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New models - Alfa Romeo - Giulia

Alfa Giulia lobs from $59,895 BOCs

Bravo Alfa: With four variants, four engine choices, top-shelf safety and a sharp price, the new Alfa Romeo Giulia range is out with guns blazing.

Euro luxury sedans put on notice by generously-equipped Alfa Romeo Giulia

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Alfa Romeo logo2 Feb 2017

By DANIEL GARDNER

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 Jaguar.

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 drive mode.

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 response.

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 connectivity.

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.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia pricing*
Giulia (a)$59,895
Super 2.0 (a)$64,195
Super 2.2d (a)$65,895
Veloce (a)$71,895
Quadrifoglio (a)$143,900
*Excludes on-road costs

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