The Alfa Romeo that's better than its German rivals.

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I love pleasant surprises. Unfortunately, they are far and few in between, perhaps that's why they're a surprise? Nonetheless, these surprises breath life back into things that have become stale. Thank you to the new Alfa Romeo Giulia for livening things up again. 

 

Being Italian, Alfa's, like Ferrari's, are the heart of the automotive world. Perfect in their imperfections - defying logic in the sentiment they create. You either love them or hate them, but they are full of emotion. For many years their beating pulse has been overshadowed by German manufacturers, which could be likened to clever brains. Sometimes emotionless, yet perfect in their function. Germanic-ally focused to perfection but lacking some emotional character.

 

Luckily for us, romance is back in season. After almost three decades, Alfa Romeo is producing a rear wheel driven sedan again. The Giulia has arrived, a replacement for the old 159. Although the 159 ended its production lifecycle in 2011, it has taken Alfa over 5-years to replace it with a suitable successor. You know what they say, "good things come to those who wait," especially when those good things have taken years to be created. 

Freshly baked and straight off the bat, the Giulia is the lightest car in its class. It also recorded a 5-star Euro NCAP rating with an exceptional score of 98% for adult occupancy protection. The highest result ever achieved for a passenger car. The Giulia has the best-in-class braking distance: from 100 km/h to 0 in 38.5m (on the QV). With its pinpoint precise steering, the Giulia also features the smallest turning circle in its class, making it easy to manoeuvre. And the list continues.

 

So, does that mean the passionate Alfa is better than it's cool, calculated German rivals? In short, yes. Not in every aspect, but in many regards, it is. The Giulia is arguably the most driver-focused car in its class, with only the Jaguar XE being as thrilling. The suspension set up of the compact executive is outstanding - it is as supple as an Olympic gymnast and dynamic as one too. The steering is direct and offers communicative feedback. Its 2.0-l turbocharged engine is an adrenaline shot of excitement that's controlled through the car's DNA car system - D, for dynamic, N, for normal and A, advanced efficiency. Each mode notably adjusts the car’s character. Its 147 kW of power will get you darting to 100km/h in 6.6 seconds - it's quick! The fuel consumption is so-so at best. Alfa Romeo claims lower figures, but I achieved 10-l per 100km in my week with the car, which is average at best for an engine this size.

 

The first impression of the interior is modern. Black and charcoal tones wash the interior. There are a variety of high-quality materials used in combination, like an articulated quilt. Knowing both BMW and Audi product well, I can see certain design elements have been borrowed, but not stolen. The interior is unique. 

A highlight of the Alfa is its highly active safety systems. The one, in particular, is the Forward Collision Prevention. It works beautifully - monitoring cars in front of you and preventing collisions by autonomously applying the brakes if it senses an immediate accident, albeit a warning alerts first for human intervention. I especially like the fact that the system scans for pedestrians too. 

As part of the character I mentioned that Italian cars have - the Giulia has an audible warning linked to its Lane Keep Assist system. The sound is hysterical - I like to think it sounds like a buffalo farting. It is hysterical. 

 

PLUS +

Outstanding ride quality.

Dynamic drive. 

Fast. 

Gear ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox. 

 

MINUS - 

Small storage compartments.

Sharp breaking action.

Standard (basic) Halogen headlamps.

 

The competition 

BMW 3-Series, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Audi A4, Lexus IS and Volvo S60.

 

Pricing

Giulia 2.0 T R555, 000.

Giulia 2.0 T Super R625, 000.

Giulia 2.0T Super with Stile Pack R695,000.

Giulia Quadrifoglio Verde 2.9 T R1 400 000.

 

Service and Warranty 

All Alfa Romeo Giulia models come standard with a 3 year 100,000km warranty and 6 year/100,000km Maintenance Plan.

 

 

My choice

Giulia 2.0 T Super R625, 000.

www.alfaromeo.co.za

 

 

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