Giulia the first new-gen Alfa Romeo for NZ
Supercar-eating Quadrifoglio sedan leads new wave of Alfa Romeos. By
body elements and Brembo brakes. It picks up Alfa’s DNA drive-mode system (Dynamic, Natural and Advanced efficiency with cylinder deactivation) but adds Race mode.
The adaptive suspension, stability control, torque vectoring and braking are administered simultaneously by what Alfa calls Chassis Domain Control.
At $134,990 the Quadrifoglio undercuts the M3 and C 63 S sedans by $24,510 and $29,910 respectively. It’s faster to 100kmh than both.
Of course, the Giulia Quadrifoglio might need that price advantage to encourage conquest customers over to the Alfa side.
It’s been long time between performance sedans: the 156 GTA was arguably the maker’s last serious effort and it ended production in 2005. More to the point, the Italian marque has never had the best reputation for quality - something that’s a given with the German competition.
Alfa Romeo NZ chief executive officer David Smitherman hopes to address the former with a series of showroom displays and track days taking place throughout the country this year: "We want customers to experience the performance of this vehicle."
Quality is a tougher issue with so much baggage. But Smitherman is keen to communicate that Giulia is a fresh start: "The factory is purpose-built for this car. Each and every vehicle is taken off the line and tested by a professional driver to ensure the best level of quality."
The Quadrifoglio is on sale now, with first deliveries in May. But in June it will be joined by a more mainstream Veloce version, with a 2.0-litre petrol-turbo engine making 206kw/400nm and a 0-100kmh time of 5.7 seconds. It also has an eight-speed transmission and will be priced at $79,990.
Expect to see plenty of Giulia advertising focusing on Alfa’s nationality and racing heritage. ""We see Italian style and heritage as a considerable competitive advantage," says Smitherman. "[Giulia] will be sold as an Italian vehicle all through our marketing and we’ll be pushing that theme. It really looks and feels like an Alfa Romeo."
The next new Alfa to arrive will be the Giulia-based Stelvio SUV, although we may not see it until this time next year.
"From what’s happening in our market here, we see significant opportunity," says Smitherman. "The luxury SUV segment is growing and every manufacturer is right into it. We can’t wait to get hold of Stelvio. Of course we’re pushing to get it as soon as possible. But the way we see it, we’ll have Giulia for this year and Stelvio the next.
"We’re extremely confident. Everybody’s riding the high of the NZ auto industry at the moment and we’re pleased that we’re bringing Alfa Romeo into this environment.
"We see the premium segment growing five per cent per annum for the next five or six years. We see a space for Alfa Romeo."
The timeframe for the next new Alfa models is hazy, but there will be at least two more SUVS, two more sports models and a hatchback.
"All I can say is that we know there will be eight new models in a relatively short space of time let’s say in the next five years."
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio offers supercar performance for $134,990: 0-100kmh in 3.9sec, 307kmh.