Gi­u­lia’s a class act

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

FROM the beau­ti­ful ex­te­rior to the push but­ton ignition re­sid­ing on the steer­ing wheel the Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia is a class act.

Head-turn­ing de­sign is a given where Alfa is con­cerned and this per­fectly pro­por­tioned saloon is a sight for sore eyes with not a crease out of place.

Tak­ing on the reg­i­ment of top qual­ity Ger­man mo­tors in this sec­tor of the mar­ket is never easy, but where looks are con­cerned the Gi­u­lia has them beat with sleek lines, LED tail lights, a chrome ex­haust, dark tinted rear win­dows and gor­geous al­loys – re­veal­ing sporty red brake calipers – all part of a tasty recipe.

But de­spite the good looks it is be­hind the wheel on the open road where the Gi­u­lia will re­ally score with driv­ers seek­ing a fast and fun saloon.

Alfa start by us­ing light­weight ma­te­ri­als en­sur­ing an even weight dis­tri­bu­tion while rear wheel drive is in­cor­po­rated into the mix for the first time in 20 years. This leaves the front wheels free to con­cen­trate on sim­ply steer­ing.

Com­bined with the rea­son­ably stiff sus­pen­sion set up it all has a dra­matic ef­fect on the han­dling as the Gi­u­lia is eas­ily the most well bal­anced Alfa I’ve taken into and out of a cor­ner.

The 2.2-litre 178bhp turbo-diesel en­gine un­der the bon­net of the £33,000 JTDM-2 Su­per model I drove earns sim­i­lar plau­dits as it is punchy – reach­ing 62mph from a stand­ing start in a shade over seven sec­onds – as well as be­ing rea­son­ably re­fined.

A 148bhp ver­sion of the oil burner is also of­fered as is a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der petrol model.

The flag­ship Quadri­foglio model gets the ben­e­fit of a fire breath­ing twin-turbo 503bhp 2.9-litre V6.

They are all linked to an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion which is a slick op­er­a­tor pro­vid­ing barely no­tice­able changes of gear. There are large pad­dles be­hind the wheel giv­ing the op­tion of man­ual changes.

You get to choose be­tween three driv­ing modes through Alfa’s DNA se­lec­tor with Ad­vanced Ef­fi­ciency, Nat­u­ral and Dy­namic al­ter­ing the steer­ing weight and throt­tle re­sponse. De­spite the econ­omy ben­e­fits of the first set­ting the car feels most at home in ei­ther of the lat­ter two op­tions as they make the most of the Gi­u­lia’s sporty na­ture.

Run­ning costs are kept on a tight rein for a sports saloon with a claimed fuel econ­omy fig­ure of more than 70mpg. In the real world I found this equated to around the 50mpg mark, but it is still likely to at­tract the at­ten­tion of com­pany ex­ec­u­tives trav­el­ling up and down the coun­try – as is the low tax-re­duc­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions fig­ure of 109g/km.

The Gi­u­lia name started life with the 1962 Type 105 orig­i­nal, but there is noth­ing old fash­ioned about the in­te­rior of the lat­est in­car­na­tion.

Top qual­ity ma­te­ri­als are used while the fit and fin­ish are good. The cabin’s de­sign mir­rors the ex­te­rior for snazzy style with de­light­ful di­als and neat touches.

The in­fo­tain­ment sys­tem in the Su­per model in­cludes sat nav, a DAB ra­dio, Blue­tooth and USB connectivity and a ro­tary con­troller for the sev­eninch colour screen on the cen­tre con­sole.

There is plenty of space up front with a de­cent driv­ing po­si­tion eas­ily at­tained. Space is okay in the back but legroom is a bit tight.

The 480-litre boot is fairly spa­cious although I couldn’t get my golf bag into it with­out tak­ing the longer clubs out. The opening is also on the nar­row side and there is a high lip.

There are cubby holes for your bits and bobs with a cov­ered stor­age bin and glove­box han­dling the ma­jor­ity of your needs.

So, with a heady mix of knock­out good looks, great han­dling and rea­son­able run­ning costs, the Gi­u­lia stands a good chance of at­tract­ing those look­ing for a com­pact saloon other than the usual Ger­man sus­pects made by Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

TEST DRIVE ALFA ROMEO GI­U­LIA

Model: Alfa Romeo Gi­u­lia JTDM-2 Su­per Price: £32,990 Me­chan­i­cal: 178bhp, 2,198cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing rear wheels via 8-speed au­to­matic gear­box Max speed: 143mph 0-62mph: 7.1 sec­onds Com­bined mpg: 77.3 In­sur­ance group: 26 CO2 emis­sions: 109g/km BiK rat­ing: 23% War­ranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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