Alfa Gi­u­lia QV

Daily use con­tin­ues to show what a re­mark­able car this is, de­spite the odd quirk

Autocar - - THIS WEEK - AL­LAN MUIR

Our daily driver is much in de­mand

WHY WE’RE RUN­NING IT

To find out if Alfa has re­gained its mojo with this Bmw-m3-bash­ing su­per-saloon

My plan to switch the Gi­u­lia to win­ter tyres af­ter our an­nual Bri­tain’s Best Driver’s Car bash (in which the Ital­ian su­per-saloon was cru­elly robbed of vic­tory, in my opin­ion) has failed to get past the stage of talk­ing about it in a pre­vi­ous up­date. It seemed like a pru­dent idea, given that the Gi­u­lia was be­gin­ning to feel rather wooden in cold con­di­tions on its stan­dard Pirelli P Zero Corsa tyres and had the po­ten­tial to be a bit of a hand­ful if and when the roads got prop­erly slip­pery, but I was un­able to source an ap­pro­pri­ate set of win­ter tyres be­fore Christ­mas, so I per­se­vered with the ex­ist­ing Cor­sas over the hol­i­day pe­riod.

And you know what? It was fine. Where I live in Lon­don, there wasn’t enough snow and ice on the roads to cause the Gi­u­lia a prob­lem, al­though in other parts of the coun­try, I might have been in­clined to park it up for safety’s sake. Ex­tra care was def­i­nitely re­quired when ac­cel­er­at­ing out of wet round­abouts, for ex­am­ple, but the elec­tronic driver aids on this car are ex­cel­lent, rein­ing in the rear wheels’ ten­dency to want to spin up with lit­tle more than a twitch from the tail. As long as you’re go­ing quickly enough to gen­er­ate some heat in the tyres, the Gi­u­lia con­tin­ues to pro­vide rea­son­able grip and feel, even on a wa­ter-logged mo­tor­way.

The Gi­u­lia’s most ob­vi­ous quirk – the front tyres’ habit of skip­ping side­ways when mak­ing a tight turn or ma­noeu­vring around a car park at very low speeds – is even more ex­ag­ger­ated when you throw a wet sur­face into the equa­tion, though. The front tyres crunch and slip so dra­mat­i­cally as the car moves for­wards on a tight lock that you’d swear the Gi­u­lia was the most un­der­steer-prone thing on the roads – an im­pres­sion quashed as soon as your speed rises above about 10mph.

I’m guess­ing that the skip­ping is caused by a com­bi­na­tion of cold tyres, fairly ag­gres­sive steer­ing geom­e­try and pos­si­bly some push from the lim­ited-slip diff. The Gi­u­lia is far from be­ing the only car that ex­hibits this trait, but it’s worse than most. To be clear, though: the skid­ding may be a lit­tle dis­con­cert­ing when it hap­pens, but it’s not what I’d call a fault or a prob­lem. Most likely, it’s the trade-off for hav­ing such quick steer­ing and amaz­ing front-end grip at higher speeds.

In the run-up to Christ­mas, I hardly saw the Gi­u­lia for sev­eral weeks, be­cause it was in con­stant de­mand from road testers and pho­tog­ra­phers from Au­to­car and sis­ter ti­tle What Car?, first for Bri­tain’s Best Driver’s Car and then for in­clu­sion in the 2018 What Car? Awards, in which the Gi­u­lia claimed vic­tory in the sports car cat­e­gory, beat­ing the Porsche 718 Cay­man and Mclaren 540C. I didn’t re­ally ex­pect the Gi­u­lia to win BBDC – not when it was up against a Porsche 911 GT3 – but the fact that it came equal fourth, be­hind three far more ex­pen­sive, less prac­ti­cal cars, em­pha­sised to me what great value for money it is.

The sub­ject of re­li­a­bil­ity has reared its head again, though, be­cause the Gi­u­lia de­vel­oped an­other en­gine fault, once again go­ing into limphome mode while cruis­ing along a mo­tor­way. This time, the fault was traced to the wiring loom, a sec­tion of which was re­placed under war­ranty.

Of course, it’s ir­ri­tat­ing when th­ese things hap­pen, but no one was left stranded and the prob­lem was fixed quickly, so I’m still pre­pared to de­fend the Gi­u­lia’s re­li­a­bil­ity from the doubters at this stage. As I’ve no doubt said be­fore, it will take a lot more than a cou­ple of en­gine faults and some tyre skip­ping to make me think any less of this in­cred­i­ble car.

Tyres can skip at low speed on full lock. En­gine suf­fered a glitch

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