Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 180 Speciale – review.
For – handsome, charismatic performer.
Against – design niggles, small boot/
£41,185 (starts at £35,515, range at £29,480)
Competition – BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C class, Lexus IS, Kia Stinger, VW Arteon, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE
Alfa Romeo still retains an aura of excitement and allure and the new Giulia was meant to be a pioneer for the storied company as it emerged from a near death experience with new products to wow the public and lead the recovery.
The new Giulia does have many terrific qualities. It has striking good looks for starters. Inside, the cabin is made of high quality materials. The wrap-around-cockpit feel to the driving position exuded excitement for the experience ahead. The red leather seats evoke premium vibes. There is attractive detailing around the car, with the natty Alfa grille and Q2 badge, twin exhaust pipes and brakes standing out in red. On the road, this 180 hp diesel version doesn’t disappoint with impressive acceleration. It cruises at high speed quietly and securely. On the country roads, the steering was tight and accurate. Through the bends the car stayed flat and generated an “in control” feeling.
But there were some negatives too, most of which could have been eliminated, you would think. The indicator stalks are too close to the flippers behind the steering wheel which over-ride the 8-speed automatic. The windscreen wipers aren’t activated by the usual stalks, but by a fiddly little button on the side of a stalk. There’s not much room in the back and the head-room there was tight. With the driver’s seat in my 6 feet even position, I couldn’t get in the back seat behind it. I found the SatNav hard to fathom and the radio fiddly. The boot is small and not golfer friendly. My bag went in, with the driver separated. Leave the trolley at home.
“break-in attempt detected”
The test car also generated a first for me. When I turned it on one frosty morning, the screen check said “break-in attempt detected”. Now if you could picture my house, down a dead-end lane with no casual passers-by, you would be as incredulous as me. Also, luckily because of the light snow fall overnight, there were no footprints near the car, apart from mine. I put this down to the icy conditions confusing the car’s computer.
Alfa Romeo described the car as reflecting “distinctive Italian design, with innovative drive-trains, perfect (50:50) weight distribution, unique technical solutions and the best weight-to-power ratio.”
There’s a choice of two diesels of 150 and 180 hp, and 200, 280 and 510 hp petrol powered machines. Yes you did read that right. The 510 hp 2.9 litre bi-turbo V6, “Ferrari inspired”, says Alfa, blasts the Giulia to 60 mph from rest in under 4 seconds and on to 190 mph. Perhaps surprisingly, a manual 6-speed gearbox is available across the range, as well as the 8-speed automatic.
Prices start at £29,480 for the 2.0 petrol 200 hp, and top out at £61,000 for the Quadrifoglio 510 hp.
Standard equipment on the entry-level Giulia trim level includes an eight-speed automatic transmission, 16-inch wheels, daytime running lights, LED rear lamp clusters, dual-zone climate control, cruise control with speed limiter, and Connect infotainment system. Forward Collision Warning, Autonomous Emergency Brake with pedestrian detection, Integrated Braking System and Lane Departure Warning are all standard.
My Speciale had bigger, fancier wheels, the red painted brake callipers, Bi-Xenon headlights, powered and heated sports seats, and dual exhausts.
The top-of-the-range Giulia Quadrifoglio is equipped with a 510hp 2.9-litre BiTurbo petrol engine and is easily identifiable thanks to its aerodynamic enhancements, 19-inch alloy wheels and 35W bi-Xenon headlights. Inside it is equipped with sports seats trimmed in leather and Alcantara, a sports steering wheel with red power button. The comprehensive standard equipment can also be enhanced with the Luxury Pack and the Sport Pack.
Alfa claimed the unlikely sounding 67.3 mpg as an average fuel consumption figure. My attempt to verify this was thwarted by either an unreliable nozzle at my local BP, or a dodgy Alfa designed fuel collar. So my 44.6 mpg outcome is not really of any use. Money down the drain.
What to buy
The choices in this narrow sector of the market are typically immensely impressive and expensive, and any new contender is going to have a massive case to win against BMW, Audi and Mercedes. I’ve always admired the small Lexus for its unimpeachable quality. The Volvo S60 is worthy but dull. The new Kia Stinger, which I’ve just driven, is an interesting, and formidable competitor too. I was able to measure it against the Giulia about week later and the Kia scored well in terms of interior quality, driveability, rear space and boot. The Stinger, the least powerful one, drove brilliantly and made a terrific noise under harsh acceleration. That’s probably a bit unfair given the Giulia’s diesel engine. But if you are going to spend upwards of £40,000 on a piece of fabulously engineering, it’s hard, given that I don’t really like the way the Audi A4 and Mercedes C-class look, to avoid going for the BMW 330i.
|Alfa Romeo Giulia 2.2 180 Speciale|
|Engine:||2.2 litre, 4-cylinder diesel|
|Power:||180 hp @ 3,750 rpm|
|Torque:||450 Nm @ 1,750|
|Acceleration:||0-62-100 km/h 7.1 seconds|
|Top Speed:||143 mph|
|Fuel Consumption:||claimed combined 67.3 mpg-4.2 l/km
WintonsWorld road test – 44.6 mpg*
|Service Intervals:||12 months/12,000 miles|
|Warranty:||3 years/unlimited mileage|
|Boot capacity:||480 litres|
|Competition:||BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes C class, Lexus IS, Kia Stinger, VW Arteon, Volvo S60, Jaguar XE|
|Price:||£41,185 (starts at £35,515, range at £29,480)|
|For:||handsome, charismatic performer|
|Against:||design niggles, small boot|
*figure tainted by unreliable filling experience