/stop is not as responsive in the Giulia compared to some other cars that I’ve driven. I mean, it’s a very annoying feature and I always turn it off, but the Giulia shuts off the engine maybe about three and a half times out of five scenarios. I don’t have any issues with it but it is a noticeable point.
Despite all the downsides to the Giulia, I still love her and would get it over the C200 and 320i. It just that it appeals more to the heart than the brain.