ALFA ROMEO GUILIA
ALFA ROMEO GIULIA 2.0T
THE NAME ALFA ROMEO HAS A CERTAIN ROMANTIC RING TO IT. WITH NUMEROUS FORMULA 1 TITLES TO ITS CREDIT, IT’S LITTLE WONDER THAT THE NAME EVOKES SO MANY POWERFUL MEMORIES OF PAST GLORY DAYS ON RACETRACKS AROUND THE WORLD. PAST GLORY DAYS THAT MAY BE ON THE RETURN WITH THE INTRODUCTION OF THE GIULIA 2.0T.
Our test car, the very latest (and very red) Giulia 2.0t, was launched to much acclaim in our country earlier this year and achieved double digits in the Naamsa sales figures for July. Initial impressions were remarkably positive in terms of build quality, supremely comfortable sports seats, and an interior that is stylish and uniquely Italian – apart from the overly large paddle shifters behind the steering wheel, which is itself a work of art.
The top-of-the-range 2-litre engine is turbo-enhanced and generates 147 kW at 5,000 r/min – rather unusual when considering that this engine’s redline starts at 5,500, whereas most modern engines don’t run out of breath before 6,500 r/ min. There’s a very good reason why the Guilia’s acceleration is so impressive though: the 330 Nm of torque which becomes available at only 1,750 r/min.
The gearbox is a beautifully balanced unit which is noted for its acceleration through the smooth-shifting eight speeds. In contrast to many manufacturers who go shopping for gearboxes in such exotic destinations as Friedrichshafen in southern Germany, this
excellent unit is a true Italian model and gets the job done in style, with the driver retaining the option of manual shifting by means of the paddles.
LET’S GO INSIDE
There’s a certain sense of occasion when getting into an Alfa Romeo, and the Giulia 2.0t is no exception. Finding that elusive perfect driving position is effortless, with the sports seats – covered in top quality leather (and embossed with the Alfa Romeo emblem) – adding to the overall impression of quality, and with the (optional) Sound Theatre by Harman Kardon for that concert-hall effect. No fewer than 14 speakers provide a surround-sound effect boosted by 900 W of superior performance. This is just as well, since the engine at start-up sounded rather gruff – leaving me wondering whether a diesel version had been sneaked into the media fleet.
LOOKS & SAFETY
Like all Alfas, the Giulia has fairly bold styling with a sloping nose-down design to emphasise its sports sedan image. Viewed from the front, it’s a pure Alfa, right down to the slightly ridiculous positioning of the front number plate.
At its asking price of R695,000, buyers will certainly demand – and get – an extremely safe sports sedan with a full five-star EuroNCAP rating and onboard electronics, active suspension, and four enormous disc brakes. Even the rubber – Germanmade Goodyear Eagle F1 255/40R18 – provides levels of grip that sets this rear wheel-drive sports sedan apart from the herd.
It may not be the cheapest in its class, with the Teutonic Triplets (Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz) enjoying a firm grip on the market, but Alfa Romeo now has a worthy alternative in place.The build quality is beyond reproach, the performance is superlative, comfort and adequate legroom for four adults is a given, and there’s an enormous luggage compartment. From the LED headlamps and the extremely sensitive and direct steering, to the fabulous road-holding and the distinct feeling that, at last, Alfa Romeo has managed to get it spot on, this is the type of vehicle that I would love to take on a high-speed (where possible) dash from Pretoria to Cape Town in a day – and still arrive fresh and alert. It comes highly recommended.