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