I’m so excited! The 2016 Giulia Specs and Pricing is available – Audi, BMW watch out, Alfa Romeo is going to eat your lunch! Check out this article originally published by TheWeek.co.uk ….
Alfa Romeo will add a stylish entrant into the competitive BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, and Jaguar XE market space this year when it unleashes its latest saloon – the Giulia.
Having first revealed the car last summer in range-topping Quadrifoglio trim, Alfa has since shown off more mainstream versions at the Geneva Motor Show.
According to CarWow, the Giulia is only the firm’s second all-new model in six years, since the release of the Giulietta, so its importance to Alfa is huge. It forms a big cornerstone of the company’s future plans, which include ambitions to grow sales from 74,000 in 2013 to more than 400,000 by 2018.
CarBuyer says the Giulia is “a very pretty car that will most likely turn more heads than a BMW 3 Series or Audi A4” and that its design is likely to be one of its biggest selling points. It’s flamboyant and stands out against its German rivals.
The Giulia uses a more rounded design language that the aggressive angles found on the 159. Alfa’s triangular grille is flanked by two large air vents in the front bumper, with two creases running down the length of the bonnet. The headlamps remain fairly angular and use large, straight, leading edges.
A line juts out from behind the front wheel arch, feeds around the sides and then recedes, tapering away into nothing by the time it reaches the rear door handle. Similarly muscular side skirts make the cut, as do flared wheel arches.
Around the back, the top edge of the boot creases to create a little ducktail while the bumpers feature a large, black skid plate, with two exhausts positioned either side of the car.
The aggressive styling tweaks of the Quadrifoglio trim take things to another level. A big splitter peeks out from underneath the front bumper, which has also been tweaked to appear more muscular. Two vents appear in the bonnet and a small lip spoiler sits on top of the boot. It also features a huge rear diffuser, with quad-exhaust exits. These new aero additions mean that at top speed, the Quadrifoglio can produce 220lbs of downforce.
Alfa claims every model in the range has 50/50 weight distribution, mated to an all-aluminium suspension setup on the range-topper.
There should be around 13 different body colours available, Auto Express says, concluding that the Guilia’s design should make it an “interesting contender” in the executive saloon sector.
Engines and drivetrain
The Giulia is available in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, a departure from recent Alfas, says CarBuyer, which have been predominantly front-wheel. However, the move signals the company’s intention to move back into the sphere of creating “driver’s cars”.
Alfa will offer the Giulia with four different engine options: two diesels and two petrols.
The two petrols are the most powerful choices. The first is a turbocharged 2.0-litre four cylinder, making 197bhp and 243lb-ft torque. Being an Alfa, there is a V6 available and it sits atop the range in the Quadrifoglio car.ok
That version has a Ferrari-developed aluminium 3.0-litre bi-turbo producing 503bhp which sends the Quadrifoglio from 0-62mph in 3.9secs and on to a top speed of 190mph.
During development, the Quadrifoglio lapped the infamous Nurburgring Nordschleife in 7mins and 39secs– some 13secs faster than BMW achieved with its rival M4 and even topping some of the most exciting supercars of years gone by, lapping a second quicker than the McLaren Mercedes SLR’s official time.
As exciting as this is, the diesel options will be the most popular choices and will form the entry level versions of the car. Both are 2.2-litre units, either in tunes of 148bhp or 178bhp, the more powerful option available with an “Eco” trim. They will be offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox or an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic.
Carscoops points out that more engine options could be on the way, though. The site says Alfa has plans for two more choices to become available by the end of the year – a 210bhp version of the 2.2-litre diesel and a 280bhp version of the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol option – as a way of bridging the huge golf between the 503bhp Quadrifoglio and the rest of the range.
However, details are still thin on the ground and there’s no indication yet that these could be on UK forecourts by the end of 2016.
CO2 and efficiency
The two diesel options are frugal. Alfa claims they will both return around 67mpg on a combined cycle while emitting 109g/km CO2, meaning you’ll pay £20 a year tax on either the standard 148bhp or 178bhp versions.
