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Alfa lands Giulietta auto and diesel

Economical performance: Australia’s first turbo-diesel Giulietta reduces average fuel consumption to just 4.5L/100km.

Automatic and diesel versions of Alfa’s slick Giulietta hatch finally arrive in Oz

20 Feb 2012

ALFA Romeo’s accomplished Giulietta hatchback is finally available with an automatic transmission and diesel power, a year after Italy’s VW Golf rival went on sale in Australia last January.

The ‘TCT’ dual-clutch automated manual transmission adds $2000 to the price of the existing entry-level Giulietta 1.4T manual ($36,990 plus on-road costs).

However, the auto comes standard with the new Giulietta 2.0-litre JTDM turbo-diesel, which costs a further $3000 at $41,990 – the same as the top-shelf Giulietta QV manual hot-hatch.

The same ‘Sport’ equipment pack that already graces the QV is now also available as a $3000 option across the Giulietta TCT range, allowing sub-QV buyers to combine the appearance and features of the performance-leading Quadrifoglio Verde (four-leafed clover) model with the convenience of the auto gearbox.

Alfa’s five-door 147 replacement found just 526 Australian homes in its first year of sales in 2011, comprising only 4.9 per cent of a premium small-car segment led by the Mercedes B-class, Audi A1, Mini hatch/wagon, Audi A3, Lexus CT200h and BMW 1 Series.

Together, however, the Giulietta’s first automatic manual transmission and first diesel engine are expected to account for up to 85 per cent of Australian sales, which totalled just 20 in January, leaving existing manual models (base 1.4 and flagship 1.7-litre QV) models to attract just 15 per cent of sales.

“Effectively this means that we have, until now, been only reaching around 15 per cent of the Giulietta’s potential in this market and expect the TCT gearbox to, clearly, transform the sales of this car and become the mainstay of the Alfa Romeo volume,” said the spokesman for Australian Alfa Romeo distributor Ateco Automotive, Edward Rowe.

26 center imageIndeed, Ateco expects the new auto and diesel models to more than double Giulietta sales to about 1200 this year, including 300 JTDM turbo-diesels and 900 petrol autos.

“Alfa Romeo has a strong diesel following,” said Mr Rowe. “The JTD was a significant part of the Alfa 147’s volume and in the 159, the 2.4 JTD and its successor, the JTDM, were the best-selling variants by quite a margin.”

Combined with a forecast 720 MiTo sales and just 80 examples of the mid-size 159 remaining in Australia – until it is replaced by the all-new Giulia – Ateco expects to sell around 2000 Alfas this year.

That would represent an almost doubling of sales over last year, when 1091 Alfas were bought – up 19.4 per cent on 2010 figures.

While the Giulietta should remain Alfa’s volume-selling model, the next two years are shaping up as a watershed period for the rejuvenated Italian brand, with a Giulietta-based SUV expected later this year, the all-new Giulia due in 2013 and no fewer than three major new models expected in 2014 – the large ‘169’ luxury sedan, a full-size Alfa SUV and the sleek 4C coupe.

Already available here in Alfa’s smaller three-door MiTo hatch, Fiat’s six-speed twin-clutch automatic transmission (TCT) pairs with the Giulietta’s existing 125kW 1.4 TB MultiAir turbo-petrol engine to accelerate to 100km/h in a claimed 7.7 seconds (down from 7.8) and a top speed of 218km/h.

At the same time, the entry-level Giulietta turbo-petrol auto is able to return combined fuel consumption of just 5.2L/100km (down from 5.8) and CO2 emissions of 121g/km (down from 134).

The TCT auto makes the Giulietta’s new 125kW/350Nm 2.0 JTDM-2 turbo-diesel even quicker and more economical than the manual model (available only in Europe), with the 0-100km/h acceleration time reducing from 8.0 to 7.9 seconds, combined fuel consumption falling from 4.7 to a city-car-like 4.5L/100km and CO2 emissions down from 124 to 119g/km.

Both Giulietta TCT models will come standard with steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles, in addition to already-standard features like idle-stop, electronic stability control and an electronic front differential.

“In a market dominated by self-shifting gearboxes, the fact that we can now offer one of the most advanced units on the market that offers all the advantages of a self-shifting gearbox with none of the performance or fuel consumption drawbacks is a very significant change to our market position,” said the general manager of Alfa Romeo in Australia, Andre Zaitzev.

“For the growing diesel sector, we are now also able to offer one of the most advanced diesel power units in the world.

“What remains unchanged, though, are the Alfa Romeo essentials, the stylish good looks of the Giulietta, the accomplished chassis and, with a 0-100km/h time of 7.7 seconds for the petrol TCT and 7.9 seconds for the JTDM Turbo Diesel, clearly both new Giuliettas maintain the performance edge expected of every Alfa Romeo.”

The Giulietta QV continues to top the range with its 1550cc TBi turbo-four, which produces 173kW and 340Nm, sprints to 100km/h in just 6.8 seconds, has a top speed of 242km/h and returns 7.6L/100km.

In addition to the Giulietta’s standard equipment list – which includes six airbags, dual-zone climate-control, foglights, alloy wheels, rear parking sensors, heated/power mirrors, an auto-dipping interior mirror, auto lights and wipers, leather-clad multi-function steering wheel and hands-free infotainment – the Cloverleaf model adds 10mm-lower sports suspension, sports seats, a Bose sound system, tinted windows, red brake callipers and 18-inch alloy wheels with a dark titanium finish.

Alfa Romeo Giuliettapricing (plus on-road costs):
Giulietta 1.4$36,990
Giulietta 1.4 TCT (a) $38,990
Giulietta JTDM 2.0 TCT(a) $41,990
Giulietta QV 1.75 $41,990

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