ALFA Romeo has dived into the premium mid-sized luxury sedan arena with a sharp
$59,895 starting price (before on-road costs) for its all-new Giulia range,
throwing down the gauntlet to rival luxury Euros Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and
With a sub-$60,000 price, the newcomer to the market undercuts the equivalent
variants offered by each of the competing brands with Audi’s A4 2.0 TFSI
costing $60,900, the BMW 320i for $61,900, Jaguar’s XE 20t Prestige for
$60,400 and the Mercedes C200, which is on offer for $61,400.
While some of Alfa’s rivals do offer more affordable options with smaller
engines and lower levels of specification for brand-loyal customers on a
budget, the Italian car-maker has weighed into the market with a 2.0-litre
turbo petrol and more kit, it says.
The entry-level Giulia also bumps gloves with some Japanese luxury offerings
including the $59,340 Lexus IS200t and the Infiniti Q50 GT from $53,900.
Above the base Giulia, Alfa is offering a comprehensive range of options with
the Super that adds extra kit to the same drivetrain as the entry Giulia for
$64,195 or a 2.2-litre diesel version for $65,895.
At the higher-performance end of the range the $71,895 Veloce takes the same
2.0-litre petrol engine as the more affordable options but squeezes out extra
power, and at the top of the pack the halo Quadrifoglio Verde (QV) takes the
fight to the BMW M3 and Mercedes-AMG C63 S for $143,900.
At the announcement of Australian pricing, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA)
Australia president and CEO Steve Zanlunghi said the new Giulia range would
poach customers from the other strong European brands by offering something
different, while still appealing to its loyal followers.
“It’s going to be two distinct ways that we are going to market with the
vehicle,” he said. “One is going to be geared towards to those passionate
Alfistis and fans that have kept the brand going through thick and thin, and
then there’s the ones that we have to conquest – the people that want something
different than just the normal, everyday, common German brand.”
Mr Zanlunghi predicted that the mighty QV would account of about 10 per cent of
sales and the mid-range variant would produce the most volume.
“As of right now we are pegging it to be somewhere around 10 per cent of the
volume,” he said of the QV.
“It will be pretty split but we think probably the largest volume will be the
Super for us, then probably the Veloce, then the regular Giulia.”
The Giulia is the first model to roll out from the Italian brand on the new
Giorgio platform concluding a five-year development project, but the
architecture will proliferate the range with the Stelvio SUV the next vehicle
to adopt it.
All versions also use a ZF eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission
which sends power to the rear wheels, matching BMW, Mercedes and Jaguar’s
driver-focused front engine, rear-drive layout.
Dynamics and handling are also enhanced by a 50:50 weight distribution for all
variants, while a carbon-fibre propshaft, widespread use of aluminium alloy and
all-alloy engines minimise weight for all variants – as little as 1394kg in the
case of the entry-level version.
Customers opting for the most affordable Giulia get a 147kW/330Nm 2.0-litre
turbo petrol four-cylinder engine which can get the base version to 100km/h
from rest in 6.6 seconds, but can also return economy of 6.0 litres of fuel per
100km and, like all the Giulia engines, is Euro 6 emissions compliant.
The same engine powers the mid-range Super but a diesel option is available
which takes capacity up to 2.2 litres with 132kW of power and 450Nm of torque.
For the sole diesel of the range, zero to 100km acceleration takes 7.1s and
fuel economy is rated at 4.2L/100km.
For performance pundits that can not quite stretch to the QV flagship, the
Veloce offers a tuned up version of the 2.0-litre petrol with 206kW and 400Nm,
which drops the 0-100km dash to 5.7 seconds but still manages a respectable
6.1L/100km efficiency when driven more sedately.
At the top of the pack, the QV uses a twin-turbo 2.9-litre V6 petrol to send a
whopping 375kW and 600Nm of torque to the ground for class-leading 0-100km
acceleration of 3.9s.
For all versions of the Giulia, Alfa’s engineers developed a new double
track-control arm suspension layout for the front axle for “rapid and accurate
steering” while the tail end rolls on an Alfa Link vertical rod setup for a
blend of performance, driving pleasure and comfort, says Alfa.
More performance-focused Veloce and QV variants get active suspension, which
uses variable dampers to alter the stiffness of the ride depending on the DNA
Braking is handled by discs in all four corners but optimum performance is
ensured by a special ‘prefill’ system which senses when the throttle has been
abruptly closed and charges the hydraulic circuit for more immediate brake
Rain Brake Support is a separate system that is activated by the windscreen
wipers and periodically applies light braking pressure to the pads to clear
water in wet conditions and maintain a drier friction surface.
A third brake supplement system monitors the temperature of each rotor and can
allocate variable calliper pressure to each corner to more evenly distribute
braking. Sub-Quadrifoglio variants can haul up from 100km/h in just 38.5 metres.
All Giulia variants have a comprehensive list of safety features which have
culminated in a 98 per cent safety rating by independent vehicle assessor Euro
NCAP – the highest awarded to any car to date.
Systems include eight airbags, forward collision warning with emergency
braking, lane-departure warning, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic
alert, reversing camera, active cruise control and dusk-sensing headlights with
automatic main-beam assistance depending on the variant.
Standard equipment range-wide includes leather upholstery, alloy wheels,
navigation, bi-Xenon headlights, idle-stop fuel conservation, rain-sensing
wipers, 8.8-inch central information display, digital radio and Bluetooth
Base versions get keyless start, electrically adjustable front seats with
memory for the driver’s, leather steering wheel with engine start button, three
USB sockets with one of the second-row passengers, folding door mirrors,
courtesy lights and LED daytime running lamps.
Stepping up to the Super adds higher quality leather seats with heaters in the
front and leather coverage extending to the dashboard and doors, a choice of
oak or walnut wood veneer, more adjustable front seats, ambient lighting and a
dual exhaust for diesel versions.
In addition to its more potent performance, the Veloce adds to the Super
equipment with standard 18-inch wheels growing to 19 inches, a limited-slip
differential, red brake callipers, fatter front spoiler with mesh-covered vents
and rear diffuser and twin exhausts.
On the inside, the Veloce gets sports seats and steering wheel, aluminium pedal
trims and a 10-speaker sound system with 400 watts of power.
Sub-Veloce variants are offered an optional dual-pane panoramic sunroof and
Veloce pack which adds the 19-inch wheels red callipers, seats, steering wheel,
pedals, privacy glass and active suspension of the higher-spec car.
Veloce variant options include the sunroof, 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo and
callipers in black or yellow.
See separate story for full Quadrifoglio specifications.