The 178bhp model comes with a party piece, though. This engine is available with a different “Eco” specification, delivering the same performance but with CO2 emissions just ducking under 100g/km, making it tax exempt.
As you’d expect, the petrols are more expensive to run and thirstier. The 2.0-litre turbo claims fuel economy of 47.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 138g/km, for a tax bill of £130 a year. The 503bhp Quadrifoglio claims to return 34.4mpg on a combined cycle, though the duty will hit £295 a year.
Interior and tech
CarWow says buyers should expect a range which is generously equipped as standard, especially in terms of safety equipment. Each model will get a collision avoidance system as well autonomous emergency braking which can detect pedestrians. A lane departure warning system, alerting the driver of straying over white lines, is also coming, along with other goodies such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring.
A 6.5ins centre console display in the cockpit, acting as an infotainment interface, is also standard, along with sat nav on all but the entry level car. A separate screen, either 3.5ins or 7ins, depending on trim level, sits behind the steering wheel and Quadrifoglios will get an 8.8ins display in the centre console.
A half-leather interior comes as standard on cars one trim level up from entry level, while full leather, power-heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and gear-shift paddles on automatics are available as optional extras. The Quadrifoglio gets a mixture of leather and alcantara, with carbon fibre trim details. Optional fixed-back carbon fibre bucket seats made by Sparco are a £3,000 option.
Elsewhere, Autocar claims that Alfa is in the process of creating an autopilot system for the Giulia, with the semi-autonomous driving features seen on the Tesla Model S as the benchmark for the one the Fiat Chrysler Group is currently developing.
The magazine says that Alfa Romeo and Maserati boss Harald Westler doesn’t expect fully autonomous technology to become available before 2024, but for the time being, establishing the Giulia alongside cars like the Model S is one of Alfa’s goals for the near future.
While this may seem at odds with the Giulia’s image of being a “driver’s car”, the Alfa boss says that the technology is not in contrast to the company’s brand image, and that “once fully autonomous vehicles are established, more people will appreciate driving on a road free of traffic and enjoy driving their car again”.
First impressions are good. Auto Express says the Giulia “is a refreshing and stylish new entry into the highly competitive executive saloon sector”, adding that the car’s quality is on par with its German rivals but also enjoyable to drive thanks to its 50/50 weight distribution and rear-wheel drive platform.
Inside, things aren’t “quite up to Audi quality”, but the interior is stylish and simple and the materials have a good fit and finish. In the back, there is an “impressive amount of room, with enough space for six-footers to be comfortable in the bucketed seats”.
The ride itself feels “remarkably good”, both in terms of comfort but also a “lovely sense of support in corners and through compressions”. As for the engine, AE drove the 2.2-litre diesel and while they think it sounds a tad rough when firing up, they say it settles and becomes smooth and refined both on the move and idle.
Pace is brisk – the 2.2-litre diesel Giulia does 0-62mph in 7.1secs – and it is frugal, too, with Alfa claiming 67mpg.
Overall, it’s a “pleasant surprise”, enjoyable to drive and blessed with competitive specifications in all the right areas.
Some classic Alfa niggles remain, as outlined in the Sunday Times’s drive of the Giulia. While impressed with the design and the way the new Alfa saloon drives, several reliability and build quality issues were on plain show.
One of the test cars was taken away like an “A&E casualty” after its infotainment system shut down. “Another I drove had an engine warning light screaming for attention from the instrument binnacle, and the cruise control refused to switch on.
“A third car tested suffered a frozen infotainment system, which could only be brought back to life by stopping the car and switching the ignition off and back on, and at times some air vents stopped blowing air whilst others continued.” There were problems with the parking sensors too.
These are pre-production models, but The Times says that the same glaring issues are rarely present on the first drives of German rivals.
Prices and release
According to Auto Express, exact UK specs for the Giulia have yet to be outlined, as have the prices. However, the magazine expects the car to start from £29,000. CarWow reckons it should be a little cheaper, at £27,000. The Quadrifoglio should start at more than £50,000. Autocar says that first deliveries are set to take place in September this year.