Gi­u­lia Ve­loce a go fast day-to-day sedan

Upper Hutt Leader - - CLASSIFIED - DAVID LINKLATER

It’s very dif­fi­cult to get through an Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia dis­cus­sion with­out say­ing ‘‘Quadri­foglio’’.

The flag­ship bi-turbo-V6 track­at­tack ma­chine is cer­tainly the car re­spon­si­ble for the Gi­u­lia’s hero-glow. It’s also the model Alfa’s boffins fo­cused on when de­vel­op­ing the new sedan.

But that doesn’t mean the Gi­u­lia Ve­loce is the poor cousin. In­deed, it means you’re get­ting some spe­cialised genes while sav­ing a handy $55,000.

The Ve­loce has a much softer, more lin­ear char­ac­ter than its leery sib­ling. But it’s still very much an en­thu­si­ast ma­chine.

It’s pow­ered by the more grunty of two 2-litre turbo en­gines avail­able for Gi­u­lia in Europe, it has an eight-speed gear­box with enor­mous col­umn (not wheel) mounted shift pad­dles, drive­mode se­lec­tor (sans the Race mode of the you-know-what), ac­tive sus­pen­sion (which can be ad­justed in­de­pen­dently of the drive-mode) and the ‘‘Q2’’ lim­it­ed­slip dif­fer­en­tial.

It says some­thing about this car that a Q2-badge is plas­tered on the bootlid. An ac­tive-dif­fer­en­tial as a model-name? Trans­la­tion: this car can go fast and do big skids.

But Ve­loce can also be a very pleas­ant day-to-day ex­ec­u­tive sedan. It has a de­cent ride, sump­tu­ous leather seats with heat­ing, an ex­cel­lent 10-speaker sound sys­tem and stuff that makes com­mut­ing pain­less, like adap­tive cruise con­trol that works right down to stand­still and back up again.

Gi­u­lia is much-hyped by Alfa as the mar­que’s en­try into proper pre­mium mo­tor­ing – a gen­uine ri­val for the likes of theBMW 3-se­ries and Mercedes-Benz C-class. Qual­ity-wise it’s cer­tainly get­ting there.

There’s an el­e­gant sim­plic­ity about the cabin and most of the stuff you touch is pleas­ingly tac­tile, save some mi­nor is­sues. One’s the gear­lever, which has some sus­pi­ciously rough edges – weird when that’s vir­tu­ally the first thing you touch in a car.

There was also a slightly (and I do mean very slightly) ill-fit­ting piece of trim on the cen­tre-con­sole of our test car, not to men­tion some pretty hard plas­tic in hid­den ar­eas. Would you find the same in a Ger­man car? Prob­a­bly. But given Alfa’s patchy his­tory, peo­ple will tend to look a lit­tle harder in the Gi­u­lia. Un­fair but true.

Per­for­mance-wise, the Ve­loce is un­der­stated but im­mensely sat­is­fy­ing. It’s very quick (0-100kmh 5.7 seconds) but also im­pres­sively fluid over a wind­ing road: eight cogs keep­ing the al­ready lin­ear pow­er­plant spin­ning just-so and a rear-drive chas­sis that re­ally feels like a rear-drive chas­sis. Thank you, Q2.

To best get a sense of the Ve­loce’s ap­peal, best look at the four-cylin­der com­pe­ti­tion.

There’s al­most a match for its per­for­mance and han­dling ca­pa­bil­ity in the lighter and very love­lyBMW330i (185kW, 0-100kmh 5.8 seconds), but that costs $89,650. The high-qual­ity Mercedes-Benz C 250 is $86,900, but only de­liv­ers 155kW and 0-100kmh in 6.6 seconds.

Of course an Alfa is not for every­body. To­tally get that.

But as an en­thu­si­ast-fo­cused sedan against highly re­garded Ger­man com­pe­ti­tion, the Ve­loce might even have brag­ging rights over the high-per­for­mance Quadri­foglio.

We could ar­gue all day about the rel­a­tive mer­its of the Q-car against theBMWM3 or MercedesAMGC 63 S. They’re ri­vals but very dif­fer­ent ma­chines in terms of the way they de­liver their crazy per­for­mance and han­dling ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

At Ve­loce level, the Gi­u­lia, 3-se­ries and C-class are all quite close in terms of con­cept and ex­e­cu­tion. And the Gi­u­lia Ve­loce presents an in­cred­i­bly com­pelling case.

Ve­loce still looks the part, de­spite $55k sav­ing over Quadri­foglio. Still goes fast too: 0-100kmh in 5.7 seconds.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.