Badge of distinction on a lovely Italian job
WE are into the image of great motor sporting heritage here. The original 1950s’ Giulietta is rated inside the Italian company as the first model to transport Alfa style and performance from race circuit to showroom.
That green four-leaf clover, designating top trim in today’s range, first appeared in 1923. Competition driver Ugo Sivocci had it painted for good luck on what went on to be his first winning entry in the Targa Florio.
To all those car badge collectors on eBay: Is there a smarter emblem anywhere than Alfa’s: combining the red cross on white of a crusader and a green serpent, based on the coat-of-arms of Milan, its home city?
Drive an Alfa and you find people ogling it, responding to its swagger. The mechanic with a Japanese competitor at an event I attended positively drooled over the Giulietta’s special red paintwork and exposed brake callipers to match.
If the exhaust note from the big-bore tailpipes is not as rasping as it used to be, there’s still the jaunty air of the front number-plate, worn cockily to the side.
So much for appeal. to the heart. For those customers whose heads rule, Alfa, via its parent, Fiat, is striving to improve reliability of its cars and the service from its dealers, both low-scoring in consumer surveys.
The latest Giulietta, on a new chassis eventually to be shared with the next Fiat Brava, could be taken for a two-door coupé. It’s actually a five-door hatchback with the rear door handles concealed and rear headroom restricted, competing in the Golf-FocusAstra sector.
From a 13-strong range starting at £17,450, taking in three petrol and three diesel engines and four levels of trim, our test car was top of the heap, with the heartiest 235 bhp petrol unit in the poshest Cloverleaf garb, at a whisker under £25,000.
That does get you sporty features such as side skirts, aluminium kick plates and pedals plus an extra-lowered
STYLE: The gorgeous Giulietta Cloverleaf.